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First human head transplant set for December 2017

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First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 18.09.15 19:44

First human head transplant set for December 2017

   
Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman's, has volunteered for the surgery. Credit: Reuters
The world's first human head transplant has been scheduled for December 2017.
Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman's, a muscle wasting disease which has left him in a wheelchair, has volunteered for the ground-breaking procedure.
It will performed in China by Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero and Xiao-Ping Ren, who has carried out 1,000 head transplants on mice.
The surgery is expected to take at least 36 hours and requires the patient's head and donor body to be cooled down to between 12C and 15C so cells survive longer without oxygen.
The tissue around the patient's neck and spinal cord is then cut and then fused on to the donor body.
Following the operation, Spiridonov will be put into a coma for a month and given drugs to stop his body rejecting the new head.
If successful, Canavero believes the patient would be able to speak in his own voice after waking and that walking could be possible within a year.

   
Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero will perform the procedure. Credit: Facebook
The procedure has prompted much controversy with many branding it unethical.
Experts have claimed it is not possible and that instead of being two years away from being successful, it is "more like 100 years".
No one has ever attempted a human head transplant before and attempts on animals have had limited success.
In 1970 Dr Robert White 'successfully' transplanted a head on a monkey but the spinal cord was not attached to its body and it died eight days later.
More recently, Chinese doctor Xiao-Ping Ren conducted head transplants on more than 1,000 mice - but none lived long afterwards.
Russian volunteer Spiridonov said the technology is "similar to the first man to walk in space."
"The operation is aimed at restoring independence to the severely disabled," he said.
"If it is successful, it will help thousands who are in an even more deplorable state than me in the future."

http://www.itv.com/news/2015-09-16/first-human-head-transplant-set-for-december-2017/
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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by aquila on 18.09.15 20:20

It's not pioneering. It's insane.
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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by Hobs on 18.09.15 22:24

Actually, shouldn't it really be called a body transplant?

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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by PeterMac on 18.09.15 22:25

Why is it not the first BODY transplant ?
ETA
Quicker off the mark !

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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by kinell on 19.09.15 6:16

@Hobs wrote:Actually, shouldn't it really be called a body transplant?
Where are they going to get a healthy body from? eh

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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by aquila on 19.09.15 6:31

@kinell wrote:
@Hobs wrote:Actually, shouldn't it really be called a body transplant?
Where are they going to get a healthy body from? eh
Dr Mengele found healthy bodies on which to experiment.

This world of ours is becoming increasingly insane.
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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by PeterMac on 19.09.15 8:00

@kinell wrote:
@Hobs wrote:Actually, shouldn't it really be called a body transplant?
Where are they going to get a healthy body from? eh

Motor cyclists are known in the medical profession A&E as "Organ donors."

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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by aquila on 19.09.15 8:02

@PeterMac wrote:
@kinell wrote:
@Hobs wrote:Actually, shouldn't it really be called a body transplant?
Where are they going to get a healthy body from? eh

Motor cyclists are known in the medical profession A&E  as "Organ donors."
Motor cyclists might be organ donors but just before they are granted that status they generally have bashed up bodies.
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Re: First human head transplant set for December 2017

Post by skyrocket on 19.09.15 9:43

Was reluctant to even open this as the topic is too close to a horror film scenario for me. I'm sure they performed this on a monkey a few years ago.

@PeterMac @aquila yes   Thanks for the reminder - just off on my weekend pillion ride!! Had one accident and numerous near misses - all caused by car drivers, most of whom have no concept of mirrors or how to use roundabouts safely (I do drive!).

Fascinating stuff in terms of the science but as far as I'm aware, reconnecting of severed spinal cords is only in its infancy. The big hope used to be T cells but nose nerve cells have been used recently in experiments as they are the only nerve cells in the body which regenerate. The volunteer is a very brave (and sadly, desperate) man.

Ethically - I actually can't see that it raises as many issues for debate as some other procedures. Is it a head transplant or a body donation? The head is the one receiving the benefit and therefore receiving the body is surely just the ultimate extension of receiving a donated kidney; heart; or more recently hands and feet, etc.

Morally - makes me feel uncomfortable, but I'm not the one with the medical problems of the volunteer.
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