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NEWS RELEASE December 28, 2005

Mobile Billboard Circles Fiesta Bowl Urging OSU President Karen Holbrook to Cancel

Doctors Group Asks Ohio State University to Consider Alternatives to Inhumane Spinal Cord Injury Course

TEMPE, Ariz.—In town to cheer on the Buckeyes at the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State University president Karen Holbrook will be confronted by opposition to OSU's controversial spinal cord injury course. A mobile billboard sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine featuring a picture of a rat and proclaiming "Meet the next victim of Cruelty 101 at OSU" will circle Sun Devil Stadium on game day.

Neurosurgeons and neurologists across the country, along with Ohio disability activists, have joined PCRM in condemning the course, which requires students to expose the spinal columns of mice and rats and drop heavy weights on them in a futile attempt to imitate human spinal cord injuries and paralyses. During the three-week course, which starts July 16, hundreds of mice and rats will be injured and put through painful surgeries and invasive procedures before being killed.

"As a neurologist, I know these experiments are as futile as they are cruel," says Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., a PCRM consultant. "Decades of animal experiments have not produced an effective treatment for people with spinal cord injuries." The course is also opposed by Carrie Walters, M.D., a nationally recognized Phoenix neurosurgeon specializing in acute head injury and spinal cord care.

University officials have so far refused to meet with PCRM and Ohio humane organizations to discuss their concerns about the course. PCRM filed suit in April in the Ohio Supreme Court seeking to force OSU to produce videotapes and other visuals relating to the classes.

Mobile billboard schedule: On Saturday, Dec. 31, and Sunday, Jan. 1, the billboard will be in downtown Tempe, with a special focus on Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue. On Monday, Jan. 2 (game day), the billboard will circle Sun Devil Stadium.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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