Would you still be you after a head transplant? A head transplant is a surgical operation involving two organisms one as the recipient and one as a donor.
In the year 2015, Dr. Canavero announced that he would perform a head transplant on a living human. He performed a head transplant on a corpse before.
“Head transplants are fake news. Those who promote such claims and who would subject any human being to unproven cruel surgery merit not headlines but only contempt and condemnation.”Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist,
Although it is never done practically, head transplant is theoretically, a person with organ failure could be given to functional body while keeping their own personality, memories, and consciousness.
History of Head Transplants
In 1954, Vladimir Demikhov a Soviet Surgeon transplanted a puppy’s head onto the other dog. The effort was focused on how to provide blood supply to the donor’s head and the underbody and not on grafting the nervous systems
The dogs only survived a few days, another dog survived for 29 days, dogs died due to transplant rejection.
In 1965, Robert J.White attempted to graft only the vascular system of an isolated dog onto existing dogs, but the animals died between 6 hours and 3 days.
People started calling White’s house asking for Dr. Butcher and he became a target of protestors. Dr. White was also compared to Dr. Frankenstein when White testified on a civil hearing.
In 1970, a monkey only lived 9 days after the transplant, until its immune system rejected the head. The monkey was unable to breathe on its own, the transplant was performed by American surgeon Robert Joseph White in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1999, China claimed that they succeded in transplanting the head of one dog onto the body of another dog, not once but twice.
A head transplant on rats was conducted in 2002. A similar transplant was performed on a mouse in 2017.
First-ever head transplant
Absolutely confident, 100% confident – Dr. Canavero, when asked about how confident he is of the head transplant.
After performing surgery on a corpse, Dr. Canavero was set to perform the surgery on a living being. The next stage of the transplant would involve living donors who are brain dead.
He found the volunteer who was a 30-year-old Russian man Valery Spiridonov.
Since his childhood, Valery has lived with a rare muscle-wasting disease that has paralyzed him.
You can’t walk, ah you can’t pretty much do anything by yourself and you have to ask people to help you for example I have people to help me every day to get to the bed, had to go to the bathroom etc. so it’s pretty hard and pretty depressing.Valery in an interview with Saturday Night .
With the condition, Valery is among the 10 percent who survived the adulthood rest die within the first few years of their life.
The head transplant is still considered to be impossible but similarly, a heart transplant was considered impossible but with the advancements in technology, it is possible everywhere.
The process would require the body to be cooled at 10 degrees and Valery will be decapitated voluntarily followed by an 80-hour surgery and then 3 months in the comma.
According to Dr. Canavero, the grafting of the head from one body to another would take only a little amount of time such as 5-10 seconds.
During the surgery, Dr. Canavero will be joined by a team of up to 30 doctors. Once the donor will be declared brain dead the recipient is prepped for the operation and the surgeons take control later.
The surgery would take place with tow Gurney’s aligned very close to each other and two surgical crews will work in the illness of the head. The head will be transacted layer by layer by sparing the vocals and then one head is transferred to another body as told by Dr. Canavero
Fusing the spinal cords.
The greatest hurdle of all is how to restore the connection to the spinal cord. The fusion of spinal cords, the challenge arrives when attaching the head and body.
Dr. Canavero had it all planned, The chemical Polyethylene glycol or peg had incredible ability to repair and delicate cell membranes allowing the patient’s head to control the new body. Canavero, however, had no evidence of it working on humans
When asked about his motivation for doing this he said that “the time he saw Valery he was speechless and didn’t know what to say and was pissed and thought that this is a guy we could really help and we are letting him down”.
Without the connections, the brain would have no control over the body, and there is no such evidence that any idea worked in the past.
Was the First-ever head transplant successful?
The volunteer for the first-ever head transplant surgery changed his mind. Valey fell in love with Anastasia Panfilova and they later married. Valery and Anastasia are proud parents of their baby son.
Valery said the main reason behind him denying the dangerous operation that he can’t leave her and their baby alone.
Valery told Good Morning Britain: I (am) with a woman who I fell in love with I’m happy to say I’m married and have a beautiful kid now.
I cannot leave them without my attention even for a few monthsValery Spiridono
There has been no success till now and the popular opinion about Canavero’s plan for Head Transplant had generally been negative while a minor believed that Dr. Canavero can successfully conduct the procedure.
Would you still be you? How would you feel and how would you understand the body? If the head transplant is successful then how long until we can put a human head inside a robot body?