Paralyzed monkeys can walk again without rehabilitation

For humans and animals, the ability to walk has its source in the brain. The brain sends electrical signals through the spinal cord to the legs, and this causes movement. If a brain signal is interrupted and does not reach the nerves in the leg, for example, then that limb is paralyzed. For the first time researchers have managed to bypass the damaged spinal cords of rhesus monkeys, allowing them to walk again.

In order to carry out the experiment, researchers severed parts of the spinal cords of two rhesus monkeys to paralyze one of their legs. The transection lead to an interruption of the brain signals to the muscles in one leg, so the rhesus monkeys couldn’t walk normally anymore. Researchers then implanted a microchip into the specific part of the brain responsible for the monkeys’ movements. The chips recorded every electric impulse produced by the monkeys’ neurons and sent these to a computer. The computer then calculated patterns of activity. Those patterns were transmitted to sixteen electrodes that had been previously implanted onto each monkey’s spinal cord below the injured section. By stimulating the right nerves, the electrodes made the leg muscles move again, enabling the monkeys to move their paralyzed legs almost normally. The information exchange between the microchip implanted in the brain and the electrodes took place via Bluetooth and infrared in real-time.

According to Erwan Bezard from the University of Bordeaux (France), both monkeys were able to move immediately after the operation without any training or rehabilitation. So far, the rhesus monkeys can accomplish easy movements like walking; however, balancing or navigating obstacles is currently not possible with this technology.

At this stage it is not clear if the technology can be used for humans as well. It will be necessary to do more research on fully paralyzed monkeys, where a larger portion of the spinal cord has been severed. This would provide a much more accurate representation of the type of paralysis usually found in humans. To date, chips have been implanted into human brains in other experiments and some positive results have been achieved. For example, one paralyzed man was able to move his hand using his thoughts. By wearing a pressure sleeve that responded to his brain activity on his forearm, he was able to stimulate, and therefore move, certain muscles. This gave him some control over his hand, which he previously did not have.

To find more about it :

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/medizin/chip-im-hirn-gelaehmter-kann-wieder-gehen-a-1120517.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v539/n7628/full/nature20118.html

 

 

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GlobalXplorer° – for all the aspiring archeologists out there…

The world of archeology is changing. This particular initiative comes from Dr. Sarah Parcak, an American archaeologist and expert on remote sensing using satellite imaging.

GlobalXplorer° was launched on January 31, 2017. It is an online platform that shares satellite images currently available to archaeologists. Anyone can now access the data and help with everything from preventing looting to discovering new archaeological sites in Peru, Egypt or China. This technique is already used by professional archeologists with great success.

When you access this website, you will be given a 6 min video tutorial showing you how to recognize looting sites on satellite images. And then you can start exploring images in Peru, deciding if there is evidence of looting or not. After you’ve analyzed 1,000 images, GlobalXplorer° will determine that you possess the required skills to start looking for as-yet-unknown archeological sites.

The power of the crowd can help archeologists analyse the enormous number of satellite images, and to fight looting, which destroys so many valuable clues about past civilizations.   

The images are provided by DigitalGlobe. DigitalGlobe is a leading provider of commercial high-resolution Earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions.

And now you, too, can start fighting crime and making fascinating discoveries!

 

How your business can benefit from CETA

Over the last year free trade has become one of the hottest political topics. Weather it is a GM factory in Ontario laying off 600 people to move their jobs to Mexico, President Trump pulling out of the TTP deal and the TTIP negotiations, as well as wanting to renegotiate NAFTA, or 180,000 people in Germany demonstrating against a new free trade agreement all over the country last September, free trade agreements cause controversy. Even though nowadays many people have a critical attitude towards free trade agreements, the potential they have for economic growth should not be underestimated.

Yesterday the GCCIR team attended a Business Forum on CETA, organised by the Alberta Government in cooperation with other federal and local institutions. We learned a lot and we want to share with you some ways in which your business can, in fact, benefit from the new Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). Learn about what new opportunities arise, and where you can find useful information about this new trade agreement between Canada and the world‘s largest integrated market with 500 million consumers and an annual GDP of $21 trillion!

Here are some of the most significant benefits of CETA that will make trading your products and/or services with the EU much easier:

  • Eliminate most tariffs: On the day that CETA is put in place (likely before Summer 2017), the EU will remove tariffs on 98% of its tariff lines for Canadian products. This will increase to up to 99% over the following seven years. Use the following link to see how much you will be saving in tariffs when exporting your products to Europe, and keep in mind that competitors in other countries still need to pay these fees to access the EU market (EU Tariffs). If you are exporting agricultural or agri-food products, fish and seafood, or automotive products, special quotas will be in place for the first few years (Canadian Tariff Guide under CETA). All other products can be exported to the EU free of tariffs.
  • Cuts red tape and reduces barriers to trade: For example, Canadian companies that produce goods that require safety testing can get European certification at the same time and from the same organisation that certifies their products for the Canadian market. This significantly reduces costs and time, since the products no longer need to be shipped to Europe in order to be tested separately for that market. Customs procedures will also be made easier for Canadian exporters.
  • CETA improves labour mobility: CETA introduces a concept called Temporary Entry. This makes it easier for short-term business visitors, intra-company transferees, investors, contract service suppliers, and independent professionals to conduct business in the EU and vis-a-versa.
  • Access to EU public contracts: Once CETA is in place, Canadian companies will have access to EU public contracts at all levels. Have a look at the European TED Webpage , where each year 460 000 requests  for tenders are published, totalling about 420 billion Euro in value. Now with CETA, Canadian companies can submit tenders for these EU projects.
  • Better protection of investment: The new free trade agreement insures that investments are better protected. CETA also allows for more transparency and provides Canadian investors with a more favourable and secure access to the EU market

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities for Canadian businesses, of all sizes and in all sectors, to benefit from this new free trade agreement. American or Asian competitors are still required to pay import taxes, if they want to sell their goods in the EU. It is now up to Canadian businesses to use the advantages that CETA provides them with and establish their products, goods, and services in the European market in the years to come. Not only will this ensure more growth for businesses, it will also create new jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers.

You can find more information about CETA on the following webpage:

http://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/campaign-campagne/ceta-aecg/index.aspx?lang=eng