Image source: Businessinsider
If you think “Frankenstein” was merely a fictional character of Mary Shelley more than two hundred year back, then pause, and think again. In the world of science, nothing is impossible and if science wins then who knows you might see “head transplant” a reality.
The neurosurgeon who is on the verge of carrying out first human head transplant experiment is Dr Sergio Canavero. He is relentlessly trying to do something which the world perceives to be unethical, surreal and impractical. In fact, the experiment could take place anytime this year.
If he succeeds no matter how much controversial the world claims this HEAVEN (Head Anastomosis Venture) project to be – it can be life-giving for the neck-paralysed people to again return to normal life. One of the wheelchair users Valery Spiridonov, hailing from Russia, is ready to volunteer himself for this project.
The experiment will observe how a brain will be frozen to prevent brain cells from dying and then tubes would be attached to support veins and nerves. The spinal cord will be cut and repaired and then again stitched to the skin of the donor body.
The Chicago-based Inventum Bioengineering Technologies (firm) has created a VR system that would help the patients prepare for the psychological reactions that they may encounter after a head transplant.
Inventum chief executive Alexander Pavlovick stated to media, ‘In preparing the patient of Heaven (Head Anastomosis Venture) to transition into a new body, virtual reality training will be used before the surgical procedure to prevent the occurrence of unexpected psychological reactions. We are combining the latest advancements in virtual reality to develop the world’s first protocol for preparing the patient for bodily freedom after the transplantation procedure.’
First Human Head Transplant in 2017
The sharpest knife will be used to cut the spinal cord to a millionth of meter size during the process. Then it will be again repaired before using electrical stimulation to functionalise the nerves. It can even bring movement in a fresh dead body too with electrical tests as it stimulates the entire nervous system.
In fact, Dr Canavero and his friends have carried similar experiment in dogs which stood semi-success. A neck-paralysed dog was about to walk free and wag its tail post this experiment. However, critics argued that even if the experiment was semi-successful in animals, there is no guarantee of its success in humans.
The Expected Procedure of Head Transplant
A new person would need a transplant donor – already declared brain dead.
Heads of both the patient and his donor would be cut simultaneously.
Patient’s head will be affixed to the brain-dead donor using Polythylene gylcol.
It will be injected between the two ends for a clean fusion.
The patient will be put in a coma to recover properly while his muscles and blood supply get stitched.
When patient will come out of medically-induced coma, it is expected that he will be able to behave normally.
Warning: An Armageddon in the Waiting?
The majority of the medical experts feel that such experiments would be futile in case of humans. All of them have echoed that such a surgery will result in sure death. In fact, many feel that “Head transplant” could be actually worse than death – it may bring the horrific scenes of half-dead people like Zombies walking down the streets to real.
The latest news said that the project code named “Heaven” (Head Anastomosis Venture) will be postponed due to non-availability of volunteers. The Russian man Valery Spiridonov might backtrack since his girlfriend is not agreeing to his participation in volunteering with the HEAVEN project.