Dr. Frankenstein lives: The reality of human head transplant

Coming to a clinic near you: A complete head transplant.
Photo: www.cbsnews.com

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2013 — Are you are tired of the way you look, the way you think, your emotions, your attitudes and just want a new, exciting adventure in your life? You may be in luck for the greatest surgery ever invented: A Human Head Transplant.

Introducing to the world, the real Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.

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This is not a brain transplant, mind you, where all you would get is new brains. No, this is a total head transplant. Knee, hip, head; the last frontier.

And if you get tired of your new head you may exchange it for another, more attractive, smarter and younger head to fit your body. You may even chose the gender, complexion, skin color. And brains! While you’re at it you should invest in a few more brains. Might cost you a little more but if you’re going for a total head transplant you might as well go all out and get the brains you really want.

Are you tired of looking at your spouse and oh, that glare? Put him or her on the head transplant list. Are your children ugly? Let’s transplant their heads, for goodness sakes, you should have better looking children. Pick out a new head and create a better prodigy, for crying out loud. You deserve this at least.

Now you will have to pay because this little procedure has not quite been perfected. Yet, in Italy a neuroscientist with the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group is saying he wants to perform this feat on humans. 

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Head transplanting has been done before. Monkeys, in the 1970’s. But in the June issue of open source journal Surgical Neurology International, Dr. Sergio Canavero discussed the old monkey head transplant experiment: “The monkey lived 8 days and was, by all accounts, normal, having suffered no complications.”

Canavero wants to resurrect head transplanting. Let’s open up the list. Shall we have a lottery because of the number of people who want this new procedure?

Canavero outlines the surgical method. First, the two bodies (and of course, heads) must be in the same operating room. The head that is to be transplanted must be cooled to between 54.6 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The lab doctors then have just one hour to remove both heads and reconnect the donor head to the circulatory system of the host body. Cardiac arrest must be induced during the procedure, and then the host heart will be restarted upon successful connection. If not successful, you have two dead bodies.

You thought there were guarantees.

No problem. We can do this.

The nerves must be tied together, donor and host, and if you get a clean cut you will in all probability have your spinal nerves intact but you still may be permanently paralyzed. Glueing nerve axons may be a new possibility.

Canavero cites advances in membrane-fusion substances such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) that will facilitate the successful spinal cord fusion. Okay, that’s better.

Are you still uneasy about this? According to Canavero, the donor and host spinal cords must be cleanly severed. Cleanly severed so the spinal cord of the host body and the donor head will be a more complete connection. The polyethylene glycol that will be used in the fusing process has been used to fuse the spinal cords of dogs and guinea pigs before.

Don’t worry, this has been researched in laboratory pets.

“It is this ‘clean cut’ which is the key to spinal cord fusion, in that it allows proximally severed axons to be ‘fused’ with their distal counterparts,” he states. 

Now what will really be a trip is if you want your head on someone’s body. You pick the it. Forget having a sex change, just change bodies. You want a muscular body? You want washboard abs? How about a body with a complete set of tattoos; let someone else go through all that pain. You’ll have such a marvelous experience in a new body. 

Either way, new brain or new body, this experience will be like no other. People will now literally live forever.

Estimated cost: $13 million.

But as popularity increases, success rates go up, litigation goes down, and the outlandish side effects become tolerable, this price is expected to come into an affordable range so that anyone, with the right insurance plan, can get the new head (or body) they deserve.

Head transplants. Just where will modern medicine go next?

Dr Peter Lind practices metabolic and neurologic chiropractic in his wellness clinic in Salem, Oregon. USA. He is the author of 3 books on health, one novel, and hundreds of wellness articles. His clinical specialty is in physical, nutritional, and emotional stress. 

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Peter Lind

Dr. Peter Lind has written five books about healthy lifestyle and specifically subjects such as food, diet, nutrition, exercise, and stress. He has written one thriller about agriculture genetic engineering that has been written into a screenplay. 

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