Restoring the Ferret
Back Beat: Heart Surgery
Colliding Galaxies: Art of Science
Rebuilding the Legendary Baidarka
Sailing Therapy in France
NARRATION Take a ride on the wild side with these black-footed
ferrets, the last of their kind. They're headed back to the
prairie on Scientific American Frontiers. Also, can surgeons
save this man's failing heart. Watch an astonishing new technique.
An Olympic star and his racing kayak help solve the mystery
of a lost Alaskan boat. And disabled kids stand tall when
confidence goes on sale. All coming up on Scientific American
Frontiers. GTE brings you more than the power of telecommunications
products and services. A grant from GTE also brings you the
power of a new world in Scientific American Frontiers. At
GTE, the power is on.
FLOWERS Hi, I'm Woody Flowers and welcome to Scientific American
Frontiers. We have some terrific stuff for you this time.
You're going to find out if the black footed ferret can make
it back from the edge of extinction. And you're going to see
an amazing new kind of heart surgery. Now, some of you may
find parts of these first two stories quite intense. After
all, heart surgery's pretty dramatic and although ferrets
are cute, they're also predators. So there are some graphic
scenes coming. Now these scenes are there because we're showing
science as it is, and we've only included footage that's essential
to tell the story. So please hang in there. I think you'll
be glad you watched.
You have to come all the way to the badlands in South Dakota
to see one of the last thriving prairie dog towns in the country.
Once a signature of the West, dog towns are now confined to
parks and occasional patches of open land. That's bad news
for the prairie dogs, but it's even worse for prairie dog
predators. In fact, there's one predator that you just can't
find anywhere. Unless you come to a place like this, an animal
hospice run by the Wyoming Game & Fish Dept. The only home
this black footed ferret has ever known.
years ago, wildlife agents rounded up the last 18 ferrets
still alive and bred them here under strict sterile conditions.
Now, biologists and veterinarians are working out a daring
new scheme at the forefront of species reintroduction. This
little kit is one of 450 ferrets raised in captivity. With
this kind of breeding success, the program is ready for the
final challenge. In a few months, 90 ferret kits will try
to reclaim their rightful home on the prairie. While biologists
here are devising new techniques to prepare ferrets for the
wild, biologists in the field are searching for a place for
them to live.
Millica is surveying a prairie dog town outside of Medicine
Bow, looking for the perfect home. A dog town with a lot of
healthy prairie dogs to eat. He can't count every *burrow,
so he just counts the ones that fall under the bar of his
surveying wheel and uses them to estimate the town's population.
With a compass and the horizon as his guides, Patrick walks
several lines through the town to obtain his sample. This
looks like a good home for ferrets, but there's competition
for this land.
Casey Smith on a horse called Bird, number 9.. oh, Smith,
come on Smitty, yeah, rank him son, go for it now, buddy.
Roll (inaud) bareback rides tonight. Rodeos keep alive the
skills and traditions that tamed the West. One of those traditions
is raising cattle. The wide open spaces that prairie dogs
and ferrets depend on, ranchers like Wayne White use to feed
WHITE The endangered species act tied to the black footed
ferret reintroduction, thee won't be the control on the prairie
dogs and if we can't control the prairie dogs on our private
land, where there's ferrets, who would want to buy it or,
can't make a living off it with prairie dogs on it, and it's
definitely going to make an impact on us. No prairie dogs
means no ferrets. But as far as many ranchers are concerned,
the only good prairie dog is a dead one.
