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Doctor claims he will perform the first human head transplant

When you read the book Frankenstein, do you ever stop and wonder if something as bizarre as bringing a monster to life is possible? Or better yet, did Mary Shelley, the author, ever wonder if this sort of experiment would be successful, if at all, attempted? Well the question just might be answered.

The Italian Neurosurgeon, Sergio Canavero, states that he will attempt the first successful head transplant in China. As discretion, Caravero was vague as to the who, what, when and where’s of the procedure.

Canavero vaguely says that he will be performing the surgery on an unidentified Chinese official and a donor body. Before, it was Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year old Russian man who is suffering from Werdnig-Hoffmans disease, and someone whom Caravero has been working on for two years. OOOM speaks to Newsweek on the matter and says, “ Because the head transplant will be conducted in China it’s much easier to get a Chinese donor,” he says. “That’s the main reason. I’m not sure if Professor Canavero has talked to Valery in the meantime. I don’t know the reaction of Valery. However, if the head transplantation succeeds—and we all hope and are confident that it will succeed—then it will not be the last, so it will only be a question of time when Valery will get a new body.” ( Osborne, Hannah. “Head Transplants: Sergio Canavero Says That First Patient Will Be Chinese Official, Not Valery Spiridonov”, April 4th, 2017)

This procedure will one for the books, seeing as a human head transplant has never been successful before. But Canavero has no worries. His reasoning behind being the right man for this risky job is that he has attempted the same thing on lab rats. He will be teaming up with Xaioping Ren, a neurosurgeon at China’s Harbin Medical University. He is no stranger to head transplants, however, seeing as Ren has performed over 1,000 mice head transplants. The tests were successful until realizing that they survive no longer than a few minutes.

The procedure is as follows: the operation will take 150 medical staff 36 hours to complete. His first step would be to freeze the head and body to stop the brain cells from dying. The neck would then be cut and tubes connecting key arteries and veins fitted. Then comes the tricky part – cutting the spinal cord. It’ll be done with a special knife made from diamonds because of their strength. The head is then moved onto the donor body and the spinal cords fused together with a special type of glue: Polyethylene Glycol – a compound known for its ability to fuse fatty cell membranes. Then, muscles, veins and organs are then reattached and the skin is stitched together. ( Brown, Lindsay. The Surgeon Who Wants To Perform A Head Transplant By 2017”, September 20th, 2016)

While many are awaiting this historical event, scientists from both inside and outside of the same field as Canavero are very skeptical of the procedure. Not only do they think of it as “bizarre” and “ludicrous”, they are also criticizing the ethical boundaries it pushes. With there being two human lives at stake for the sake of science, if something were to go wrong, it would be tragic.

The whole world will be awaiting the results of this operation, to see if Sergio Canavero can do the impossible.