Did The Worlds First Human Head Transplant Really Happen
Medical science has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent decades: No argument there.
Some illnesses which used to be fatal are now either curable or at least manageable. Medical procedures which once seemed like a figment of a researchers imagination have become a reality thanks to scientific and technological breakthroughs.
Naturally, these advancements extend to the field of organ transplantation. Today, we live in a world where a heart or a kidney transplant is nothing unusual. Of course, these are all extremely complex procedures , but teams of surgeons in various parts of the world are performing transplants every day. Needless to say, further landmark developments in medical science are not a question of when, not if.
However, if the statements of one neurosurgeon transplants are to be believed, medical science is ready to take a quantum leap forward with a successful human head transplant in the near future. If true, this shocking claim would catapult transplants back into the spotlight and front and center in the world of medical science as stunning, perhaps, as the discovery of DNA or cloning of mammals. It would be hard to find a similar precedent in all of science. This would rank right up there with Darwins theory of evolution, Einsteins theory of relativity or the apple falling on Sir Isaac Newtons head.
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Bio-ethicists have accused the noggin exchange surgeon of being reckless. Transplant surgeons say nobody has been able to repair a spinal cord that has been cut clean through.
But Canavero insists he has developed a way to coax axons and neurons to grow across the gap between the two severed spinal cords using a special glue-like substance developed by a B.C. researcher.
I understand humans love the gory side of the surgery, but this is a medical procedure for a medical condition for people who are suffering awfully, Canavero said. So, its not a joke.
Removing A Healthy Head From A Body Without Hope
Were going to remove one head under deep hypothermia and reinstall it on a new body. Of course, we are talking about a head with a perfectly healthy brain, but with an alien body so a body without hope, Dr. Canavero told MNT.
Both the recipients head and donor body will be put into hypothermia mode for around 45 minutes in order to limit any neurological damage that may occur from oxygen deprivation.
The head will be removed from the donor body using an ultra-sharp blade in order to minimize spinal cord damage a process the Italian surgeon says is key for successful SCF.
Then comes the trickiest part: attaching the recipients head to the donor body, which involves the complex SCF process. In his original paper, Dr. Canavero explained that the chemicals polyethylene glycol or chitosan will be utilized to encourage the fusion, before the muscles and blood supply are sutured.
While many scientists have raised concerns about the feasibility of the SCF process, Dr. Canavero told MNT that he is not worried.
As far as SCF is concerned, with the data, were already there, he added. And what really accrued over the past 50 years, which has been lost incredibly up until now, will simply help us accelerate the process nothing more and nothing less.
After surgery, the recipient will be placed in a coma for 3-4 weeks. This is to ensure neck movement is avoided, allowing time for the new nerve connections to fuse together.
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Although Some Neurosurgeons Are Gung Ho About The Possibility Many Ethical Questions First Need To Be Addressed
On January 20th, 1968, neurosurgeon Dr Raymond Newcombe wrote a letter entitled Brain Transplantation? to the editor of the British Medical Journal.
Noting that the ethics of brain transplantation had been raised in Any Questions on BBC Radio 1, Newcombe sneered that it was ridiculous and rather irresponsible for anyone to promote discussion of the ethics of a brain transplant . . . as the possibility was an enduring figment of the imagination.
The extent to which brain and even head transplantation is an enduring figment of the imagination may be inferred from the fact that technical procedures and associated ethics are now discussed in the pages of respected medical journals. For example, in 2016, the European Journal of Neurosurgery described, The history of head transplantation: a review, and this year the journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicineconsidered the ethical and legal issues surrounding head transplantation.
However, a human brain/head transplant to a live recipient has not occurred.
Dog head transplant
Transplanting a head entails severing the spinal cord, constituting a major challenge, but an encouraging development came with the application of so-called fusogens polymers like polyethylene glycol that can fuse cell membranes together. For example, in 2004 when paraplegic dogs were treated with PEG three days after their spinal cord injuries, half of them were able to walk within a fortnight.
Body/mind and identity
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2021 Update : The worlds first human head transplant has been carried out on a corpse in China, according to Italian professor Sergio Canavero.
During an 18-hour operation, experts demonstrated that it is possible to successfully reconnect the spine, nerves, and blood vessels of a severed head.
A similar operation on a live human will take place imminently, the controversial professor claims.
Professor Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, made the announcement at a press conference in Vienna this morning.
The procedure was carried out by a team led by Dr Xiaoping Ren, who last year grafted a head onto the body of a monkey.
A full report of the Harbin Medical University teams procedure and a timeframe for the live transplant are expected within the next few days.
Speaking at the press conference, Professor Canavero said: For too long nature has dictated her rules to us.
