Spinal implant helps paraplegics walk again

This week’s blogpost focuses on the development of a rather remarkable piece of homegrown innovation. Stories of restoring a paraplegic’s ability to walk was something previously confined to the pages of ancient divine texts, yet scientists from EPFL based at Campus Biotech in Geneva have managed to achieve the seemingly miraculous. Their success has been a combination of brilliant scientific minds, innovative technology and dedication to a common goal, which has led to this breakthrough.

Their cutting-edge spinal implant acts as a kind of electrical bridge, implanted over the damaged tissue of a patient’s spinal cord, receiving stimuli above the injury and transcribing them below it. The procedure has successfully restored lower motor function in a number of patients who had lost the ability to walk. Beyond the considerable improvement in the quality of life and mental wellbeing of individual patients, such curative technological advancements have huge potential for insuring a healthy and mobile population with far-reaching socio-economic benefits.

 

Written by Danny Sheath

Advocating for an expanded mandate of the Global Fund

Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is partnership organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as pandemics.  Through continued work with governments, civil society and the private sector, the Global Fund strengthens local health systems and improves communities, by raising money to invest in prevention, treatment and care services [1].

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The evolution of infectious disease surveillance

“We could provide timely, sensitive data on population health”

The 19th century saw the rapid development of sentinel surveillance systems which informed important health policy decisions. In the 20th century, microbiology and computer advances improved disease surveillance and public health communication. Now, in the 21st century, we have access to low cost and quick identification of pathogens. Additionally, we now use big data systems e.g. electronic medical claims which allow us to compare diseases in time and place [1].

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