“Why throw away something useful?”: Attitudes and opinions of people treated for bipolar disorder and their relatives on organ and tissue donation
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In regard to mental illness, brain donation is essential for the biological investigation of central pathology. Nevertheless, little is known about the thoughts of people with mental disorders on tissue donation for research. Here, our objective was to understand the attitudes and opinions of people treated for bipolar disorder and their relatives regarding donation in general, and particularly donation for research. This is a qualitative study that used in-depth interviews to determine the thoughts of participants regarding tissue donation for research. Theoretical sampling was used as a recruitment method. Grounded theory was used as a framework for content analyses of the interviews. A semi-structured interview guide was applied with the topics: donation in general; donation for research; mental health and body organs; opinion regarding donation; feelings aroused by the topic. Although all participants were aware of organ donation for transplant, they were surprised that tissue could be donated for research. Nevertheless, once they understood the concept they were usually in favor of the idea. Although participants demonstrated a general lack of knowledge on donation for research, they were willing to learn more and viewed it as a good thing, with altruistic reasons often cited as a motive for donation. We speculate that bridging this knowledge gap may be a fundamental step towards a more ethical postmortem tissue donation process.
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