Scribblings Resurrection

Mailing a human brain

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

The New York Brain Bank at Columbia University collects human brains for research into Alzheimer’s disease. If you happen to have a dead person on your hands but are pondering just how to get their brain to the Brain Bank help is at hand in the guise of their web page1 on How to mail a Human Brain. Basically it boils down to putting the brain in a bucket with some ice but there’s more to it than that.

Human brain

To pack the brain ready for mailing you need to first stick it in two ziploc bags, one inside the other2. Put the bagged brain into a bucket with the ice, put the lid on the bucket and lift the bucket into a large plastic bag which you’ve pre-arranged inside a polyfoam container3. It’s all very simply explained and is rather like the instructions for putting together IKEA furniture.

All that now remains is to call the Bank’s courier service and have them come and take the brain off your hands. Apart, that is, from your having to clean up the mess you made on the floor while getting the brain out of its head in the first place.


1 Also available as a PDF

2 If you don’t happen to have any of this stuff lying around the bank will kindly provide it for you. They do seem desperate to get hold of lots of brains.

3 I guess they (a) want to keep the brain cold so it doesn’t go mouldy and (b) don’t want any gooey mess to leak out in transit.

Posted 7 December 2004, 21:51 GMT