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Scientists Want to Transplant a Human Head, Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea

A group of scientists are planning to perform a human head transplant at the end of 2017. But is their plan scientifically feasible? Sergio Canavero, a neurosurgeon of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, is planning to perform the first-ever head transplant in December 2017.

image credit: Seeker

Dr. Canavero is seeking funds to perform a head transplant to 31-year-old Russian patient Valery Spriridonov, who has a genetic muscle-wasting disease.The Italian doctor predicts that there is a “90 percent plus” chance of success, but other doctors are not so optimistic.

image credit: BBC

In fact, many others have criticized the procedure as ‘ethically questionable’ and ‘bad science’, reported the Chicago Tribune.Also dubbed Dr. Frankenstein, Canavero had first proposed the idea of transplanting a head onto someone else’s body in 2013.


Animal experiments in the 1970s in America saw Robert White transplant heads on monkeys, but he was unable to restore spinal function and the monkey who received the transplant died 9 days later.via (dailysabah)

Here are 5 of the main obstacles scientists would have to overcome before doing such a transplant:
1. Heads can’t stay alive on their own.
2. The immune system has to be coaxed into accepting a foreign head.
3. The surgery has to happen in under an hour.
4. Spinal cords are incredibly tricky to fuse.
5. The procedure has to work in animal trials before being done in humans.