Stanley Foundation Neuropathology Consortium

Stanley Foundation Neuropathology Consortium, begun in 1994, is a
brain collection funded by the Theodore and Vada Stanley
Foundation to make postmortem brain tissue from individuals with
schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and normal
controls available to researchers. It is housed in the NIMH
Neuroscience Center at St. Elizabeths Hospital under the
direction of Dr. E. Fuller Torrey. It is separate from, but
operates in close cooperation with, the brain collection
maintained by the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch of NIMH under
Dr. Joel Kleinman as well as with the Stanley Neurovirology
laboratory at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

Consortium brains consist of four matched groups of 15 each,
selected from the larger collection of the Stanley Foundation
Brain Bank. The four groups are: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,
depression without psychotic features, and normal controls. These
60 brains were collected between September 1994 and February
1997. As shown on the attached chart the groups are matched for
age, sex, race, postmortem interval (PMI), messenger RNA (mRNA),
and side of brain. The PMI is the interval between death and when
the frozen half of the brain is completely processed and frozen.
The mRNA was assessed by Dr. Nancy Johnston at the Stanley
Neurovirology Laboratory by measuring selected brain mRNAs (e.g.,
GAPdH actin) and then grading the yield A (excellent), B (good),
C (fair), D (poor), and F (very poor); only A – C were used for
the Consortium collection. All brains in the Stanley Brain Bank
are bisected at autopsy with alternate sides frozen or fixed in
10% formalin.

Stanley Foundation brains are collected from designated medical
examiners in the United States with the permission of the family.
The brains are removed and processed using a standard protocol. A
staff member of the medical examiner’s office conducts a brief
interview with a family member at the time permission is given to
obtain basic clinical information. Hospital records are then
obtained and in selected cases telephone interviews are done with
family members or the treating mental health professional to
clarify clinical information. A telephone interview is routinely
done with all families of normal controls. Final diagnoses are
established by two senior psychiatrists using DSM-IV criteria.
Routine microscopic examination by two neuropathologists is
carried out in all cases and toxicological examinations have been
done on most cases. Cause of death, substance abuse history,
(light alcohol use = 1 drink a day or less), medications (if any)
being taken at the time of death, and an estimate of total
lifetime intake of antipsychotic medications (in fluphenazine mg.
equivalents) is available on all cases. Family history for
primary (1°) and secondary (2°) relatives for major psychiatric
disordes is obtained from family members, but no attempt is made
to obtain records or otherwise verify such diagnoses.

60 brains in the Stanley Foundation Neuropathology Consortium are
available without charge to researchers. To date over 40 research
groups worldwide have applied, and been approved, for permission
to use them.

Stanley Foundation Neuropathology Consortium is administered by
an advisory committee consisting of:

E. Fuller Torrey, Chairperson
Dr. Llewellyn B. Bigelow
Dr. Mary M. Herman
Dr. Thomas M. Hyde
Dr. Joel E. Kleinman
Dr. Robert M. Post
Dr. Maree J. Webster
Dr. Robert H. Yolken

Foundation Neuropathology Consortium


15 schizophrenia

15 bipolar disorder

15 depression

without psychosis

15 normal controls











9 M, 6 F

9 M, 6 F

9 M, 6 F

9 M, 6 F


13 W, 2 As

14 W, 1 B

15 W

14 W, 1 B

PMI (hrs)









mRNA yield

10 A

2 B

3 C

13 A

2 B

11 A

2 B

2 C

12 A

2 B

1 C


6.1 (5.8-6.6)




Side of brain frozen

6 R, 9 L

8 R, 7 L

6 R, 9 L

7 R, 8 L