He's dead. And ranchers aren't the only ones responsible for
the ferret's predicament. Ironically, the same government
agencies that are trying to save the ferret killed prairie
dogs by the thousands in the 1930s and 40s. As prairie dogs
died, their territory was taken over for grazing, so the ferret
was left homeless and starving. Today, the very existence
of the species rests on the fate of these kits. So, biologists
on the reintroduction team are doing their best to prepare
the ferrets for life in the wild. The problem is, no one really
knows how to do that, so this team is testing some dramatic
new methods. One of their goals, sharpen the ferret's hunting
instincts. The kits are raised on a mixture of mink chow and
ground rabbit. Later on, they get prairie dog meat to develop
a taste for their prey. Finally, late a night when they're
most active, some kits are confronted with the real thing:
live prairie dogs. At first, the ferret is baffled. But eventually,
instinct teaches it the rules of this deadly game. It's hard
to watch, even for a dedicated biologist like Astrid Vargas,
but to improve the ferret's chances of survival, Astrid has
an even bolder idea. She's helped to build a mock prairie
dog town, where kits grow up in a simulated natural environment,
complete with live prairie dogs. If kits raised here do better
in the wild than kits raised indoors, mock environments may
become standard in future reintroduction projects. With a
night scope, you can see that the ferrets are enjoying their
surroundings. Of course, building a whole environment is a
lot of work, but biologists think it's worth it.
Blackfoot ferrets have gone extinct because of human encroachment,
what we've done to their habitat and to their prey base, so
from both an aesthetic point of view, because it's a gorgeous
animal and from a spiritual point of view, because it's our
own fault that they've gone extinct, we are trying to put
the ferrets back where they belong. Frequency is .656...
To find out whether their innovations make any difference,
the team will use radio collars to track the ferrets after
release. While sedated, the kits are marked with dye to distinguish
this year's release group from future groups and from generations
born in the wild. The ferrets are ready for launching into
their new world. This prairie dog town near Medicine Bow has
everything that ferrets need, and local ranchers, with some
reluctance, have been persuaded to cooperate with reintroduction
efforts. Ferret shipments are arriving at the site daily.
For the indoor kits, this is their first taste of the prairie.
For mocktown kits, it's graduate school. They all spend about
a week in a cage on the site to give them time to acclimate.
Patrick leaves them fresh prairie dog meat to keep their hunting
instinct on edge. Ten nights later, it's time to cut the apron
strings. The release team has done everything it can to prepare
the kits for this moment. Now, they're on their own. From
a lonely outpost, US Fish and Wildlife agents are eavesdropping
on the ferrets.
It's moving right below station 6.
They know when kits make a break for it by tracking the radio
collar signals. If a ferret gets into trouble, they'll try
to locate it. Dean Biggens is worried about ferret #27, who
hasn't moved in days. Each ferret is both a rare animal and
a storehouse of information about species reintroduction,
so every animal is important, and losing even one is a blow.
BIGGENS Well, there it is, lost collar.
The ferret may still be alive, but this is bittersweet news,
because they lose all data on the animal.
BIGGENS Yeah, you guys can scratch off number 27 from the
animal list. We found the collar just lying on top of the
ground here, it evidently came off the animal. 10-4.
One month later, at least 17 ferrets are still alive. Twelve
percent of the indoor kits are known to have survived. Of
the mocktown kits, at least 43% are still alive. The results
are preliminary, but kits raised outdoors seem to fare better.
If they survive the winter and reproduce, we will have saved
the blackfooted ferret, and we'll have learned how to give
other endangered species a second chance.
BEAT: HEART SURGERY NARRATION This is the most critical kind
of medical emergency, racing against the clock to the hospital,
but our passenger is not a patient, it's a live human heart,
resting on ice inside that box. A few miles from here, there's
a 49 year old man with advanced heart disease. He's been waiting
more than a year for a donor heart like this. Now there's
just 4 hours to get to the hospital and perform that miracle
of modern surgery, a heart transplant. Right now, it's the
only hope for people whose own hearts are beyond recovery,
but our next story's about a startling new kind of surgery,
one that may bring an alternative to many patients who are
waiting, hoping for their donor hearts to arrive.
This 60 year old man's heart is failing. He has just a few
months to live, and he can't get a transplant because of a
shortage of donor hearts. John Roble's only hope is a bold
new experiment in surgery.
