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    Man on the Moon moment - the year's big breakthroughs

    It has been a remarkable year of promise in medical science - from inventing ways of treating the untreatable to reversing paralysis and keeping the brain alive after death.

    Thibault in the exoskeletonImage copyrightFONDS DE DOTATION CLINATEC
    Image captionThibault was able to move his arms and legs when in the exoskeleton

    "It was like [being the] first man on the Moon," said 30-year-old Thibault.

    He was describing the moment he was able to take his first steps since being paralysed in a fall two years ago.

    He can now move all four of his paralysed limbs with a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit.

    His movements, particularly walking, are far from perfect and the robo-suit is being used only in the lab.

    But researchers say the approach could one day improve patients' quality of life.

    Media captionMind-controlled exoskeleton allows paralysed 30-year-old man to walk in French lab

    Meanwhile, nerves inside paralysed people's bodies have been "rewired" to give movement to their arms and hands.

    Patients in Australia can now feed themselves, put on make-up, turn a key, handle money and type at a computer.

    A unique drug made for just one girl with unprecedented speed

    Patient and doctorImage copyrightBOSTON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
    Image captionMila had untreatable Batten disease until doctors designed a medicine just for her

    Mila Makovec's doctors have performed a seemingly impossible feat - a girl with a deadly brain disease has been given a unique drug that was invented from scratch just for her and all in less than a year.

    She was diagnosed with fatal and untreatable Batten disease.

    The eight-year-old's medical team in Boston performed whole-genome sequencing - a detailed interrogation - on Mila's DNA, her genetic code, and uncovered a unique mutation that was causing her disease.

    Having seen the fault, the researchers thought it might be possible to treat it.

    They designed a drug, tested it on Mila's cells and on animals in the laboratory and won approval to use it from the US Food and Drug Administration.

    Drugs normally take about a decade and a half to get from the laboratory, go through clinical trials and get to patients.

    The US team got there in a year.

    Mila is now having far fewer seizures, although she is not cured.





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