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Science & Technology

'Head transplant' surgeon reveals progress

June 16, 2017 | Comment icon 14 comments



Dr Canavero has reconnected a mouse's severed spinal cord. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Rama
Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero has managed to sever and reconnect the spinal cords of nine mice.
It might sound like something taken straight from the pages of a Mary Shelley novel and that's because, for the most part, it is. The idea of removing someone's head and then attaching it to another body is perhaps the most audacious surgical procedure ever conceived.

According to Italian surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero however, undertaking a head transplant on a live human patient is not only possible, but demonstrably achievable before the end of this year.

Now the controversial surgeon has shown that he really does mean business by severing the spinal cords of mine mice and then successfully reconnecting them using a special 'glue' solution.
Critics had long claimed that achieving even this would be impossible, but now that Dr Canavaro has actually demonstrated that it can be done he believes his plan to perform the world's first human head transplant is still very much on the cards.

He now intends to repeat the spinal cord reconnection procedure on dogs in the coming months.

The idea of attempting such a thing on a human however has been met with universal criticism.

"I would not wish this on anyone," said Dr Hunt Batjer of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons. "I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (14)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by highdesert50 5 years ago
We grow as a body evolving to change. Inheriting a body would require a lot of cognitive remapping. Living with inherent limitations would be challenging as would the stigma of a kind of frankenstein. Mary Shelley's novel ended rather tragically. Will it be repeated or completely rewritten.
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
Considering how many operations I've had and my back issues, which can't be fixed and will only get worse, this operation is sounding more appealing. BTW - Is this the same surgeon who had a human subject that he was going to perform the operation on?   Addition OK = Now that I read the article that's linked, this is all BS.  PEG is a solvent, not a glue or plastic.  It's used in antifreeze for cars and deicing solutions for planes.  It's even used as a laxative. PEG is used to make the glue that sticks toilet paper and paper towels to the core with CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose).  The glue nee... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Noxasa 5 years ago
This guy's a quack and running a cruel scam by giving false hope to millions of people suffering from spinal cord injuries.  No one has ever demonstrated an ability to repair a severed spinal cord with current tech.  I can only think he's trying to work a scam somehow...maybe looking for investors to steal from or something.
Comment icon #8 Posted by WoIverine 5 years ago
Yeah, one would think that stem cell research and application would be more promising than a "glue" of sorts. Even that's a stretch though as there are two people involved in the process.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Trenix 5 years ago
Poor mice. Why doesn't this guy attempt to cut his own head off. World would be a better place.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Sundew 5 years ago
Why does the name Nancy Pelosi keep coming up in my mind?
Comment icon #11 Posted by The Silver Thong 5 years ago
 
Comment icon #12 Posted by Nuclear Wessel 5 years ago
Assuming that his claims of actually successfully reattaching the heads of mice are true, it is people like him that make breakthroughs in science. Set aside your emotions for a moment and just think about the implications of his progress.
Comment icon #13 Posted by ExpandMyMind 5 years ago
This is one way to combat obesity.
Comment icon #14 Posted by and then 4 years ago
I agree but this kind of research PALES in comparison to what is being done with genetic modifications.  I think that under the radar, human chimeras are being attempted.  Genetic alterations that would enhance muscle strength, vision, hearing by inserting animal or insect DNA.  If it's real, it is an abomination.


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