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France Télévisions
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Langues vivantes01:42

Can we heal someone who is paralyzed?

A Question A Day

In 2010, Ian Burkhart, a 24-year-old American, broke his neck when he dived into the sea. It’s serious! His spinal cord is broken, he can’t move his hands or legs, he’s paralyzed! Today, thanks to a super device, he can move his hand again.

So does that mean all paralyzed people can be healed?

Hold on, not so quick! It’s great news, because Ian’s the first paralyzed person to regain movement in his hand. But for now, it’s just a trial. Scientists have invented, specially to him, a device that sends signals to his limbs without passing via the broken spinal cord. In 2014, a surgeon placed a tiny computer chip in his brain, linked to a computer. This chip transmits Ian’s thoughts to the computer which then sends messages to an electronic bracelet on his right arm. 3 times a week for 18 months, Ian practised in front of a video screen, thinking of movements he wanted the computer to understand. Today, he can stir his coffee with a spoon, grab a bottle and pour it, or hold his phone to his ear! It’s a real scientific exploit that could change the lives of millions of people with motor disability worldwide. However, it will take a long time to adapt this device to other patients. For now, researchers are working on a wireless system so Ian can use the device at home!

Nom de l'auteur : Jacques Azam

Producteur : Milan Presse, France Télévisions

Année de copyright : 2018

Publié le 24/07/18

Modifié le 20/03/19

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