Think there can either be a cardiac trip on this (mature?)
and looked at the wall, and I'd rather go through this way
and try it, because I really believe in it.
In a daring operation, doctors will provide extra pumping
power from the patient's own body. They will remove a back
muscle and wrap it around the worn out heart. A special pacemaker
will stimulate the muscle to squeeze every other beat. There's
no wait for a donor and no risk of rejection by the immune
system. The only drawback: John must go through a series of
rigorous tests to qualify. If his heart's too sick the back
muscle won't provide enough power to help. Here at Allegheny
General Hospital in Pittsburgh, two out of the 3 candidates
are turned down. An echocardiogram using sound waves will
reveal John's heart. He's the victim of a viral infection.
The damage is similar to that caused by a heart attack. On
the left, a normal heart. On the right is John's. His heart
chambers have swelled like a balloon. John's enlarged heart
is dangerously inefficient. In his final test, a pressure
sensor is guided through a vein towards the heart. With his
heart like a balloon, the higher the pressure, the worse shape
We're going to go on and measure the pressure in the right
John is far worse than they imagined. His pressure, way above
What's in the back of your mind is that you have a feeling
that you may be weak in one area and that you won't be accepted
for the test, so you sort of hope and pray that everything
works out right and they just point in your favor.
JAMES McGOVERN I've had a look at all your tests that you
had repeated since you've come back here and this is what,
3 months or so. It's 3-1/2 months since your last... In, consistent
with what you relate about your getting tired and such, your
tests are worse now than they were 3 months ago, and pretty
much across the board...
Without surgery, it's a certain death sentence. With surgery,
his chances may be no better.
JAMES McGOVERN If we don't do something here, it's going to
continue to worsen, so we need to intervene in this at this
point, so I think that you're still a candidate for the operation
but barely so.
Though John's glad to be accepted, he must comes to terms
with a tremendous risk.
JAMES McGOVERN I figure this way, even if something should
happen along the way, I'd feel like, what they can learn something
from me, and if it can help one person coming after me it's
FLOWERS For Dr. McGovern and his team, John will be only their
29th patient. Behind them, 8 years of research trying to perfect
the procedure. Ahead, hours of grueling surgery. The first
step. They delicately remove the back muscle, careful not
to disrupt its nerve or blood supply.
JAMES McGOVERN It's reasonably healthy. It's not as big as...
FLOWERS Dr. McGovern holds in his hands a human back muscle.
JAMES M cGOVERN Which is good.. So now we just need to put
the leads in, right. NARRATION The next step is to attach
wire leads and apply an electrical stimulus.
JAMES McGOVERN All right, let's test the contraction here.
If all is well, the muscle should contract. But all is not
well. The black one is to the stimulating lead, correct?
If they can't fix the problem, they may have to crap the operation.
They try another wire lead.
JAMES McGOVERN Go up slowly from one...
And it works.
JAMES McGOVERN Ok, 1.3 is the first twitch, I think.
Removed from his back, John muscle twitches at their command.
JAMES McGOVERN What's the heart rate here.
But the surgeons are facing a deadlier challenge.
JAMES McGOVERN Any way you can raise that up.
John's vital signs are weak. With the most dangerous part
of the operation ahead, Dr. McGovern considers stopping.
JAMES McGOVERN He's clearly sort of wobbling here.
But they manage to stabilize John's condition and decide to
press on. They turn John over and open his chest to expose
the beating heart. The doctor will reach in and pull through
the back muscle.
SURGEON JAMES McGOVERN Ok, well let's retrieve this muscle
out here first.
WOODIE FLOWERS John's heart is too big for the muscle.
JAMES McGOVERN That's not even close here, his heart is gigantic.
It's never going to reach.
So Dr. McGovern must improvise. The material he uses is dacron.
