Until the mid 1950s, organ transplants were mostly the stuff of science fiction. They became a reality in Boston in 1954. That's when a doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital performed the first successful kidney transplant.
It was a major breakthrough in solving the problem of organ rejection, and it led to an increased need for organ donations--not only for transplants, but also for medical research.
This year again in Boston, there was a call for the donation of brains, especially those of athletes. The Sports Legacy Institute — in collaboration with Boston Medical Center — is building a "brain bank" to study the relationship between repeated concussions and early forms of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti reports.
This program aired on December 29, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.