Advisory Memorial Board

Dr. Edwin B. Cooper, Jr.

The Wired article Back from the Dead said

A small but passionate group of doctors say that electricity applied deep in the brain can jolt patients out of irreversible comas. That’s when the real problems begin.
For someone left for dead 12 years ago, Candice Ivey seems to be doing pretty well. She’s still got her homecoming queen looks and A-student smarts. She has earned a college degree and holds a job as a recreational therapist in a retirement community. She has, however, lost her ballerina grace and now walks a bit like her feet are asleep…
After her horrific accident, Candice’s mother Elaine decided to keep the feeding tube in place, which, she recalls, made the neurosurgeon furious. “He thought I was just prolonging her agony and that I would have a vegetable on my hands,” she says. “But when it’s your child lying there, you’ll do anything.”
In this case, anything included letting an orthopedic surgeon named Edwin Cooper try an experimental treatment. He approached Elaine out of the blue soon after the accident and urged her to let him put an electrified cuff on Candice’s wrist. It sent a 20-milliampere charge — enough to make her hand clench and her arm tremble a little — into her median nerve, a major pathway to the brain. It might rouse her from her coma, he said.

Edwin B. Cooper, Jr., M.D., P.A. is an orthopedic surgeon based in North Carolina, U.S.A. He earned his M.D. in 1966 from Duke University, Medical School, with postgraduate training at the University of Virginia Medical Center and the Duke University Medical Center. He was the keynote speaker to the Japan Society for Treatment of Coma (1996 and 2002), and a member of the 2005 SCANS Project (Shanghai Coma Afferent Nerve Stimulation), China, and of the 2003–2004 VECTOR Project, Vilnius University Hospital; Vilnius, Lithuania. He credits Professor Tetsuo Kanno of Japan for developing the neuroscience of the electrical treatment to help awaken persons in long-term coma states.
Ed coauthored Electrical treatment of reduced consciousness: experience with coma and Alzheimer’s disease, Electrical treatment of coma via the median nerve, Regaining consciousness for prolonged comatose patients with right median nerve stimulation, Right median nerve electrical stimulation to hasten awakening from coma, Effects of chronic human neuromuscular stimulation, and Pilot study of electrical stimulation on median nerve in comatose severe brain injured patients: 3-month outcome.
Ed was inducted into the Hall of Honor, Lenoir Memorial Hospital, Kinston, NC (2005), awarded National Health Care Professional of the Year by President Bush’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (1991), North Carolina Health Care Professional of the Year by the Governor’s Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities (1990), and named Outstanding Physician of the Year by the Kinston Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities (1988).
Ed is a member of the Eastern Orthopaedic Association, John Jane Neurosurgery Society, Research Society of Neurological Surgeons, Advisory Board to the Academy for Multidisciplinary Neurotraumatology, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and American Society for Engineering Education.
He was the Ground Rounds Speaker at Dept. of Neurology, Medical College of Virginia (2003), Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, East Carolina University (2003), European Neurotraumatology Congress meeting in Graz, Austria (2003), Dept. of Neurosurgery, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Japan (1996 and 2002), and Dept. of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia (1991).