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Emmanuel Macron announces 10 million euros for the deployment of nearly 200 exoskeletons in France

On average, each department will have at least two exoskeletons for medical care and rehabilitation (SMR) facilities; This is what Emmanuel Macron promised on January 26, 2023. An envelope of ten million euros - on the health insurance budget?, the announcements were confused... - will allow to finance these robots that wrap the legs, pelvis and pelvis chest of people with brain or spinal cord injuries . Nearly 200 exoskeletons are therefore expected to appear in France from July 2023, complementing the twenty already available in our health facilities since 2020.

A paratrooper injured in the war

On this day, it was Sulayman who demonstrated; Born in 2000, this soldier of the 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment of Tarbes became paraplegic after an explosion during Operation Barkhane in Mali. " Having everyone on the same level is great for morale" , he told Emmanuel Macron. His sessions last about an hour, the time to gear up, including twenty dedicated to walking. This verticalization has positive effects on his transit, blood circulation and relieves his recurrent pain in the shoulders, but above all it allows his brain to relearn how to walk by reforming circuits. Convincing results have also been observed in people who have never walked before.

Wandercraft, Fleuron made in France

Which models will be selected? At the moment no details, although Atalante, the flagship of the manufactured in France Technology from Wandercraft , is a benchmark. The world leader in the field of walking exoskeletons has also received a few days earlier an approval of the American Food and Drug Administration (the equivalent of our National Agency for the Safety of Medicines) for the use of Atalante in the event of a stroke. The startup has a factory project in France under the France 2030 system, and it could produce four units a month. But Atalante's cost is around 180,000 euros, but the promised envelope would allow it to fund models at 50,000 euros each. It also remains to be seen which businesses these units will be destined for; in France, there are potentially 430 centers focused on locomotion and capable of accommodating them.

Outside the hospital setting?

The head of state intends to " Mobilize with the Armed Forces Health Service (...) to continue the mission. (Note: the only one is in the functional rehabilitation structure of the Invalides). " and why not " outside the hospital environment " through the integration of this high-tech equipment " into our territorial strategies with urban medicine, medicine and paramedicine."  Dr. Pierre-François Pradat, president of the Institute for Spinal Cord and Brain Research (IRME), shares this hope. The exoskeletons available at some centers are only available for a short time; gold "The goal would be to allow patients to continue their rehabilitation outdoors with appropriately trained staff, since thanks to the plasticity of the nervous system, there is still recovery capacity a year or two after the accident . " However, current exoskeletons are not yet mature enough to be used in everyday life, such as shopping. Finally, Emmanuel Macron wants to devote resources to the development of an exoskeleton for children, even if a Spanish innovation has already been celebrated in June 2022.

Inauguration of the standing station

These announcements were made on the occasion of the inauguration of the Standing Station by Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by his wife and several ministers, including Geneviève Darrieussecq (Delegate Minister for the Disabled). This space, designed as a fitness room, was born from a reflection led by the IRME. This center for research and adapted physical activities, completely refurbished in the premises of the former Parisian General Post Office (Rue du Louvre) and combining virtual reality, networked devices and robotics, is dedicated to people with neurological deficits (paraplegia, multiple sclerosis) , neurodegenerative diseases, stroke). This room has been in operation since September 2022 and is called " unique in Europe".was officially inaugurated during this presidential trip. It receives a total of about fifty, not "patients" but "members," and can receive six at a time on its set. This initiative, which is free to its members, now lives only on patrons and donations. " But this model is not sustainable without health insurance reimbursement for the sessions ", explains Pierre-François Pradat. To raise funds, Emmanuel Macron has " committed to a concert at the Elysée Palace". , but also promises to help its initiators, " beat the campaign " with the aim of creating a dozen centers of this type in France. This news that "were not planned"so quickly rejoice those who have been lobbying in this direction for a long time.

Source: Macron promises to use 2 exoskeletons per department ( (27.01.2023)

Tom Illauer

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