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NEWS RELEASE February 1, 2006

OSU's Spinal Cord Injury Course Draws Criticism from Neurosurgeons and Neurologists Across the Country

Neurologist Will Confront OSU Officials with Hundreds of Petitions Condemning

Columbus, Ohio—300 neurologists and neurosurgeons have signed a petition seeking the elimination of an Ohio State University course in which students cause severe spinal cord injury in small animals. One of the neurologists, Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will speak at a news briefing, along with PCRM’s executive director, Mindy Kursban, Esq., and research analyst Kristie Stoick, M.P.H. They will deliver the petitions in person to OSU officials.

Known as “Cruelty 101,” the course requires students to drop heavy weights onto the spinal cords of mice and rats, causing 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.

“These experiments are cruel. They are also futile,” says Dr. Akhtar. “Decades of appalling animal experiments have not produced a clearly effective treatment for people with spinal cord injuries.”

WHAT: News briefing and petition delivery/confrontation.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 1, 10:45 a.m. To confirm time and location, call Jeanne at 415-509-1833.

WHERE: Longaberger Alumni House, briefing outside near entrance, 2200 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio.

The 300 doctors who have signed the petitions have endorsed this statement: “It is essential to increase our investment in human clinical studies in spinal cord injury, and to move away from attempts to model injuries in animals, many of whom suffer in the process. I request that Ohio State University foster techniques for effective and ethical spinal injury research.”

In April of 2005, PCRM filed suit to obtain videotapes and photographs of the spinal cord injury course, and the case is currently before the Ohio Supreme Court.

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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