Dr. Edward Hall Discusses Spinal Cord Injuries at Symposium

April 06, 2010

After an introduction by Dr. Leonard Epp, professor of biology, Mount Union College alumnus Dr. Edward Hall of the University of Kentucky presented "Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries: Devastating, But Potentially Treatable Conditions" in Bracy Hall, as part of the activities surrounding the dedication of Bracy Hall.


Hall, who graduated from Mount Union in 1972, began his presentation by explaining the origins of his interest in spinal cord injuries. During his freshman year in college, his father had been diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor in his cervical region. Seeing his father's condition influenced him greatly and led him to pursue studies in neuropharmacology while in graduate school. His career has been devoted to finding treatments for spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

In the United States, there are 11,000 cases of spinal cord injuries each year and the medical costs of treating quadriplegic and paraplegic patients are quite expensive. Spinal cord injuries are mainly the results of vehicular accidents. These injuries affect young people between the ages of 16-30. "This usually happens because young people are more likely to engage in risky behavior," Hall said. "For example, they ski faster or drive faster, often because they believe they are invincible."

With the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, Hall focused on the effects of spinal cord injury by showing pictures of degenerated cells and blood vessels in animals. Much of the research done about spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury used animals to show the effects of injury and treatment. He noted that the pharmaceutical industry would benefit from looking at the positive effects steroids have on treating spinal cord injuries.

At the end of Hall's presentation, Epp talked about the numerous sciences (chemistry, biology, neurology and anatomy and physiology) that he used to present information. "His presentation approach was similar to how Bracy Hall is set up," he said. "If you notice, we did not separate the disciplines of chemistry and biology by putting them on different floors, but placed them side by side to illustrate the interdisciplinary nature of the sciences."

Hall earned a bachelor's degree at Mount Union College and a Ph.D. in from the Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship Cornell University Medical College, he joined the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEUCOM). Hall also worked in the CNS Diseases Research Unit of the Upjohn Company where he worked on discovering and developing agents for the treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, stroke, Alzheimer's diseases and Parkinson's disease.

Hall is currently serving as the director of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) and is a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Kentucky.

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