Walk again thanks to the power of your thoughts


Gert-Jan, a 40-year-old Dutchman, managed to get up to paint the walls of the house he had just bought. He was also able to walk and climb stairs again, something he hadn’t done since a cycling accident ten years ago, after which he became a paraplegic. He owes this miracle to a French-Swiss team, which managed to develop a “digital bridge” to restore communication between the brain and limbs. On the French side, the Clinatec laboratory in Grenoble worked on decoding brain activity. “ When we want to move, our brain produces an electrical signal to express this desire, explains Abdelmadjid Hihi, doctor in biological sciences and deputy director of the department of technologies for health innovation at CEA-Leti. Thanks to an implant and artificial intelligence algorithms, we are able to decode this intention and recode it to allow paralyzed people to walk again. » If the team first transferred this movement information to exoskeletons or electric chairs that allowed quadriplegic patients to move, they, thanks to the help of EPFL (École polytechnique suisse de Lausanne), take a giant step forward. “We intend to move directly to an electrical spinal cord stimulator, developed by the Swiss team, which allowed our patient to walk naturally on his own legs again,” exults Abdelmadjid Hihi. At the Paris-Saclay Summit, an event organized by To point from February 29th to February 1st er In March 2024, the researcher will present this work and the ambitions of Clinatec, which wants to reproduce the feat in other patients but will also launch, in partnership with Inserm, a project that aims to decode the intentions of words in people suffering from incarceration, to recode them into speech synthesizers and allow patients to communicate again § Heloísa Pons

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To understand and shape the future

February 29th and 1st er March marks a historic date for all science and innovation enthusiasts and stakeholders. At the gates of Paris, in Saclay, To point is organizing a unique event that aims to place science at the center of our society and reveal its crucial role in the challenges that await us.

A blood test to detect Alzheimer’s?

Currently, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is based on imaging tests and lumbar puncture. These procedures could be replaced by a simple blood test. In fact, measuring the presence of a form of the Tau protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease would be as accurate as testing after a lumbar puncture. This blood test even appears to outperform MRI. (Jama Neurology)

8.6%

This is the proportion of children and teenagers who used a private speech therapist in France in 2019. Half of them are in primary school, according to Drees. Boys (59.4%) are affected more frequently than girls.

Gene therapy for deafness

For the first time in France, profoundly deaf children aged between 6 months and 2 and a half years are participating in a gene therapy trial, led by the Hearing Institute and AP-HP. The treatment developed by Sensorion is injected into the inner ear, to try to correct the genetic abnormality of the cells. This first test will allow us to evaluate the ideal doses to be administered. The classic treatment for this deafness due to mutations in the Otof gene is bilateral cochlear implants. Carolina peat

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