Valery Spiridonov suffers from a rare medical condition that makes his muscles waste away over time. The fatal disease has left him bound to a wheelchair approaching death. Therefore, Spiridonov has volunteered to be the first human patient in a controversial procedure pioneered by a doctor that many call a modern day Dr. Frankenstein that some call a head transplant or full body transplant. The procedure would involve cutting off Spiridonov’s head and placing it on a healthy donor body. The surgery could take place as early as next year.
The Daily Mail reports that Spiridonov volunteered to be a test subject for the procedure as he sees no other option. He says if he does not go through with the full body transplant he will die. Therefore, he says, “My decision is final and I do not plan to change my mind.’ So what exactly does the procedure involve and is it even possible?
Controversial Italian scientist Sergio Canavero says that the technology is available to successfully complete a full body transplant. He just needs a country with the medical capabilities that would allow the procedure to take place. Therefore, Russia, which is the home of Spiridonov, seemed a likely candidate. Canavero points out that the procedure performed nearly 40 years ago on a monkey which lived for a few days after the surgery. Canavero says despite the monkey’s death, the surgery showed promise as the doctor did not have the medical technology available today. He also notes that full body transplants have been successfully performed on mice.
However, not everyone agrees that this procedure should be done. As the Inquisitr previously reported, scientists who are opposed to the full body transplant call the procedure “grotesque” and bring up moral objection to experimenting in such a way on the human body. Others claim there are too many risks. Dr Stephen Rose, director of brain and behavioral research at the Open University, calls the whole idea “mad.”
“This is medical technology run completely mad and out of all proportion to what’s needed. It’s entirely misleading to suggest that a head transplant or a brain transplant is actually really still connected in anything except in terms of blood stream to the body to which it has been transplanted.”
Despite Rose’s criticism of the head only being connected to a blood stream, Canavero claims that simply isn’t true as there is a spinal fusion protocol that would be used to re-attach the head to the spine and nervous system. Even if the procedure is possible, many question the ethical base for such an extreme surgery.
What do you think? Should full body transplants be used to help those who are dying of degenerative muscle diseases or are they unethical?