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Science & Technology

Head transplant surgeon now thinks brain transplants are feasible

By T.K. Randall
January 17, 2023 · Comment icon 21 comments

The human brain visible through a man's head.
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."

Source: Unilad | Comments (21)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Desertrat56 5 months ago
My memory is so bad I didn't remember posting (when I remembered the book).   I guess I need a vacation.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Will_Fear_No_Evil
Comment icon #13 Posted by SHaYap 5 months ago
When a medical practitioner uses a word like "feasible" ... ~    
Comment icon #14 Posted by DarkHunter 5 months ago
This was largely known to be feasible since the 1970s.  I cant remember when, I think the 40s or 50s, that a head can be kept alive indefinitely as long as oxinated blood is supplied to it when a Russian doctor severed the head from a dog and kept it alive till the pump supplying oxinated blood was turned off. In the 1970s an American doctor successfully did a head transplant on monkeys but the monkeys were completely paralyzed from the neck down, could only breath with the help of a machine, and they did die 8 days after the operation as the body's immune system rejected the new head. The ma... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Desertrat56 5 months ago
The whole idea just seems stupid to me, why not waste time (as opposed to wasting time trying to transplant a head) on transferring a consciousness into a clone.   Then you get a new body and brain with the memories in tact (yeah, if consciousness resided in the brain that is).
Comment icon #16 Posted by XenoFish 5 months ago
I'd rather the effort be put into a functional cyborg. Why put a brain in an organic body, when one of steel would be more effecient. Plus I honestly think that will be the only way humans will every be able to explore the universe. Also, the consciousness transferred to the clone would be a copy. Not the original consciousness. I think we've had a few threads on that very subject.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Desertrat56 5 months ago
With a viable clone you would have to accept that even though the DNA is a copy, the person that is that clone is not and you could only add the memories of the person you clone if someone figured out how to download memories to a computer or another person.   That is the trickiest part, which is why I used the term "waste time".    Even if you could take a brain and move it to a cyborg body how would you get the nervous system to work, it seems like there has been more successful experiementation with that adding computer chips to help people with spinal injuries etc.   Even the coclia im... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by XenoFish 5 months ago
You answered your own question. This discussion is nothing new to me. 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Desertrat56 5 months ago
I didn't really have a question, I was expressing exasperation with people wasting time on things that are  not viable when we already have what you call cyborg (and based on science fiction that is the right term).   We do already have lots of experiements with that kind of solution.  Just not to the extent that we can put a brain in a robot body yet.
Comment icon #20 Posted by XenoFish 5 months ago
I am fully aware of that. Nevermind, carry on.
Comment icon #21 Posted by openozy 5 months ago
How about putting funds into health care instead of this Frankenstein rubbish, it's like a horror movie.

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