The quality of postmortem research depends strongly on a thorough clinical investigation and documentation of the patient’s disorder and therapies. In addition, a systematic and professional neuropathologic investigation of both cases and controls is absolutely crucial. In the experience of the Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB), about 20% of clinical neurologic diagnoses, despite being made in first-rate clinics, have to be revised or require an extra diagnosis after a complete and thorough review by the NBB. The neuropathology examination may reveal for instance that the “controls” already have preclinical neurodegenerative alterations. In postmortem studies the patient and control groups must be matched for as many of the known confounding factors as possible. This is necessary to make the groups as similar as possible, except for the topic being investigated. Confounding factors are present before, during, and after death. They are respectively: (1) genetic background, systemic diseases, duration and gravity of illness, medicines and addictive compounds used, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, circadian and seasonal fluctuations, lateralization; (2) agonal state, stress of dying; and (3) postmortem delay, freezing procedures,
fixation and storage time. Consequently, a brain bank should have a large number of controls at its disposal for appropriate matching. If matching fails for some confounders, then their influence may be determined by statistical methods such as analysis of variance or regression models.
Original languageEnglish
Title of book/volumeBrain Banking
EditorsI. Huitinga, M.J. Webster
PublisherElsevier
Pages197-217
Volume150
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Volume150

ID: 6300957