Italians Can Give You Head

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Asmodeus, Apr 10, 2015.

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  1. Earlier this year, an Italian surgeon announced that he’ll be attempting the world’s first human head transplant, that despite the hurdles, a human head may actually be attached onto another person’s body in two years. This week, a donor was introduced, but according to at least one expert, this man might be facing something that’s “worse than death.”

    It started in 2013, when Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group proposed the idea of using surgery to extend the lives of people with degenerated muscles and nerves or cancer-permeated organs, New Scientist reports. Canavero summarized the 36-hour procedure he plans to follow in Surgical Neurology International in February of this year. He also plans to launch the project at the annual American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in Maryland this June. He’ll need a staff of 150 doctors and nurses.

    Is it actually possible to fuse two spinal cords and stop the recipient’s body from rejecting the new head? Last century attempts with dogs and monkeys resulted in animals who survived for a few days, though a more recent mouse head transplant showed that it was basically possible. "I think we are now at a point when the technical aspects are all feasible," Canavero says.

    After cooling the donor’s body and the recipient’s head, neck tissue is dissected, blood vessels are linked with tubes, and the spinal cords are cleanly severed, New Scientist explains. With the new head on the body, the ends of the spinal cords are fused together using a chemical that prompts fat in cell membranes to connect. Muscles and blood vessels will be sutured, and the patient will be kept comatose as electrodes stimulate the spinal cord. He calls it HEAVEN, for head anastomosis venture (anastomosis is the surgical connection of two parts).

    This week, a volunteer was announced: 30-year-old Valery Spiridonov of Vladimir, Russia, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Werdnig-Hoffman muscle wasting disease. He wants the chance at a new body before he dies. “Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am. But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting,” Spiridonov tells Daily Mail. “You have to understand that I don't really have many choices... If I don't try this chance my fate will be very sad. With every year my state is getting worse.”

    But according to Hunt Batjer of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, even if the airway, spine, and major veins and arteries are put together, the spinal cord will be the real problem. "I would not wish this on anyone,” Batjer tells CNN. “I would not allow anyone to do it to me, there are a lot of things worse than death." For starters, the patient might not be able to move or breathe. And Arthur Caplan of New York University thinks Canavero is nuts. "Their bodies would end up being overwhelmed with different pathways and chemistry than they are used to and they'd go crazy,” he tells CNN. Also, the high levels of anti-rejection meds will poison the body, and who knows if the recipients will fully gain the function of their new parts. "It's not like you can unscrew your head and put it on someone else," Caplan adds.

    Still, Canavero insists, “we can already do this.”
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  2. [​IMG]
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  3. They're gonna combine?!
  4. The manliest of gattai.

    On a serious note, I hope the guy ends up alright.
  5. No.
  6. Did someone just say... combine?

  7. [​IMG]

    What the fuck? This is something I'd expect to find in an old Doctor Who episode, not real life. I wasn't even aware that medical science had reached a point where we could even start to think of such a thing as being possible.

    This is... Hmmm. Not sure how to feel about this.
  8. Can we have a link to the article?
  9. [​IMG]
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  10. [​IMG]

    #12 Insidious Joe, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2015
  11. What if you wake up, and you feeling like you're drowning, suffocating, and dying, yet you don't because your surrogate body breathes and keeps pumping blood?
  12. Assuming this can be done?
    Very interesting, but the lack of sources makes me very skeptical.

    Plus, even if we did have sources this is only 'somewhat' successful with mice atm.
    Assuming it was all valid, we are no where near 2 years towards being able to perform this on people.
    ... Ok, wow.
    I went into that totally under the "Data Theory" approach, and now I'm coming out having absolutely no idea. XD

    Though in regards to how it relates to this case specifically?
    I think it would still be him. The old body with the muscle issues would be discarded, possessing a lack of life.

    It matches Body Theory because the only animated part of his body left would be the head. There is no separately animated torso.
    Brain Theory matches because he keeps the entirety of his brain.
    Like wise Data Theory matches because he keeps the entirety of his memories.
    And Continuity also matches because it's not a 100% change, his head and brain are still present and accounted for.
  13. Cool. One day I might be able to walk into a store and simply pick myself a new body if I get bored of the last one.
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  14. Huh, interesting. I'm quite curious to see how this works out, if it actually happens. There are so damned many things that could go wrong with the surgery, then the high possibility of transplant rejection and so on, but, well, if it does work... Neat.
    Here's one I found by just throwing the doctor's name in a Google search, but I don't think this is the one Asmodeus was using. There are plenty more out there if you do a little leg work yourself. Also here's a TED Talk he did about it, although it cuts off abruptly so I dunno how much is missing from the end.
  15. AAAAAGH!!!

    *falls over, clutching his chest, panting for breath*

    I FORGOT....

    *face reddens*

    .... MY...

    *jaw stretches wide in agony*


    *spasms as his bowels void*

    This is going to happen. A year from now. The technology exists.
  16. The details of how the operation is supposed to go are interesting, especially the bit about the chemical that "prompts fat in cell membranes to connect" to fuse the spinal cords.

    One worries the dramatically-named HEAVEN will prove a little bit more like Hell, though, if not the surgery's aftermath. =\ Rejection does seem like an insanely likely outcome.

    As for the 'Theseus ship' argument someone (sort of) made, well... a person's cells change regularly, as do our own outlooks and viewpoints. None of us keep 'what makes us us' beyond, say, social constructs, which can also be changed. So long as the body wasn't, y'know, found on the sly, it shouldn't be functionally any different from getting an organ transplant.
  17. It takes a lot more successful testing than that to warrant doing it with people.
    Testing that cannot be done within only 1 year time.
  18. Considering the risk involved, I would not even think about it. The brain is a funny thing, and we're nowhere close to learning how it operates completely. Messing with the nervous system at all makes me cringe. Aside from that, the fact that there are still people whose bodies reject transplanted organs....

    I think there's some things medicine should not touch until they're at least 99% sure it would work, and this would be at the top of the list. If it fails, that poor man will wake up with a conscious mind, but unable to do anything at all except maybe talk and even that is questionable. He'd essentially be trapped in a useless body that wasn't even his. That in itself sounds like a horror novel.
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