'We're born, we grow, we age and we die. For millions of years.humans have evolved and 110 billion humans have died in the process.'That's genocide on a mass scale.'We have entered an age where we will take our destiny back in our hands.'It will change everything. It will change you at every level.'The first human head transplant, in the human mode, has been realised.'The surgery lasted 18 hours. The paper will be released in a few days.''Everyone said it was impossible, but the surgery was successful.'
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How Does Facial Transplant Work
Face Transplant: The Reality. Face transplants would work much like other organ transplants. The family of a deceased person would donate that person’s face to a needy patient. But after the transplant, the recipient would not look like the donor.
Secondly, how long does a facial transplant take? 12-36 hours
has a face transplant ever been done?
Face transplant. A face transplant is a medical procedure to replace all or part of a person’s face using tissue from a donor. The world’s first partial face transplant on a living human was carried out in France in 2005. The world’s first full face transplant was completed in Spain in 2010.
How many face transplants have been successful?
In total, 40 face transplants have been done around the world since the initial operation was performed in France in 2005. But a facial transplant has never been done twice on a single patient before.
First Successful Brain Transplant
Recently, French scientists at the University of Southern North Dakota Baltimore performed the first successful human brain transplant. Said the chief neurosurgeon, Dr. Cranial Head, MD, This is a breakthrough of unprecedented magnitude. Im ecstatic all our research and hard work finally paid off. We couldnt be more pleased with how things turned out.
The patient, who only agreed to be called Jose Ivanovich OMalley, III for anonymity reasons, suffered a massive anterior communicating arterial stroke that left him severely incapacitated. He was a veterinarian at a local clinic before his stroke. His family heard about the research Dr. Heads team was doing with rats and contacted him about the possibility of being his first human subject. Dr. Head agreed immediately, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to advance our research out of animals and into humans. Weve had great success recently with brain transplants in rats so it was only logical to start human trials.
This new brain transplant surgery is quite remarkable, said Dr. Head. My colleague, Dr. Sarah Wu, and I first came up with the idea 40 years ago while we were competing in a triathlon. It came out of the blue, really, neither of us are quite sure why we thought of it but here we are.
This message is messed up. I am doing a project for a school and actually needed info and tougt this would help but obviously not.
No. My post was satire. We cannot transplant brains.
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World’s First Head Transplant Volunteer Could Experience Something Worse Than Death
In April, 2015, 30-year-old Russian man, Valery Spiridonov, announced that he will become the subject of the first human head transplant ever performed, saying he would volunteer to have his head removed and installed on another person’s body.
If this sounds like some kind of sick joke, we’re right there with you, but unfortunately, this was – and still might be – all too real.
Earlier that year, Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero outlined the transplant technique he would intend to follow in the journal Surgical Neurology International, and said he planned to launch the project at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in the US in June, where he will invite other researchers to join him in his head transplant dream.
At the time, it sounded completely outlandish – and it still does today – but the difference was that Canavero actually found himself a living, breathing volunteer willing to be the guinea pig for what Christopher Hootan at The Independent predicted to be a 36-hour operation requiring the assistance of 150 doctors and nurses. You can read about the procedure here.
Hootan brought home what really would be at stake for Spiridonov – it’s not just death he’d have to worry about:
“I would not wish this on anyone,” said Dr Hunt Batjer, president elect 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.”
Still creepy. Stay tuned.
Transplant An Organ Why Not An Entire Body
On Dec. 23, 1954, a surgical team led by Joseph E. Murray of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston performed the first successful human organ transplant in history. The operation in which a kidney was removed from the body of a healthy male patient and implanted into that of his ailing twin brother was a milestone in the annals of modern medicine, an achievement that at the time seemed like something out of science fiction. But one of the young doctors witnessing the operation that day harbored dreams of an even more ambitious coup than Murrays. Robert J. White, a 28-year-old resident in general surgery at Brigham, didnt see why he should be content replacing individual organs when he could theoretically replace all the organs at once by transplanting a sick patients head onto an entirely different body. This notion, hardly less bizarre-sounding today than it was in 1954, would become the goal White aspired to for the rest of his life.
Even more intriguing, however, are the philosophical issues raised by Whites work, and Schillaces book is most fascinating when discussing how he did and didnt address them. Moving a brain and the consciousness that goes with it from one body to another brings up fundamental questions about our notions of the self, the definition of death and even the ethics of immortality. Could it really be okay, as Schillace pithily asks, to take off someones head?
Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher
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Questions Involving The Proper Allocation Of Resources
There are other reasons to be worried about head transplants. In the United States, we are suffering from a severe shortage of donated organs. The average wait time for transplant for a kidney is five years, a liver is 11 months, a pancreas is two years. One cadaver can donate two kidneys, as well as a heart, a liver, a pancreas, and perhaps other organs. To use it instead for a single head transplant with a slim chance of success is unethical.
