According to an Italian surgeon, the first human head transplant could be attached to a donor body in as soon as two years.
Dr. Sergio Canavero has worked diligently on mapping out the process to transplant a human head onto another body, believing that he has the process figured out. Currently, he is working out the final logistics and planning ahead to assemble a team of qualified professionals who can assist in the procedure. If his plans pan out, the team could be assembled in as early as June, and together they would work to finalize the process.
Time Magazine shared that Dr. Sergio Canavero knows the technology for the first human head transplant is not currently available, but he believes it is not far off. By mapping out the entire procedure, it may be possible to identify the technologies that are needed for such an intricate surgery and assist in their developments. However, even if the technology becomes available, Dr. Canavero realizes that there may be ethical concerns regarding completing a human head transplant, and he is willing to hold off on a procedure until it is vetted for its ethical applications.
“If society doesn’t want it, I won’t do it. But if people don’t want it, in the U.S. or Europe, that doesn’t mean it won’t be done somewhere else. I’m trying to go about this the right way, but before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you.”
Although Dr. Canavero believes he has managed to define the intricate measures needed to perform the first human head transplant, he is not the first to attempt a head transplant. The first is arguably Vladimir Demikhov, who was able to successfully transplant a dog’s head onto the body of another dog. A monkey was also used as a test subject in 1970, according to CNET, in a surgery conducted by Dr. Robert White. Sadly, the monkey was not able to control the new body, and it died after only nine days.
The video below shows Demikhov’s results. Please advise, the content may be disturbing to some viewers.
Despite the ethical issues surrounding a human head transplant, there are practical use cases that may lead to the desire for the surgery. Cases such as soldiers that have lost limbs and have had their bodies mangled in war. However, there are also potential issues in regards to who the donor of the body may be.
What are your thoughts regarding a possible human head transplant? Would it be ethical, or are you against it?
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]