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Recommendations for post-death testing/autopsy?
Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:58 PM
Joined: 4/24/2012
Posts: 1

My grandmother passed away a few days ago at the age of 99. She experienced progressive dementia and loss of awareness during approximately the last 15 years of her life. The best information available to me is that she was diagnosed generally with "dementia" but I'm not aware that anything more specific was identified. As far as I know, she did not receive treatment for the dementia, but she did take antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to reduce the level of suffering she experienced. 

She will not be cremated until sometime in the first week of May.

Would it be useful to the family to ask/pay for an autopsy, or more directed tests/analysis of her remains? The purpose would be to learn about her condition so that those of us who are her genetic descendants can be better prepared (to the extent that's possible) for a similar situation as we age. 

We are not in a hurry to spend money unnecessarily; but if there's valuable information we can get prior to the cremation, we don't want to let the opportunity slip by. 

Any thoughts/suggestions? 

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:48 PM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 3097

I'm sorry to hear about your grandma.


If you want a shot at what type of dementia she had, go for the autopsy now.


I think they can still do it even if she has been embalmed, but I do know that for medical school studies, they do not want a brain after the body has been embalmed and the brain has to be collected as close to time of death as possible.