The largest tissue repository in the world focused on brain injury and disease is in need of significantly more brain donations from military and veteran women.

The CTE Center, located within Boston University, is focused on innovative research regarding chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic sub-concussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. 

The CTE Center conducts high-impact, innovative research on CTE, and other long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel.  The center also is closely researching traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Currently the center have only has four female brain specimens (versus several hundred male specimens) and have a critical need for many more to support their research, said Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University, a renowned expert in CTE, and the director of the Center for CTE.

“We don't know anything about CTE in women,” said McKee, a neurologist and neuropatholigst. . “There is a real research gap in looking at women's brains.”

In recent years, reports have been published of confirmed CTE found in football and hockey players, as well as in military veterans who have a history of repetitive brain trauma, such as blast injuries. McKee was most recently featured on CBS's 60 minutes discussing this disease.

To sign up for the Brain Donation Registry please advise potential donors to complete the online form here. Once the form has been completed, the potential donor will be mailed more information about the program and a Brain Donation Card to keep in your wallet.

For more information on brain donation please contact Laney Evers Research Assistant at
617-358-5994 or

McKee's comments were made during A Call to Arms:  Advancing Women's Health Research in the Military symposium on Sept. 13 at the Boston University School of Medicine's Center for Military and Post Deployment Health.

MOAA provided the keynote address at this event. In partnership with the United Health Foundation, we presented our findings from our 2017 America's Health Rankings Health of Women Who Have Served Report.

Our report on health outcomes of women in the military set the stage for a day-long discussion and research presentations on a range of military women's health issues. Topics included: traumatic brain injury; cancer prevalence and outcomes; psychosocial treatment for PTSD; and perinatal outcomes.


Pictured from left Capt. Kathy Beasley, USN (Ret), MOAA Members retired Army Col. Dr. Glenn Markenson, the director of Boston University Center for Military and Post-Deployment Health, and Capt. Tracy Malone, USN (Ret), senior vice president of external affairs, UnitedHealth Group.