According to a recently published article, Sergio Canavera, an Italian neurosurgeon is preparing to undertake world’s first human head transplant in China later this year. Mr. Sergio Canavera gave a lengthy interview for a German magazine which runs under the improbable name Ooom, which makes us wonder if these guys are actually serious.
Joking aside, the experiment conducted by the Italian neurosurgeon also aims to bring back to life a cryogenically frozen brain, i.e. to thaw it, revive it and then transplant it into a so-called donor body right after his attempt at transplanting a human head.
And the hugely controversial procedure (the latter) is planned to become a reality within the next 3 years or so. According to various other scientists, Sergio Canavera’s plans are unorthodox to say the least, as the general consensus is that transplanting a human brain, not to mention reviving a frozen one is completely unrealistic and disconnected from reality, as modern medicine is pretty far from achieving that, i.e. we don’t have the technology, the know how and all that jazz.
The same Italian neurosurgeon made headlines a couple of years ago by stating that a head transplant is currently possible, as in within the realms of current medical technology. He even found a volunteer, a Russian man suffering from chronic muscular atrophy, but the project never took off. However, Sergio Canavera proved that his plan is feasible by publishing some of his controversial experiments back in 2016, claiming that he managed to have repaired injured spinal cords of dogs, rats and mice. He also claimed to have transplanted a monkey head, but he did not publish the data regarding his experiment.
Medical ethicists dubbed Canavera’s experiments as gruesome and the man himself of being out of his mind, literally, yet the Italian neurosurgeon seems to be carrying on with his theories and experiments, even if currently we don’t have the technology for repairing/reattaching/restoring function of thousands of delicate nerves, nor to revive/molecularly repair a cryo-frozen human brain.
While this guy does seem to have a few screws loose, I don’t really have a problem with the concept of a head transplant as a way of saving a life.
I think the real question is, “Should we do it?”, not “Can we do it?” considering the ethical issues involved. However, we are morbidly curious to see how this turns out.