Elliott Mancall, 85, neurology professor, instrumental in the discovery of two major brain diseases

Elliott Mancall, MD, a prominent Philadelphia neurologist and Emeritus Professor of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, died on January 2, 2013, at the age of 85.

Dr. Mancall was a national and international figure in neurology for over half a century.

Locally, he left his mark on several Philadelphia institutions, including, Jefferson, Hahnemann (now Drexel), the former Medical College of Pennsylvania, Will's Eye Hospital and the former Philadelphia General Hospital.

Dr. Mancall attended Trinity College, where he received a B.S. with honors in biological sciences in 1948, followed by an MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952.

After a year's internship (1952-53) at Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, and another year there as Assistant Resident in Surgery, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and spent a year as Clinical Clerk at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square, London. He did his residency in neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center (1955-56), and a residency in neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital (1956-57). He then spent a year as Clinical and Research Fellow at that same hospital.

In 1958, Bernard J. Alpers, chair of neurology at Jefferson Medical College, recruited Dr. Mancall to Jefferson as an assistant professor of neurology. He became an associate professor in 1964. From 1965 to 1976 he was professor of medicine (neurology) at Hahnemann Medical College. In 1976 he became the founding chair of the new Department of Neurology at Hahnemann and remained in that capacity until 1994.

In 1995 Dr. Mancall moved back to Jefferson as professor of neurology, and from 1997 to 2003 was interim chair of the department. In 2005, he became Emeritus Professor of Neurology at Jefferson but continued to teach medical students and neurology residents. He took great pleasure in conducting Professor Rounds for neurology house staff, in the tradition of Dr. Raymond Adams and Dr. C. Miller Fisher, with whom he had trained at Massachusetts General.

Dr. Mancall was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for distinguished teaching in 1969; the A. B. Baker Award in Neurological Education from the American Academy of Neurology in 1997; the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service, American Academy of Neurology, 2004; and the Dean's Citation for Faculty Mentoring, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in 2004.

He was a valued member of a number of professional societies, notably, the American Neurological Association, the American Academy of Neurology (Fellow), the American Association of Neuropathologists, the American Association of University Professors of Neurology, where he served as President (1988-90), the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Neurological Society (President, 1966-77).

Dr. Mancall served as General Editor for the American Academy of Neurology Continuing Education Program CONTINUUM: Life Long Learning in Neurology from 1991 to 2003. He also served as Director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology from 1983 to 1991 and as Chair of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education from 2003 until the time of his death. He served on the editorial board of several neurology journals.

Dr. Mancall's area of research included neurological complications of chronic alcoholism and malnutrition and neurological manifestations of systemic malignancy. Among his many scientific contributions, two discoveries have become classics in the neurology literature, with wide–ranging implications for the diagnosis and management of a variety of diseases. With his colleagues, K. E. Åstrom and E. P. Richardson, he described progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) as a complication of chronic lymphatic leukemia and Hodgkin's disease. PML was later found to be present in other diseases as well, including AIDS and immunodeficiency disorders. With R. D. Adams and M. Victor, he described central pontine myelinolysis, a disease affecting the myelin sheath, the insulating cover of nerve cells, in the pons segment of the brain, induced by alcoholism, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalance. Recognition of these conditions has helped in the proper management of the afflicted patients and has saved many lives.

In his later years, Dr. Mancall was a major contributor to the teaching and educational programs at Thomas Jefferson University and was a highly respected mentor and counselor.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jacqueline Mancall, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Information Science at Drexel University, whom he met when they were both students at Penn, two sons, Peter C. Mancall, PhD, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at the University of Southern California, and Andrew Mancall, MD, Neuroradiologist with the Spectrum Medical Group in Portland, Maine, and four grandchildren.