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A couple of months in the past, the primary human head transplant was scheduled for December 2017. Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero, who will carry out the surgical procedure, made his preliminary proposals in 2016.
The proposed affected person, Valery Spiridonov, 31, who suffers from a Werdnig-Hoffmann illness, would not be participating within the experiment. He pulled out as a result of docs are usually not certain whether or not the surgical procedure would assist him stroll once more. He has a genetic illness that breaks down muscle tissues and kills nerve cells within the spinal twine and mind. At current, there isn’t a remedy for this illness.
In the meantime, Dr. Sergio Canavero has signed up Chinese surgeon Xiaoping Ren from Harbin Medical University to assist him carry out the surgical procedure. Also, he could be searching for a Chinese volunteer in April, and naturally, all these items would delay the process. Now the transplant surgical procedure isn’t anticipated to be carried out till mid 2018.
But how possible is a head transplant surgical procedure? It feels like a science fiction but it surely does have a foundation in present scientific pondering.
What Exactly Is Head Transplant?
In easy language – it’s a technique of taking one human head and placing it onto a brand new physique.
Technically, the title is kind of deceptive. It is definitely a ‘body transplant’, because the physique is being donated for the top. After the surgical procedure, it’s the physique that will get new establish not the top or mind. However, the time period ‘body transplant’ is used to imply transferring the mind between our bodies. The time period ‘head transplant’ makes it fairly clear that the whole human head is to be transferred, together with mind.
The process entails many dangers and uncertainties. Is it doable to efficiently reconnect the spinal twine with out there know-how and medication? Will physique reject the brand new head, or vice versa?
Controlling the immune system to keep away from physique/head rejection is without doubt one of the greatest challenges. The mind relies on common blood circulation to supply oxygen, vitamins and eradicate waste merchandise – it’s going to require strenuous efforts to handle all these at regular temperatures when blood circulation is lower off.
Also, controlling the nervous system in each head and physique is important, in several methods. It is liable for some fundamental capabilities, like coronary heart beating and respiration, ruled by the mind stem. The danger of systematic neuropathic ache is extraordinarily excessive, and it’s nonetheless unaddressed in research.
Previous Attempts On Animals
Dr. Xiaoping Ren has finished any such surgical procedure in 1,000 distinction mice. After 10-hour operation, they had been capable of see, breathe and drink. Sadly, none of them lived for various minutes.
However, the primary profitable try was made in 1970, when Dr. Robert White at Case Western Reserve, transferred a head of Rhesus macaque monkey to a brand new physique. The monkey survived for 9 days earlier than the head lastly rejected the completely different physique. Monkey’s physique was paralyzed as spinal twine couldn’t be reconnected.
Both neurosurgeons will spend the upcoming few months prepping for the grueling 36-hour operation. Sergio’s approach entails utilization of polyethylene glycol – a compound for fusing fatty cell membranes. Xiaoping can be testing this technique in monkeys and mice by the top of this 12 months.
According to Dr. Sergio Canavero, after all blood provides and muscle tissues are efficiently reconnected, the affected person could be stored in coma for one month, with the intention to restrict actions of newly joined neck, whereas electrodes stimulate the spinal cords.
After coma, the affected person would be capable of really feel his face, transfer and converse with the identical voice instantly. Canavero believes that with physiotherapy, affected person would be capable of stroll inside a 12 months.
Read: 35+ Weird and Interesting Facts About Human Brain
Many docs and consultants don’t favor this surgical procedure, describing it as inconceivable and outlandish. Although probabilities of surviving such a posh surgical procedure are extraordinarily low, it may assist handicaps with critical genetic illness to stroll once more.