Skip to comments.Possibility Of First Head Transplant Fraught With Ethical And Medical Dilemmas
Posted on 08/01/2013 7:56:05 AM PDT by Red Badger
A leading neurosurgeon has revealed a project to carry out the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage within the next two years. The project is code-named HEAVEN/GEMINI.
Published in the June issue of Surgical Neurology International, the project has been outlined by Italian neuroscientist and functional neurosurgeon, Dr. Sergio Canavero. He says the procedure would take 100 surgeons 36 hours to complete, and would cost around £8.5 million ($12.6 million).
In 1970, US neurosurgeon Robert Joseph White performed an operation to transplant a monkey's head onto another monkey's body. However, the inability to repair the severed spinal cord due to lack of required technology proved a problem, and the monkey was left paralyzed, passing away days later.
But Canavero believes today's technology will overcome this hurdle and refers to previous studies in which scientist have reconnected spinal cords to rats. Canavero explains that the transplant will work if surgeons can successfully link the spinal cord to the head by fusing severed axons, the nerve cells that transmit information to different neurons, muscles and glands.
In the paper, Canavero explains:
"The greatest technical hurdle to such endeavor is of course the reconnection of the donor's and recipient's spinal cords. It is my contention that the technology only now exists for such linkage."
He explains that cut axons can be reconstituted using molecules such as poly-ethylene glycol (PEG), used in many areas ranging from industrial manufacturing to pharmaceutical products. Another molecule that can be used is chitosan.
The surgery would involve putting the recipient's head into a "hypothermia mode" for around 45 minutes between 12°C and 15°C (the HEAVEN process). It is thought that this time frame would create virtually no neurological damage.
The GEMINI procedure would involve surgeons cutting the cooled spinal cords with an "ultra-sharp blade," before reconnecting the recipient's head to the donor body. In the paper, Canavero explains that this clean cut is the key to spinal cord fusion, as it allows the severed axons to be fused accurately with the molecules.
He explains that what is equally important is that the motorneuronal pools, responsible for the contraction of muscle fibers and skeletal muscle, remain fully intact so they can be engaged by spinal cord stimulation. Canavero says that this is a technique that has proven effective for motor control in patients with spinal injuries.
As the human brain can only survive without oxygen for one hour, the surgeons would have to remove both heads and connect the recipient's head to the circulatory system of the donor body within this time frame.
Canavero says that it is clear the procedure would extend some patients' lives and would be far-reaching. However, he says that a select group of gravely ill individuals would be the target, such as people with muscular dystrophies.
But he cautions that as the procedure is deployed within the clinical area, it needs proper regulation. He adds that a risk could develop whereby people with adequate funds try to secure the bodies of healthy young individuals on the black market and have them transplanted by dishonest surgeons - something he says needs to be addressed by society.
Piffle! Sis and I used to exchange the heads of our GI Joe and Barbie dolls all the time.
Mom had us tested - we’re normal. :)
Well, that’s ONE way to get rid of your thunder thighs.
That movie scared the bejeebers out of me as a kid. I recently bought it off the DVD bargain bin. Not so scary now.
Or maybe it is, a girlfriend that’s all head and no body? I might prefer the opposite knowing what I know now.
This thread is just beggin’ for this joke....
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check
for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you
began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive,
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and
Speaking of Barbie & Ken, this medical development gives a whole new meaning to sex reassignment surgery.
Don’t give Hillary any ideas! Huma might be in danger!......
So, I have a question....
How do they know it’s a “head transplant.”
Why isn’t this considered a “body transplant”?
Does the identity of this person go with the body?
Shouldn’t the identity of the new person go with the head?
No thanks. With the stuff people are putting in themselves nowadays. I’ll pass.
“Well, thats ONE way to get rid of your thunder thighs.”
Chelsea’s body gonna get Hitlary’s head?
Hopefully we can get tot he point where we can use a giant 3-d printer that uses cells to “print” a new body so donor body issues would be eliminated...
If the body has no head, therefore no consciousness, I would call it a head transplant, transplanting the consciousness to a new body.....
It would present a problem with fingerprints, though.......retinal scan would have to be the true identifying media.......
They’re gonna have to use sharper knives.......
At least we have a bunch of brainless bodies walking around to experiment on. Democrats shouldn’t mind losing their heads. After all, this is for the “greater good”.
Or the laboratory scene in Wilder's "Frankenstein".
Can you imagine a ‘Body Store’ where you could ‘shop’ for a new body?........
Each surgeon would be paid 3600 bucks an hour.
How many people can stand around one person?
this is not science, its a con job.
If this is successfully introduced you’re going to have amoral billionaires window shopping strangers, I hope people realize this. Maybe not in this country, but it will happen.
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