Dr. Sergio Canavero has been reporting on his preparations for a human head transplant for several years – most recently he boasted of a successful procedure of this type performed on rats. Now, in turn, the controversial Italian neurosurgeon claims to have successfully performed the art in a human, albeit on a cadaver for now.
Dr. Sergio Canavero has been reporting on his preparations for a head transplant in a human for a few years – most recently . Now, the controversial Italian neurosurgeon claims to have successfully performed the art in a human, albeit on a cadaver for now.
At a press conference in Vienna, he announced that his team had successfully separated the head from one body and transplanted it into another, connecting all the blood vessels and nerves together. The fact that the operation was performed in just 18 hours is expected to be an equally great success.
And he immediately announced the next step, which is to perform such a procedure on patients in the state of brain death, which is to be the last step before the actual, groundbreaking operation, which – according to Canavero – will take place in December in China (the country was chosen not accidentally, because in Asia there are no such rigid ethical standards).
The Italian claims that many people want to work with him, so he has no lack of “material” to work with, but his claims should be taken with a large dose of caution – because he did not present any evidence to confirm them.
Canavero has been claiming for several years that today’s technology fully enables such a procedure, but people are simply unable to overcome their own prejudices. The operation he has developed will consist of two simultaneous phases. The first involves cutting through the spinal cord with minimal damage, while the second involves the express use of fusogens, chemicals that have been shown in mouse experiments to stimulate spinal cord regeneration, to connect it to a new head. The entire procedure is to take place at extremely low temperatures to prevent neuronal damage, and in addition, motor neurons are to remain almost intact so that they can be stimulated to function by electrostimulation. The body to be transplanted is to come from a patient in a state of brain death (the exact details of the proposed operation can be found in the magazine ).
Such an operation has already been attempted on monkeys over 40 years ago, and Chinese doctors recently succeeded in transplanting a mouse head. In the case of the human procedure, however, the price is also an issue – the procedure is expected to cost $10 million.
The most controversial thing about the whole method is that if it really turns out to be effective – it can be used to prolong life – it is easy to imagine a situation when a group of rich people buys young bodies on the black market to live forever. In addition, if such a “chimera” were able to reproduce – it would pass on the genetic material of the body donor, not the person who has control over it. And in the future, perhaps a brainless clone will be bred for each child from a young age, whose body can be used in the event of a “failure” of the first. The number of scenarios that remain in the realm of science-fiction for now is limitless.