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Science & Technology

Human head transplant by 2030, claims surgeon

By T.K. Randall
December 23, 2019 · Comment icon 14 comments

Is it really possible to transfer a head from one body to another ? Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Mason
A leading NHS neurosurgeon has claimed that a full human head transplant could happen within ten years.
If the very idea of transplanting the head of a live human being onto the body of a donor might seem as implausible as it is horrifying, then that's because - for the moment at least, it is.

A few years back, neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero sparked a great deal of controversy after making plans to transplant the head of Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov - who was suffering from a muscle-wasting condition called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease - onto a donor body.

While the procedure ultimately did not go ahead, the story brought the idea of human head transplantation into the mainstream.

But just how plausible is it to put one person's head on another person's body ?

According to leading NHS neurosurgeon Bruce Mathew, not only can it be done, but the very real possibility exists that such a procedure could be carried out for real within ten years.
While helping with the writing of a new science fiction novel, Mathew realized that the key to successfully performing such an operation would be to transplant the spinal cord along with the head.

"Initially our intention was to just brainstorm an idea and it seemed rather silly, but then I realized, it actually isn't," he told The Telegraph. "If you transplant the brain and keep the brain and spinal cord together it's actually not impossible."

"The spinal cord is the most profound thing imaginable. You need to keep the brain connected to the spinal cord. The idea that you cut the split the spinal cord is utterly ridiculous."

"The thought of keeping [the spinal cord] in one piece has always been totally daunting, but now with modern technology you can do most things."

Ensuring that the new body successfully integrates with the head and spine however could prove to be a major challenge.

"I mean there are huge problems, but it is possible," he said.

Source: Independent | Comments (14)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by moonman 4 years ago
They can't fix spinal injuries yet but they will be able to transplant an entire head in 10 years. Ok. It does say take the spinal cord with, but reattaching all those nerves would take forever.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Tom1200 4 years ago
They would only have do the top 10%, enough for the patient to move their arms.  Then it's up to you to tie up the rest and the faster you work, the sooner you walk again.   They will attach the heads on back-to-front to make it easier to operate on your own back.  It's a small price to pay for the opportunity to moonwalk again!
Comment icon #7 Posted by pokingjoker 4 years ago
This really isnt as farfetched as it may initially seem. With limited success they did it in 70s with animal testing. With science today, i mean didnt i just read about a guy who had such severe scholoosis that is head was face first in his thighs they broke his back and straightened him out. With vr technology quadriplegic patients are being able to move and limited walking with assistance.
Comment icon #8 Posted by khol 4 years ago
My god I can see it now...somebody help us      
Comment icon #9 Posted by Tatetopa 4 years ago
Sadly, it is too late to fulfill the Futurama scene of Nixon's head in a jar.
Comment icon #10 Posted by SD455GTO 4 years ago
Comment icon #11 Posted by freetoroam 4 years ago
Medics are on there way to you as I type. Get ready for your new jacket.
Comment icon #12 Posted by freetoroam 4 years ago
What is scary is there will be some nutty 'surgeons' doing experiments now. Wonder if they are using humans? How many put their ideas in practice behind closed doors? I reckon there are a few. They will always find a Guinea pig,m preferably a human one.  
Comment icon #13 Posted by Golden Duck 4 years ago
Yeah... Der Ubermorgen
Comment icon #14 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 4 years ago
Cyborg. Gorilla. Body.

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