JAMES McGOVERN Sew that on there like that, then weíll...
put another one here. Okay. All right, there it is, the longest
muscle in the world. If it needs to be longer than that, we're
in trouble. Big trouble. All right, suture.
Finally, they can wrap Johnís back muscle around his heart.
Even with the extension, it's a tight fit.
JAMES McGOVERN It's just going to barely make it.
After 6 hours, all that's left is to insert the pacemaker
that will sense the heartbeat and stimulate the back muscle
to contract at the same time. Though they install it now,
they won't be able to turn it on until Johnís sutures have
healed. For his wife Jane, the hardest part appears over.
We just talked to Dr. McGovern and they just got him out of
surgery. They said everything went well. They just said he
was a little bit worse than they anticipated and they almost
didn't do the surgery, so we got very lucky.
John is anything but lucky. In the two weeks after the operation,
he has kidney failure, pneumonia, a blood infection and three
cardiac arrests. All life support comes from tubes. Doctors
say there is little chance he'll pull through. With John heavily
sedated, Dr. Ignatio Chrislie will turn on the pacemaker for
the first time.
CHRISLIE Here's the side fistulator under this (inaud)
It will take 10 weeks to bring the back muscle up to full
strength. Today, Dr. Chrislie programs the pacemaker to deliver
just a small stimulus. Ever so slightly, John's back muscle
now beats with his heart. Proof is on the EKG. This is John's
heartbeat. When they turn on the pacemaker, its electrical
signal creates a new spike on every other beat. Two weeks
later, the muscle is ready for more. They give it a stronger
stimulus that shows up as two spikes, and they'll keep boosting
the stimulus every two weeks. Meanwhile, John struggles to
survive. FiveÖ sixÖ sevenÖ Eight weeks later, John has made
a miraculous turnaround.
I don't remember the last two months. It's just a blank. But
they said maybe it's better that way too. You know, because
all my scars were healed already. I didn't have any pain that
I knew of. Today, it's the last big boost in the pacemaker
program. John's back muscle will finally beat strongly enough
to help his tired heart. With the stimulus turned up high,
the pacemaker signal creates five spikes on the EKG, so his
heart is getting better. But what about his back?
CHRISLIE The Good Lord just put that muscle in our back because
some day at this point we could use it for this particular
purpose. It doesn't have much use. It helps in some of the
movements, it helps if you're going to row a boat, it helps
if you're going to swim backstroke, it helps if you're a fireman
or you have to climb a rope or something, which is ÷ none
of our patients is going to do it anyway. We'll see how you
do with this higher step a couple times, and then if itsÖ.
This operation is still experimental. It will take years of
study to determine how well it works, and whether it should
be offered to the thousands of patients with failing hearts.
For John, the only thing that's certain is a long and difficult
road ahead. Take a break again÷ How do you feel.
Surprise! But after 3 months in the hospital, he's well enough
to go home. This is a welcome home party! A place he never
thought he'd see again.
Actually, the folks saved my life, really. I really appreciate
it. And saying thank you means so little to me, but I hope
it means a lot to you. Thank you
GALAXIES: ART OF SCIENCE
Galaxies in collision. It sounds like a science fiction movie,
but today's it's serious science for astronomers Lars Hernquist
and John Barnes. Ironically, it turns out that a key part
of their research is a movie, a simulation they produced at
the Pittsburgh super computing center. In the film, disk-shaped
galaxies, flat circles like our own Milky Way, collide, merge
and give birth to football shaped galaxies that have been
observed elsewhere in the universe. Now, that's just one of
Barnes' and Hernquist's discoveries but thanks to their research,
we can sit back and enjoy some truly cosmic animation.
THE LEGENDARY BAIDARKA
You know, a canoe is a really nice boat. It's lightweight,
efficient, easy to paddle, but where did the canoe come from?
