Human head transplant still moving forward

Human head transplant still moving forward

The controversial surgical procedure is set to take place at a facility in China as early as next year.

The surgeon who will be performing the procedure, Dr Sergio Canavero, maintains that, despite limited success during animal testing, transplanting someone’s head on to a new body is not only possible but could offer patients with debilitating illnesses a whole new lease of life.

The patient in this case will be 30-year-old Valery Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist who suffers from a genetic muscle-wasting condition called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease.

In what would undoubtedly be one of the most daring operations in history, Dr Canavero and his team of 150 doctors plan to completely remove Spiridonov’s head and attach it to a donor body.

The procedure, which has been dubbed HEAVEN (“head anastomosis venture”), will take upwards of 36 hours to complete with no guarantee of success. There is also the matter of reconnecting the spinal cord, a procedure which Dr Canavero refers to as “GEMINI”.

“Scientists everywhere now have hard proof of the viability of the Gemini Heaven protocol and I am sure that Russian surgeons will be interested in joining their Chinese colleagues’ effort[s],” he said.

Not everyone however is optimistic about the chance of everything going according to plan.

“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.”

David Aragorn

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