Canavero estimates the cost of the first head transplant at $100 million. How much good could be done with such funds, dedicated to treatments and transplants that we know are effective?
When and if it becomes possible to reattach a severed spinal cord, surely that revolutionary advance should be targeted first on the many thousands of people who suffer from paralysis as a result of a cord severed or damaged by injury.
There are also unresolved legal questions. Who is the hybrid person, legally speaking? Is it legally the head or the body that is, is it me or you? The body is more than 80 percent of our mass, so by that measure, it is majority me, and it is possible its handwriting looks more like the body donors than the head donor. And who are legally its children, or its spouse?
If, as seems likely, the surgery results in someone who is paralyzed or otherwise severely impaired, who will assume the cost and responsibility of their long-term care?
Can Frontal Lobe Be Transplanted
Fetal frontal neocortex from 18-day-old rat embryonic brain was transplanted into cavities in 30-day-old host motor cortex. The results indicate that fetal frontal neocortex can be transplanted into damaged rat motor cortex. The metabolic rate of the transplants suggests they could be partially functional.
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If You Transplant A Human Head Does Its Consciousness Follow
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Brandy Schillace sometimes writes fiction, but her new book is not that. Schillace, a medical historian, promises that her Cold War-era tale of a surgeon, neuroscientist, and father of 10 obsessed with transplanting heads is true from start to finish.
Schillace came across the story behind her book, Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher, somewhat serendipitously: One day, her friend, Cleveland neurologist Michael DeGeorgia, called her to his office. He quietly slid a battered shoebox toward her, inviting her to open it. Schillace obliged, half-worried it might contain a brain. She pulled out a notebookperhaps from the 50s or 60s, she saysand started to leaf through it.
Theres all these strange little notes and stuff about mice and brains and brain slices, and these little flecks, Schillace says. I was like, What what are all these marks?
Probably blood, DeGeorgia told her. The blood-flecked notebook belonged to Robert White, a neurosurgeon who spent decades performing head transplants on monkeys, hoping to eventually use the procedure to give human brains new bodies.
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This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
White faced some backlash, of course. From whom?
These Successful Procedures Are Anything But
Many of Canaveros previous appearances in the media have been accompanied by claims of successfulhead transplant procedures. But, how are we defining successful here? Canaveros definition seems to be extremely generous at best.
For instance, he recently claimed to have successfully performed a head transplant on a monkey. But did he? While the monkey head did apparently survive the procedure, it never regained consciousness, it was only kept alive for 20 hours for ethical reasons and there was no attempt made at connecting the spinal cord, so even if the monkey had survived long-term it would have been paralysed for life. So, it was a successful procedure, if you consider paralysis, lack of consciousness and a lifespan of less than a day as indicators of success.
There was also his successful rat head transplant, which involved grafting a severed rat head onto a different rat, a living one that still had its head. Exactly how this counts as a transplant is anyones guess. Its adding a appendage onto an otherwise healthy subject.
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Using Crispr To Edit Out Blindness
The team took a major step forward last month with a paper showing the successful transplant of a rats eye into another rat, including joining the optic nerves. The organ was healthy and alive up to two years later. The next stage, with the DoD funding, is to regenerate the nerves to actually restore sight in rodents, primates, and, eventually, people.
The development of the rat model, by Kia, is a huge advancement in being able to conduct the complex science needed to successfully transplant a whole eye, said Rob Nickells, a collaborator with Washington who is a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at University of Wisconsin. I would confidently say that given success of the questions, she will be the first surgeon to accomplish this feat.
Who Would The Person That Emerges From Such A Surgery Really Be
Some say the odds of success are so low that an attempt at a head transplant would amount to murder. But even if it were feasible, even if we could put a head and a body together and have a living human being at the end, it is only the beginning of the ethical questions about the procedure and the hybrid life created.
If we transplanted your head onto my body, who would that resulting creature be? In the West, we tend to think that what is most essentially you your thoughts, memories, emotions reside entirely in your brain. Since the resulting hybrid has your brain, we take for granted that this person will be you.
But there are many reasons to worry that such a conclusion is premature.
First, our brains are constantly monitoring, responding to, and adapting to our bodies. An entirely new body would cause the brain to engage in a massive reorientation to all its new inputs, which could, over time, alter the fundamental nature and connective pathways of the brain .
Your brain would not be the same brain as it was when it was still attached to your body. We dont know exactly how that would change you, your sense of self, your memories, your connection to the world only that it will.
Nor do we fully understand the extent of the role of the ENS or microbiome in what makes us who we are. It may turn out that the head-body transplant may end up with as much of the personality of the body donor as the head donor.
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