I don't mean who manufactured it, but where did the design
come from. The answer is, we really don't know. It's the same
with kayaks, although nowadays we mass produce boats like
this, canoe and kayak design were developed by native Americans
so long ago, many thousands of years, that their origins have
been completely lost. This great boat building tradition flourished
all across the continent, but we're just discovering that
one place it was most refined was on the remote Aleutian Islands,
halfway to Siberia, a piece of American 1,000 miles from the
mainland. And make the memory to be eternalÖ These Aleut people
are bringing their ancestors home. Amen. Holy god, holy mighty,
holy mortal, have mercy on usÖ The dead are 700 years old,
but their remains were discovered just a year ago. Since then,
they've been studied by anthropologists on the mainland. The
Aleuts approved the investigation because the aim was so vital
to help honor their own history. Anthropologist Bill Laughlin
has worked alongside the people here for 50 years. These 1948
home movies show one of Laughlin's earliest digs at the site
of an ancient Aleut village. His discoveries have revealed
a way of life that has thrived here for 9,000 years. The key
to this achievement was not on the land, it was out at sea.
This is an especially good place to see the historical panorama
of the interaction between the Aleut hunters and collectors
and the sea from which all their resources came. Everything
they needed came out of the ocean, and the biggest challenge
of course was just to go out on the open sea and harpoon a
sea lion or a whale.
The treeless tundra of these islands holds little that sustains
life. While the surrounding ocean is rich in whales, seals
and fish of many kinds. But to hunt and travel required an
ocean going vessel that could stand up to the roughest waters
and worst weather in the world. The Aleuts developed a sophisticated
boat design that would meet these challenges for thousands
of years. Their invention was an ocean kayak named the badarka
by Russian explorers. Fast, seaworthy, it was the crowning
achievement of the Aleut hunters. Boat builder George Dyson
is out to learn the mysteries of badarka design and performance.
Accounts by early Russian colonists describe an extremely
fast boat, but none survive. To recreate how the high speed
bakarka worked, George's only guide is this tantalizing sketch,
two centuries old, of an odd looking craft.
DYSON From the sketches, and from what is being discovered
in burial caves and so on, archeological evidence, how do
we reconstruct the, really the dynamics of boat building of
that time from what really is only fragmentary evidence. And
the only way to do that is by reconstructing the vessels themselves.
The original frames were made of pieces of driftwood, a scarce
and precious building material. In his workshop north of Seattle,
George Dyson has other choices. He's trying out aluminum tubing.
While colleague Joe Lubishur experiments with the same design
made from wood. The badarka has some perplexing features.
A bow like an open jaw. Was it functional or purely decorative?
The stern ends not in a point but in a square. Why? Inset
in places, bone bearings where the parts rubbed together.
The ancient boat builders obviously didn't want a rigid structure.
They used loose lashings as well. The result is a very flexible
frame. Aleut Mike Micanof sews on a nylon covering. It's a
substitute for the sea lion hide his ancestors used. A flexible
skeleton, wrapped in soft skin, just like the sea mammals
the Aleuts hunted. For the first test, they've chosen a freshwater
lake where it will be easy to measure speeds on a quarter
mile run. Greg Barton, an Olympic gold medallist, has been
recruited to paddle. He'll run the course first in his facing
kayak. Greg's strength roughly matches a typical Aleut hunter
who, like Greg, kayaked every day. But his kayak is radically
different from the Aleut badarka.
BARTON This kayak is designed specifically for racing on calm
water in a straight line. It's very narrow. The main difference
between this kayak and the others is that this is much skinnier,
has much less resistance in the water.
Resistance is created when a boat pushes water aside, forming
waves at the bow and stern. The faster it goes, the larger
these waves grow. The paddler has to climb up his own waves,
so when a boat makes big waves, it reaches a sort of natural
sped limit that's tough to beat. Greg's racing boat is more
streamlined than the average kayak. You can see the small
waves it's creating. Full out, he hits 10 miles an hour, Olympic
class sprint speed. Now, the badarka. With its larger hull,
it's bound to be slower, but how much slower. No one knows.
