Human head transplants are now possible? A Russian suffering from a rare muscle atrophy condition might be the first human in history to undergo a head transplant. If things are going as planned, the Russian man will undergo a head transplant in 2017 which will be attached to a new body.
Valery Spiridinov, a 30 years old Russian men, who suffers from a rare disease,called the Werdnig Hoffman which causes his muscles to atrophy wants to have his head transplanted to another body. Spiridinov admitted that he is running out of time, and that he has reached the age of 30 which is a miracle for people suffering from his condition who usually dont get to live more than 20 years.
The 30 year old stated that he is not worried and that someone has to be the first human to try this revolutionary new procedure and added that even the first man going in outer space was afraid, but fear shouldn’t keep people from anything, and somethings have to be done.
A head transplant is something that medical experts see it as possible and the first will be done in two years, but until then, doctors have to find the necessary money and experts for it, explained the chief of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group from Italy, doctor Sergio Canavero.
Spiridinov and Cavanero haven’t met face to face and have only discussed about the future procedure on Skype. This procedure requires more than just one doctor, and Canavero would need by his side a serious group of academics which is why he is aiming for the United States.
He is planning to present his project this summer, in front of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons, during the annual conference from June. This is what he hopes will get him all the permissions for him to perform the first human head transplant.
This would be a first breaktrough in human head transplants but in the past, scientists have replaced the head of a monkey.
In 1970 a group of medical experts lead by Robert White, from the Case Reserve University School of Medicine from Cleveland, have transplanted the body of a monkey into the body of a different monkey.
But, scientists didn’t attach the spinal cords, meaning that the monkey was unable to move its body, however it could breathe assisted artificially.The body of the monkey refused the new head and in just nine days the monkey passed away. Ever since, there haven’t been carried out many head transplants but the medical procedures have highly evolved, and doctor Canavero strongly believes that the procedure can be done on humans.
He explained in his notes that the procedure basically relies on removing the head of the patient from its body trough a surgical procedure and reattaching it to another living body, given by a donor. What is crucial about this, is to attach the spinal cords together and doctors have stated that exists out there a substance that can help them achieve that.
According to Canavero, there is a chemical mixture of polyethylene glycol, that has the ability to glue nerve tissue.This process has to be accompanied by an after treatment with electrical muscle stimulation that would promote the flow of signals transmitted between the brain and the body.
Doctor Canavero has added that a procedure of this extent would last up to 36 hours and he would need 150 people to complete the procedure. The cost of the entire surgery would be of $11 million, money he is trying to raise.
The Russian man, has his hopes up, that if the procedure will be a success, many other people suffering from even worse conditions that his, will receive help and might be saved.
Canavero talked about the incredible procedure in February, in the journal Surgical Neurology International.
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