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The Southwest Brain Bank: Examining the physical brain and mental health

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Tonight, on ABC-7 Xtra, Mental Health Correspondent Avery Martinez takes us on a tour of the Southwest Brain Bank at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso — where they conduct research on donated human brains to understand the connection between physical brains and mental illness.

These researchers hope that by studying these brains, we can gain a better understanding of bi-polar disorder, depression, substance use disorder and other conditions and how they impact brain function. The brains used in the studies have been donated to the Bank, and belonged to individuals living with mental health conditions.

A major aspect of the Brain Bank's research is on Hispanic communities. The researchers receive support from the Robert E. and Evelyn McKee Foundation.

TTUHSC says that the Bank has a large majority of Hispanic brain tissue, with about 60% of donors coming from Hispanic backgrounds. The location here on the U.S./Mexico border is a major benefit in helping to address the historic lack of research on Hispanic brains and mental illness, according to the university.


Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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