Greg gives it all he has and hits 9 miles an hour, as fast
as the best ocean kayaks on the market today. But the two-piece
bow seems to be doing little. It's right out of the water.
In fact, what's happening is, the boat is planing, skimming
the surface. It's a way to beat the speed limit of its own
waves, a trick well known to modern boat designers, but it
looks like the Aleuts got there first. The trials were revealing,
but not realistic. Badarkas were meant for different conditions.
BARTON If you took the same boats and put them in some 6 ft
swells, I'd be swimming to shore with my raceboat and I'll
still be have on the other boats. And then also the speeds
may vary. The other boats probably wouldn't slow down nearly
as much, whereas the race boat would be floundering, and you
Žd be spending a lot of time just trying to keep the boat
upright. So for the ultimate test, Frontiers has arranged
to bring the badarka back to its roots in the Aleutian Islands.
It's summer here, but the weather is still cool, and the waves
are ominously large. We're going back to the village of Nikolsky,
ancient center of traditional Aleut boat building. They still
spend on the sea for their livelihood, but no one's hunted
in a badarka for 80 years. George Dyson and Bill Laughlin
are on hand for the Badarkas' arrival. The boats are coming
3,000 miles from Seattle, first by commercial jet to the nearest
fishing port, then 3 days at sea onboard a 50 ft trawler.
Finally, they're transferred to small boats out in the bay,
and then the badarka is home at last. For the Aleuts, itís
a time of rediscovery. That's marvelous. I think that's the
first time now since 1910 that real Badarkas have been brought
ashore here. Itís a historic moment. The young people have
never seen a badarka before, but for the older men, the memories
come flooding back. They had piece of sea line height about
this wide and about 5 ft long that they put in there and that's
where they sat. They used grass for putting under their behinds.
Did they carry a lot of stuff in the old time badarkas. Yeah,
they did carry quite a bit of stuff, they carried the provisions,
you know, stuff to eat and then sometimes 2 or 3 badarka,
you know, a group were tied together to spend the night on
a open sea, when they were hunting sea otters.
For George, it's the moment of truth. The water is 40 degrees,
and it's going to be rough out there. Dangerous waters for
the boat's first ocean test. But he's a skilled kayaker and
this, after all, is where the boat belongs. As it works its
way onto the open sea, the mysteries of the badarka's strange
design will be mysteries no longer. The open jaw bow has an
obvious function. The lower section pierces the surface, providing
clean entry into the water. The wide upper bow gives the boat
lift as it crashes into swells. Without it, the badarka would
nosedive into the waves. The ancient designers managed to
combine different qualities in a single craft, high speed
during the hunt, safety and comfort cruising in big seas.
DYSON Feels real nice in the rough water, feels like it was
made for rough water. The fact that it could achieve significant
times on a flat water racecourse, and also cut into this sloppy
water as cleanly as it does definitely shows the real virtues
of a versatile design.
Another virtue is the flexible frame. Working in rough conditions
every day, a rigid boat would wear out quickly, but with a
shock absorbing hull, the badarka can bend with the waves
instead of straining against them. The Aleut designers could
also turn the dangerous surf to their advantage, the wide
square stern catches the energy from following waves, pushing
the boat on its way.
DYSON They would surf like crazy if you had the power to get
on top of these waves.
With an experienced kayaker like George making it look simple,
it isn't long before everyone wants a go at it.
DYSON Let's go try it out, huh. I'd like to try it out.
Larry Pletnikof has never gone kayaking before, and remember,
this is an expert level boat, it's very tippy. But even a
tumble into the frigid bay doesnít phase the brave at heart.
