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Paralyzed man moves hand for first time in four years

Thanks to new technology, a paralyzed man was able to move his hand with his own thoughts for the first time in four years.

Ian Burkhart was paralyzed four years ago in a diving accident. He was the first of five subjects to test the new Neurobridge system.

"The 23-year-old quadriplegic said he didn't mind being a guinea pig of a pioneering research program. But he never dreamed he'd be able to do this." (Via Sky News)

Neurobridge is an electronic neural bypass developed by surgeons from Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center and Battelle, a nonprofit group in Ohio focusing on spinal cord technology.

Engadget describes Neurobridge as a chip "that's been implanted into the patient's motor center, which relays those signals, via a muscle stimulation sleeve, directly to the subject's muscles. That way, the technology bypasses the damaged nerves, essentially cutting out the middleman and restoring direct muscular control to the brain."

Burkhart underwent surgery in April to implant a 0.15-inch-wide chip into his brain, which has 96 electrodes that "read" what he is thinking. He then had weeks of practice sessions where he focused on moving his fingers to move a digital hand on a computer. (Via International Business Times)

The chip can deliver signals in about a tenth of a second, so it's not as fast as the natural biological process. But it could still help those that are paralyzed lead normal lives.

"Picking up a cup of water and drinking it or brushing your teeth or feeding yourself, you know those things. If you can do those on your own, it makes a big difference in your life."(Via The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center)

According to the Mayo Clinic, quadriplegia can stem from "a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae."

Ian's surgeon believes that a day will come when those with disabilities will be able to move their arms and legs with the use of technology.

 

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Trump's aides are making a renewed push to get the president out of Washington. The capital is consumed with the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and Trump's firing of his FBI director. Campaign rallies energize Trump by placing him in front of supporters who have stuck by him and are likely to dismiss the investigations as Beltway chatter. Iowa, with its large share of independent voters, could be a proving ground for whether Trump can count on the support of voters beyond his base. Unaffiliated voters — or 'no party' voters, as they are known in Iowa — make up 36 percent of the electorate, compared with 33 percent who register Republican and 31 percent registered as Democrat. Self-identified independents in Iowa voted for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton by a 13-percentage-point margin last year, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks. 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He hailed Branstad, the longest-serving governor in the nation's history and an early Trump backer, as 'a legend' and 'one great man.' Trump's stop at Kirkwood Community College was intended to draw attention to the school's advancements in high-tech agriculture, but he resisted sitting behind the wheel of a virtual reality device that simulated a giant combine harvester. He was joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as part of the administration's latest theme week, this time to highlight the importance of technology. He later touted the wealth of Ross and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, saying: 'Those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense?' But much of Trump's attention was on the suburbs of Atlanta, in the 6th Congressional District race. Democrats had lavished attention and money on Tuesday's special election, hoping for a victory that would underscore Republican worries about Trump and serve as a harbinger of a Democratic wave in 2018. Instead, Handel's victory, in a traditional Republican stronghold that rarely produces a competitive contest, was met with a sigh of relief among the GOP. Trump tweeted several times during the night and capped the night off with a text message to supporters referring to his 'Make America Great Again' slogan: 'The MAGA Mandate is stronger than ever. BIG LEAGUE.' ___ Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report. ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire
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  • Senate Republicans' new health bill cuts taxes by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, mostly for corporations and the richest families in America. It uses a budget gimmick to comply with Senate rules against adding to the federal government's long-term debt. Senate Republican leaders unveiled a draft of their bill to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law on Thursday and argued it would eliminate job-killing taxes enacted under the 7-year-old health law. Democrats countered that the bill is a giveaway to the rich at the expense of middle- and low-income families who will lose health insurance. And in a Facebook post, Obama said: 'The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It's a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.' Senate Republicans released only a draft of their bill, with no analysis and no cost estimates. However, the tax cuts are very similar to those in the House bill passed last month, though some would be delayed to pay for more generous benefits. The major tax provisions in the bill would: —Delay a new 'Cadillac' tax on high-cost health insurance plans until 2026. This is a budget gimmick to ensure that the bill complies with Senate rules that forbid the legislation from adding to the federal government's long-term debt. The tax was part of Obama's health law, and it has long been unpopular among Republicans, as well as business groups and labor. On paper, the tax would take effect in 2026, generating billions of dollars in revenue every year after. However, Congress has already delayed the tax once, until 2020, making it unlikely lawmakers will ever let it take effect. Of course, in 2026, it will be somebody else's problem. — Repeal a tax on wealthy investors, saving them about $172 billion over the next decade. Obama's health law enacted an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income for married couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $125,000. The Senate bill would repeal the tax this year. About 90 percent of the benefit from repealing the tax would go to the top 1 percent of earners, who make $700,000 or more, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. —Repeal a new Medicare payroll tax on high-income families, saving them about $59 billion over the next decade. Obama's health law enacted an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on wages above $250,000 for married couples and above $125,000 for individuals. The Senate bill would repeal the tax in 2023. —Repeal a new annual fee on health providers, based on market share, saving them about $145 billion over the next decade. —Repeal a 2.3 percent excise tax on companies that make or import medical devices, saving them around $19 billion over the next decade. The Senate bill would repeal the tax in 2018 — a year later than the House bill. ___ Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephenatap