What Do You Know About The World’s First Human Head Transplant?


According to the foreign media report on November 23, the first case of human head transplant surgery will be implemented in the UK next year. If successful, this project will be able to save those patients who are paralyzed from the neck downwards. It also claims that these patients will, eventually, be able to walk normally.


Neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero will carry out the first case of head transplant in human history. This bold idea will be implemented in the UK next year. He says that the operation can help paralyzed people who might be suffering from partial to complete limb paralysis. They might, in due course, be treated of their paralysis.


Sergio Canavero admits that the UK is the best choice for the project. Before surgery the patient will experience “the new physical life” through the VR system. The latter was made public in Glasgow last week. Part of the reason for choosing the UK as a site of implementation was the high rate of support in the UK. Speaking of the VR system unveiled in Glasgow, Sergio Canavero said he has received support from many countries outside Europe and the United States.


Valery Spiridonov, a Russian paralyzed patient, volunteered to be the first patient to do this surgery. His head would be frozen to prevent brain cell death. During this time, there will be proper life support systems assuring survival of the patient. During this time his spinal cord will be cut down and sutured to the donor. Spinal cord cutting is an extremely sophisticated and delicate operation. Any mistake can lead to nerve damage and be fatal. In this regard, Farid Amirouche from the University of Illinois in the United States of America has developed a knife that can section as small as 1 micron (10,000th of a meter).


If the operation is successful, the patient will be in the process of adapting to the new body, resulting in “unpredictable psychological reaction.” Therefore, a new VR system developed by Inventum Bioengineering Technologies in Chicago will be used to help patients simulate and experience the new body a few months before surgery.


Valery Spiridonov, a computer scientist, said he clearly understood that the VR system was an essential core technology for the HEAVEN project (head-splice test). Dr. Sergio Canavero, also say that the VR system can help patients to adapt to living with their new body after surgery.


Previously, Dr. Canavero’s team successfully performed a spinal cord splinting operation on a dog. The highly-paralyzed dog recovered its health in three weeks and the results showed that the program can also be implemented on humans. However, some from the scientific community are questioning the feasibility of such a project on humans.

In September, Sergio Canavero plans to carry out the “Frankenstein test”, the recovery of human corpses, designed to test the possibility of head spinal cord transplantation. Specifically, it involves the stimulation of the nervous system of fresh cadavers with electrical impulses. He said that the first case of the operation will not be implemented on Valery Spiridonov but on a donor that was declared brain dead. Now if the transplant is proven to be feasible, then it will be applied to human trials.

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In any case, the “Frankenstein test” will lead to many moral questions, which can delay its development.

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The first case of human head transplantation will be implemented in the UK next year. If successful, this project will be able to help the high-paralyzed patients back to normal walk. (Global Technology Report)

For more information: What Do You Know About The World’s First Human Head Transplant?


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