It was great! I couldn't believe he stayed up as long as he
did. I wouldn't put anybody who'd never been in a kayak before
stay up that long. I did it today! In the hands of its inventors,
the badarka is back in home waters.
back to top
THERAPY IN FRANCE
Poppasee is paralyzed from the waist down. She is on her way
to her daily physical therapy session at this rehabilitation
center. Two months ago, an as-yet undiagnosed nerve disorder
struck her legs. Now, she has to make the attempt to relearn
the basics, to bend her knees, or just to stay balanced for
a few seconds.
lost his right leg in a road accident. Now he has to learn
to walk again, with an artificial leg. Bathroom scales help
him see if he's putting his weight onto the new leg. He's
trying to put a maximum of weight on his right side, you see,
because the tendency is to put all the weight on the wood
one.For Hugh, as for Lydie, this is grim and hard work. No
fun at all.
another road accident victim, has irreversible brain damage,
but still loves to talk. Raphael finally gets through. Raphael
has a daily routine as well, which therapist Bruno takes him
through. 20 years ago, patients like Raphael would not have
received this kind of aggressive therapy, but now the body's
remarkable hidden reserves have been recognized. Progress
may be slow, but itís real. It's an exchange between the two
of us, exactly like a dance. I have an action, he reacts,
and that produces another action on my part. It's a learning
process we go through together.
rehabilitation center happens to be located on a beautiful
section of France's Atlantic coast. A few years, ago, the
staff here had a seemingly crazy idea. This morning, Hugh,
Lydie and Raphael are not heading for their regular therapy
sessions. They're going for a sail. Like Bruno, many of the
staff here are keen recreational sailors. They wondered, why
shouldn't the patients take advantage of the area as well.
They tried out the idea with borrowed private boats, and it
worked so well, that 4 years ago, they persuaded a local bank
to donate the center's own boat. Now, every day, weather permitting,
a group of patients heads out to sea.
they leave the harbor, it soon becomes clear that Raphael
and his companions are not just along for the ride. It's the
first time he'll have tried to steer on his artificial leg.
Itís going to be very hard. Meanwhile, the others have work
to do. Without thinking about it, they're doing the same tasks
they do in their therapy sessions. Only now, it's natural.
They're motivated. There's a job to do. Even someone as severely
disabled as Raphael can join in. And it's not just the physical
work thatís important. Every day we see the boat on the sea
and we can't go, and imagine, and today we can go on this
boat and it is very good.
Bruno, it's the very act of getting away from the center to
broader horizons that brings the greatest benefits. I think
that when someone has had an accident, his personal horizon
becomes really limited. To show him a new horizon, it's a
psychological symbol. It has real psychological impact on
his rehabilitation. As the day unfolds, everyone gets a chance
to work and to have a little fun. I put progress to second
time from this work, itís very, very good. Procedures on the
boat are not quite as casual as they might seem. Bruno is
familiar with every patient's case history, so with Lydie,
he concentrates on her right knee, which shows particular
weakness. Once they've avoided running the boat onto the rocks,
they can return to the real business of the day.
they head back in at the end of the day, there's one last
opportunity that Bruno exploits. As boats enter the harbor,
the square panel, silhouetted against the roof, must be lined
up. That puts the boat within a safe channel. It's a perfect
exercise in visual perception, something Raphael has to relearn.
Until that it, it's time to save the boat again. This time,
from colliding with a fishing trawler. Although by now, the
locals are getting used to the somewhat unpredictable boat
from the center. In fact, not only have the neighbors gotten
used to the center's sailboat, they think it's a great idea.
in what's become an annual event, boaters from miles around
have gathered at the center. In the crowd, 130 patients, men
and women, boys and girls. At the dock, amateur yachtsmen,
fishermen, coast guard, even the local fireman, all here to
make the center's special sailing weekend a success. There's
even a piper on hand, to play the Farewell to Departing Sailors
that's traditional to the area. It's one big party for all
concerned, but for the patients, it's more than that. It confirms
what their own boat has taught them, that reaching for the
horizon is something they can do.
it, until next time on Scientific American Frontiers. Please
come on back and watch.
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