A nationwide appeal was launched today to get people to donate their brains to research and help discover a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

There are currently 764 people who have been diagnosed with the disease under the care of Sutton and Merton PCT but only 50 donors registered with the Parkinson’s Disease Society for the whole of London.

Jeremy Paxman and John Stapleton are among a number of well-known supporters who, during this Parkinson’s Awareness Week, are pledging to donate their brains for research into the condition.

The PDS is calling on people with and without Parkinson’s, to sign up to the Parkinson’s Brain Donor Register and help scientists find a cure.

Jane Asher, president of the Parkinson’s Disease Society, whose brother-in-law has Parkinson’s, said: “I’ve visited the Parkinson’s Disease Society Brain Bank and seen what fantastic work is going on there.

“Now we need a greater awareness of the benefits of brain donation so that more people come forward to register with us: so far 1,000 people have registered to donate their brains and with better public knowledge I’m sure we can double that number this year.

“Scientific research on brains both with and without Parkinson’s is essential, and it’s vital that we secure more potential donors as this will help us move closer to a cure for what can be a debilitating and distressing condition.”

Just 1,000 people across the UK have currently joined the Parkinson’s Brain Donor Register and pledged to donate their brains. The PDS want to double this number to 2,000 by the end of 2009.

According to new research from YouGov commissioned by the PDS, it’s clear that the general public has misconceptions about brain donation.

Over a quarter of people in London, 27 per cent, haven’t thought about brain donation.

Yet 58 per cent are comfortable donating a heart and 52 per cent would donate a kidney. Only 6 per cent of adults in London are comfortable with the idea of donating their brains.

• Would you donate your brain to science? Let us know in the comments section below.