APR 24, 2015 1:14 PM PDT

Head transplant: man will be attached to new body in under an hour and aim is immortality, doctor says

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard
Surgeon Sergio Canavero has vowed to go to China is he is banned from doing it everywhere else, arguing that the transplant has ‘political meaning' - and some on the internet claim it might all be a marketing stuntThe Italian doctor who has claimed that he could transplant a man's head onto a donor's body has said that he could do much of the procedure in less than an hour.

The procedure - which Canavero has admitted is just a first step towards his ultimate aim of creating immortality - will see a man's head removed and placed on a donor's body.

That will see the man's head get cooled down - as it is when doctors operate on some parts of the brain - and switched onto the different body. Doctors will then have a few minutes to attach the blood vessels and the whole thing will take less then an hour, Canavero said.

After that, the full joining process could take up to 24 hours. Canavero said that it would be carried out by a team of doctors to ensure that none of them got tired, and that doctors and surgeons from around the world had enquired about joining that team.

Canavero said that he will explain the procedure in depth at a neurosurgeons' conference on June 12. "I'll prove it is totally possible to all the sceptics there," he told Mail Online.

The patient for Canavero's first attempt at the head transplant has already been chosen, and identified as Valeri Spidonov. He is a 30-year-old Russian man who has Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, which wastes away his muscles and means that his health is rapidly declining.

As well as casting doubt on the scientific likelihood of the procedure, doctors have said that if successful it could cause huge problems for Canavero. One expert warned that Spidonov could suffer something "a lot worse than death".

The doubt of those in Europe and Russia mean that Canavero could head to China to carry out the procedure, he said. Canavero also admits that it's possible he could be jailed for carrying out the procedure in an unfriendly country.

"I'm ready for that. I've been studying Chinese for a few years.

"You should understand that it's not simply a medical procedure. This surgery has a political meaning."

He likened the procedure to Russia and America's battle to be the first into space and to the moon, saying that the first company to host such a surgery will become a "leader".

The doctor needs $15 million to carry out the surgery, he says. While that's a lot, he compared the money to that paid to footballers.

"Do you love football? I hate it," he told Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. "Nonetheless, you have slackers who meaninglessly stroll around the pitch and are paid $20-30 million a year.

"I need $15 million. It's the price for happiness and health for a lot of people. But sponsors prefer spending money on healthy boneheads who can't kick a ball."

He said that he had received interest from tycoons and other super-rich people who were looking to use the surgery to prolong their lives. Admitting that the aim of the surgery is to allow people to eventually become immortal, he said that he has no problem with objections from churches and others.

Canavero's comments come as conspiracy theories circulate on the internet that the entire head transplant story could be a marketing stunt. Internet users have pointed out the similarities between Canavero and a character from the game Metal Gear Solid 5, and have claimed that the entire tale could have been created by the game's creator Hideo Kojima.

The conspiracy centres around a number of coincidences between Canavero's story and that of Metal Gear Solid. Canavero published an article about the surgery, which he was then calling "Gemini", as an article two days after the launch of Metal Gear Solid 5, which featured characters called Gemini that had cybernetic heads. There are a range of other unlikely coincidences, including special names and timings.

It's unlikely that Canavero's story is fake - he has published over 100 papers and carried out genuine medical procedures, as blog Kotaku noted in a post detailing the claims - but has brought extra attention to Canavero's claims.

[Source: independent.co.uk]
About the Author
You May Also Like
OCT 07, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Researchers Confirm Cerebral Palsy Has a Genetic Component
OCT 07, 2020
Researchers Confirm Cerebral Palsy Has a Genetic Component
Scientists have confirmed previous studies that have suggested that some cases of cerebral palsy are due to a genetic mu ...
OCT 09, 2020
Microbiology
Two Early Relatives of Rubella Are Discovered
OCT 09, 2020
Two Early Relatives of Rubella Are Discovered
Rubella is a contagious, airborne viral infection that can lead to rash, fever, and sore throat. It's especially dangero ...
OCT 13, 2020
Immunology
Why Halloween Is Extra Scary for Kids With Peanut Allergies
OCT 13, 2020
Why Halloween Is Extra Scary for Kids With Peanut Allergies
A recent study showed that there is an 85 percent spike in peanut allergy anaphylaxis cases on Halloween. The study, per ...
OCT 20, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Non-coding RNA As A Barometer For Liver Health
OCT 20, 2020
Non-coding RNA As A Barometer For Liver Health
October is liver cancer awareness month — a month dedicated to educating people about the risk factors and prevent ...
OCT 21, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Extracellular Vesicles Help Heart Cells Survive a Heart Attack
OCT 21, 2020
Extracellular Vesicles Help Heart Cells Survive a Heart Attack
During a heart attack, blood flow is blocked and cells lose oxygen and begin to die. Scientists are developing many new ...
OCT 25, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Revealing More About the Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma
OCT 25, 2020
Revealing More About the Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma
Ewing sarcoma is a rare kind of cancer that tends to impact young people and occurs in bones or the tissue around them. ...
Loading Comments...