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Man volunteers for world first head transplant operation

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Compsiox

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The Daily Mail reports Valery Spiridonov is prepared to put his life in the hands of controversial surgeon Sergio Canavero who says he can successful perform the world-first operation.

Spiridonov, who suffers from a terminal muscle wasting disease, told Mail Online he was scared but the operation could offer him an opportunity to live while his genetic condition will kill him.

“Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am,” he said.

“But it is not just very scary but also very interesting … you have to understand that I don't really have many choices.

"I am now 30 years old, although people rarely live to more than 20 with this disease."
Of course, the other major hurdle both doctor and patient face is the expected cost of the operation, which could easily stretch beyond $10 million.
https://au.news.yahoo.com/technology/a/27031329/man-volunteers-for-world-first-head-transplant-operation/
 

cooljeanius

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I hope this works out, not just for his sake, but also because it could provide some useful fodder for philosophical debates on the nature of identity, depending on the results.
 

NullPointer

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Of course, the other major hurdle both doctor and patient face is the expected cost of the operation, which could easily stretch beyond $10 million.
Pay-per-view the operation. Problem solved.

I'm crazy curious about this.
 

Platy

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But it takes two to transplant .... who wants a terminal muscle disease ?


...maybe someone with something WORST than a terminal muscle disease....
 

Khaz

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How would they do something like that without making the guy a complete tetraplegic?
That's the billion dollar question. Doctors are pretending they can sew each neurons back. This is obviously bullshit. If it was true, they would be making millions in curing crushed spines everywhere, not making bold claims of head transplants. The guy will have a healthy, lifeless body at best.

[edit] This is what a spinal cord looks like when cut.
 

RedShift

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This sounds impossible, but I'd probably think a heart transplant was impossible if they hadn't already been done so who knows.
 

choco-fish

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I can't even begin to imagine how they could pull this off, even if it works, surely he will have no control over the body? Would they not need to use the body of a brain dead patient?
 

Dead

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I feel like this is getting us closer to the inevitable "man's head transplanted onto body of dead serial killer. Serial Killer takes over transplanted head and comes back to life" story on the 10 o clock news
 

FUME5

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I couldn't believe it when I first heard this doctor stating he will be able to perform this surgery in two years time, and I still don't believe it.

I mean:

"The recipient's head is then moved onto the donor body and the two ends of the spinal cord – which resemble two densely packed bundles of spaghetti – are fused together. To achieve this, Canavero intends to flush the area with a chemical called polyethylene glycol, and follow up with several hours of injections of the same stuff. Just like hot water makes dry spaghetti stick together, polyethylene glycol encourages the fat in cell membranes to mesh."

Uh......huh.
 

Al-ibn Kermit

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I'm confused as to why the doctor thinks this is even possible. Is it all just theoretical, or has he successfully done this with animal trials? Shit sounds brutally horrific....
This was first done with dogs over 50 years ago, the downside is the spinal cord can't be reattached yet so the animals end up being a quadriplegic. There's very interesting research on trying to use stem cells to repair spinal cords but this transplantation technique seems to be for people who have no way of repairing their bodies. Meaning it's a case of choosing to be a quadriplegic or dying.
 

StalkerUKCG

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The doctor has spoken before. Apparently all the techniques used to reattach the individual parts actually exist.

Someone more in the know might be able to be more specific.

He in his own theory can do this, other surgeons have called it trash.
 
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there is no way this works, is there?

Science can do amazing things but cutting a head off one person attaching it to another body is just madness.

I imagine they need a strike of lightning to bring back to life?
 

Orbis Tabula

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I mean, it's not really a head transplant, though. It's a body transplant. The guy isn't getting a new head. He's keeping his head. He's getting a new body.
 

skullmuffins

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That's the billion dollar question. Doctors are pretending they can sew each neurons back. This is obviously bullshit. If it was true, they would be making millions in curing crushed spines everywhere, not making bold claims of head transplants. The guy will have a healthy, lifeless body at best.
IIRC the surgeon's plan is to basically put the two ends of the spinal cord next to each other and douse them in a chemical that's supposed to make them basically reattach on their own.

It sounds super premature to be talking about performing human head transplants before getting the process down pat with animal trials or getting the spinal cord repair stuff working on people with spinal cord injuries. Maybe there's a reason it would be possible to make a full head transplant work when we can't even get paralyzed people walking again (clean cuts?) but I'm skeptical.

Plus, I don't think it'll be that easy to come across a suitable donor body where everything but the head is in good condition.
 
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