Monty Python member’s brain donated to neurology researchers

5 Feb 2020

Terry Jones (centre)

The brain of Monty Python member Terry Jones, who died recently of dementia, has been donated to researchers at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.

The legendary Python  – who wrote, starred and directed in works such as Life Of Brian – died at the age of 77 in January after being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2016.

In a statement, his family said Mr Jones had developed primary progressive aphasia (PPA), and made “an extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”

They said Terry Jones had registered his intention to donate his brain with doctors shortly after his diagnosis, and had given interviews to help raise awareness of the condition as well as raise more than $1 million for research into FTD.

The donation was welcomed by Professor Tom Warner, Professor of Clinical Neurology at the Institute and Director of the Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies and Queen Square Brain bank.

“Studying brain tissue helps to advance our understanding of these conditions. Donation is not that common and it is incredibly valuable,” he told the Sunday Telegraph.

Professor Warner said the Queen Square Brain Bank accepted 80-100 brains each year, which were used for research into several neurodegenerative diseases

“Currently we have neuronal and astrocyte models of SPG 11 and 15 HSP, dystonia-parkinsonism, DYT1 dystonia, and frontotemporal dementia due to MAPT gene mutation,” Professor Warner states on his website

“As Director of the Queen Square Brain Bank we are looking to validate findings from our iPS cell models in tissue from sporadic forms of the diseases.

Fellow Python  Michael Palin said Terry Jones had been very upbeat despite his condition.

“He was very matter of fact about it and would stop people in the street and tell them, ‘I’ve got dementia, you know. My frontal brain lobe has absconded’.”

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