Science & Technology
Head transplant surgeon now thinks brain transplants are feasible
By T.K. Randall
January 17, 2023 · 21 comments
Could a brain transplant really work ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Andrew Mason
Sergio Canavero made headline news a few years ago after planning to perform a head transplant on a disabled patient.
There can be few surgical procedures as horrific in concept as removing someone's head and then attaching it to another body, yet back in 2015, neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero made headline news after announcing plans to perform such a procedure on Valery Spiridonov - a Russian programmer who had been suffering from spinal muscular atrophy.
The endeavor attracted a huge amount of controversy and condemnation from the medical community, with most doctors arguing that such a procedure would be a "fate worse than death" for the patient.
While ultimately the surgery did not go ahead, Canavero never gave up on the idea and now, writing in a new paper, he maintains that the best solution to many of life's incurable ills (such as aging) might be to literally transplant the brain itself from one body to another.
Such a procedure would involve removing the brain from the skull with a "robotic scoop with retractable tines" and then placing it into the empty skull of a donor body.
The recipient would need to be immune-suppressed or, ideally, a clone of the donor's body.
If this all sounds a bit Frankenstein's monster then that's because it is - there's currently no possible way to conduct a procedure like this and it would be even more difficult than transplanting a head.
"A human head transplant was the intermediate step towards a brain transplant," Canavero wrote.
"Since the latter is considered impossible, I decided to focus on HT [head transplant], which is far simpler. However, although I can tell you HT works, unfortunately it does not rejuvenate aged head tissues, including the eyes. BT [Brain transplant] is the only option."
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