Five years ago, neuroscientist Susan Harkema made an accidental discovery in her research lab at the University of Louisville. While working with a paralyzed patient to learn more about nerve pathways, she found that when electrical stimulation is applied directly to the spinal cord, many patients regain some voluntary movement.
"I think what's incredibly exciting is we've opened up a realm of possibilities of what we can do now with people who are paralyzed, and we've just scratched the surface," Harkema tells CNN.
This isn't the first time electrical stimulation has been used to make paralyzed patients move, but every new technique increases the chances that a patient will regain motor skills. After the initial success, Harkema and her team applied electrical stimulation to three more paralyzed patients, and all of them wiggled their big toes, moved their ankles, and could even sit up without support. The patients then had a remote-controlled stimulator device surgically implanted into the lower abdomen. While experts say this won't allow the patients to walk (the device only affects one leg at a time), there are other health benefits, including improved respiratory and heart function.
The results of the study were published Tuesday in the journal Brain. Watch the device in action in the video below. --Catherine Garcia
A group of Columbia University students draped a Ku Klux Klan hood over a statue of Thomas Jefferson and labeled the Founding Father "the epitome of white supremacy." Protesters from the group Mobilized African Diaspora said the statue of the slave-holding Founding Father "validates rape, sexual violence and racism" and shows Columbia's "hypocrisy" in recruiting black students as "mere tokens of the university."
Former President Barack Obama pointed out that the Affordable Care Act is "more popular than the current president" during a private, off-the-record event Thursday in New York City, a person in attendance told CNN.
In a recent poll, CNN/ORC found Trump has an approval rating of 44 percent, while 47 percent of voters favor ObamaCare. Only 36 percent of people said they approve of how Trump is approaching health care. Obama added that he believes Trump and the Republicans face an uphill battle changing his law, which currently provides health care to millions.
A new version of the GOP's replacement bill is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks. Jeva Lange
President Trump was already talking about the 2020 presidential election in his speech Friday at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. Trump, who on Friday became the first sitting president since the 1980s to address the NRA, fired off an early warning that his potential competitors in 2020 — namely, possible Democratic contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — will be nowhere near as sympathetic as he is to gun owners' Second Amendment rights. "It may be Pocahontas, remember that," Trump said, using the nickname he came up with for Warren because of her previous claims that she's part Native American. "And she is not big for the NRA, that I can tell you."
President Trump revives his “Pocahontas” jab against Sen. Elizabeth Warren https://t.co/F1rJAUm1Ks
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 28, 2017
Though Trump is starting to look ahead, he certainly hasn't forgotten about that big night months ago when he won the presidency. "Sports fans said that was the single most exciting even they've ever seen," Trump said, referring to his election night upset. "That includes Super Bowls, and World Series, and boxing matches. That was an exciting evening for all of us."
Trump promised the NRA that because it "came through" for him in the election, he is "going to come through" for it. "The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," Trump said. Becca Stanek
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer raised some eyebrows this week when he blamed the Trump administration's decision to hire Michael Flynn as national security adviser on former President Barack Obama — but now President Trump is passing blame off on the previous administration, too.
On Friday, Trump told Fox News' Martha MacCallum: "Just remember, [Flynn] was approved by the Obama administration at the highest level." While Trump is technically correct that Flynn served under President Obama, Obama also fired Flynn in 2014 during Defense Intelligence Agency shakeups.
In February, Flynn resigned from the Trump administration after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador prior to being sworn in as national security adviser. Additionally, Flynn was directly told in 2014 not to take money from foreign governments without explicit permission, but he took $34,000 in December 2015 for a speaking gala concerning Russian TV and more than $500,000 for lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests ahead of the November election.
"When they say we didn't vet, well Obama I guess didn't vet, because [Flynn] was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration," Trump said. "So when [Flynn] came into our administration, for a short period of time, he came in, he was already approved of by the Obama administration and he had years left on that approval." In fact, Flynn's clearance was revoked when he was fired by Obama in 2014.
Retired Adm. John Kirby expressed disbelief at the Trump administration's spin of the situation: "It’s absolutely just ridiculous to me to pitch it away on the Obama administration," Kirby told CNN's Jake Tapper. "Yes, he got his clearance while President Obama was still in office, but that's one piece of a much larger process.” Jeva Lange
It is not such an exaggeration to call the tension between the Trump administration and the press tasked to hold them accountable an all-out war. President Trump has a light trigger finger when it comes to blasting off tweets disparaging the media, and his staffers reportedly have made a game of intentionally feeding misinformation to reporters.
Never before, then, has there been such a strange and curious time for Politico to run its annual survey of the White House Press Corps. With responses from more than 60 journalists, Politico found that 68 percent believe Trump is "the most openly anti-press president in U.S. history," while 25 percent "occasionally" and 7 percent "often" heard complaints about their stories from the White House.
Perhaps most startling of all, over half of journalists covering the White House say they have been lied to by members of the administration. Seventeen percent said the lies were constant, while 46 percent said they were merely occasional. Just 12 percent said they had never been lied to. The least helpful aide for the press was counselor Kellyanne Conway, followed by chief strategist Stephen Bannon; the most helpful aides were Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, followed by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
But with all the talk of the media being the "enemy of the American people" coming from the White House, reporters remain relatively unfazed. Seventy-five percent called the accusations a distraction, while only 25 percent said they were a real threat.
Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint, who moved think tank closer to Trump, set to be ousted by board
Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint is set to be ousted by board members who believe the think tank has become "too bombastic and political" during his tenure, Politico writes.
DeMint served as a South Carolina senator between 2005 and 2013, where he was a prominent Tea Party leader. He quit office to join the Heritage Foundation in 2013. "He has been a congressman and senator," one board member anonymously told Politico. "They are solo performers. When you are in the Senate, life is all about the senators. CEO skills are different than senator skills. I think it boils down to attributes. I don't think it is particularly personal."
Tensions reportedly arose during DeMint's contract negotiations, "which are expected to be cut short," Politico writes. Former Heritage President Ed Feulner is expected to serve as interim president following DeMint's ousting, which could come as soon as Friday.
Over the past year, DeMint moved the organization closer to President Trump, including a promise made last July that Heritage's policy experts would be at the disposal of Trump's transition team if he won. Heritage has continued to express its opinions to the Trump administration, including public opposition to the proposed Republican health-care bill. "Jim brought everyone in from the Senate to Heritage and made it hyper-political," complained one board member. "Heritage is also about civil society and culture. He's taken that off of the table."
Another operative said: "If Heritage pushes Jim DeMint out it was because a few board members, who are close to the Republican establishment, never wanted him to be president and have been working to push him out ever since. DeMint is one of the most respected and selfless conservative leaders in the country and pushing him out would be a big mistake." Read the full scoop at Politico. Jeva Lange
In a recent survey of nearly 1,000 CEO candidates, researchers found that 45 percent had made at least one mistake in their career that either ended in them losing their job or was extremely costly to their business. However, more than 78 percent of those people ended up getting the top job. They also found that educational pedigree in no way correlated with performance.
Only 7 percent of high-performing CEOs went to an Ivy League college for their undergraduate degree — and 8 percent of them never graduated from college at all. The survey's results indicated, strangely, that traits that make a board more likely to choose a candidate as CEO, such as high confidence, might not even correlate to better job performance in the role.