• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Man volunteers for world first head transplant operation

Status
Not open for further replies.

Nodnol

Member
Jun 21, 2014
1,931
20
420
Leicestershire, UK
I don't know what's more amazing; the fact that this sort of procedure is even being contemplated, or the mindset of the volunteer. I suppose when you're facing certain death, it must be quite liberating to just go, "fuck it". Scary thought.

All we need now is cyborgs.
 

MJLord

Member
Mar 18, 2010
2,452
0
0
27
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.
I mean surely you foot the bill for the guy who's basically testing your new (potentially incredibly lucrative) life saving procedure?
 

VoidVR

Banned
Oct 19, 2014
125
0
0
Hmm.. Can't be that different from installing a new CPU. Just don't bend the pins, doctor.
 

CyclopsRock

Member
Jul 6, 2012
12,297
0
490
But it takes two to transplant .... who wants a terminal muscle disease ?


...maybe someone with something WORST than a terminal muscle disease....
For some reason, this made me laugh out loud. I just have the idea of this guy slowly waking up from surgery, looking down and realising he has, like, a quadraplegic car crash victim's body or something. "Thanks, Doc."
 

jblank83

Member
Feb 13, 2013
7,921
0
620
The problem isn't reattaching a body part. You can repurpose blood vessels easily.

The problem is neurons are very specific to their function (one does muscle movement, another does pain perception, etc) and there are millions of them. Even if you lined up the spinal cords well, there's no way to make sure the muscle neuron from the transplanted brain connects to the correct muscle neuron axon in the transplant body.

You can "glue" it together, but apart from the already stated misconnection problem, the neurons in the central nervous system (everything in the skull and spinal cord) do not repair themselves well.

So, yes, at best you're a quadriplegic. At worst, of course, the patient will die. And if I had to guess, this person will probably die. Given there is only a couple of minutes window until brain death when the brain is deprived of oxygen and blood flow, and with this being an incredibly complex procedure (how are they going to reconnect all the blood vessels while keeping the brain perfused with oxygenated blood? How are they going to keep the host body alive without a brain?) I'm almost certain of it.
 

whipihguh

Banned
Feb 11, 2014
818
0
0
Rock Bottom
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?
I mean, something like this might be possible eventually, but I don't think we have the tech now to do it. I wish the guy the best of luck, but uh.....
 

QuiteWhittle

Member
Dec 13, 2009
6,132
0
0
Excuse my ignorance, but is it really possible to decapitate someone without killing them and then keep them alive long enough to perform any kind of proper surgery?
 
Sep 13, 2009
41,382
2
0
.
Freaky Friday made swapping easier and better, just sleep and it happens over night

But hmmmm the person getting his body is getting a body with a disease , don't they know?
 

Wyndstryker

Member
May 24, 2006
10,828
0
0
Burning Ranger
Winning the lottery sounds like a far more likely outcome than this transplant working.

Excuse my ignorance, but is it really possible to decapitate someone without killing them and then keep them alive long enough to perform any kind of proper surgery?
In theory yes, in reality it's so risky that most people wouldn't even dare try.
 

shinobi602

Member
Sep 28, 2010
33,557
6
0
www.twitter.com
I don't know I mean...he has a debilitating disease that's destroying his body and could die any day...if he wants to go forth with the risk I can't blame him.
 

jett

D-Member
Jun 6, 2004
98,875
9
1,765
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.


Seriously though, I'd like to see a breakdown of the costs.
 

Raticus79

Seek victory, not fairness
Aug 3, 2012
6,799
0
620
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hmm.. Can't be that different from installing a new CPU. Just don't bend the pins, doctor.
Like trying to install a new cpu on a motherboard by being handled a bundle of 2000 wires and trying to guess which needs to be soldered to which pin. Also you have to do them all before powering up the system. Also the CPU is a completely different architecture and none of the pins necessarily have a match.

Maybe they could get a heartbeat. Good luck digesting anything, for one thing.
 

Tagyhag

Member
Aug 21, 2013
17,882
4
465
Los Angeles
Even if it doesn't fully work. I assume the guy would rather have a useless body than die any day.

Even if he survives like that, I'll still be very impressed.
 

HoodWinked

Member
Jun 30, 2010
6,084
1,446
960
Earth
this was a long time ago and i dont even know if im remembering correctly but i saw a story about a monkey getting a head transplant but it ended up paralyzed from the neck down.
 

Kwixotik

Member
Apr 1, 2011
6,532
0
0
Kentucky
The problem isn't reattaching a body part. You can repurpose blood vessels easily.

The problem is neurons are very specific to their function (one does muscle movement, another does pain perception, etc) and there are millions of them. Even if you lined up the spinal cords well, there's no way to make sure the muscle neuron from the transplanted brain connects to the correct muscle neuron axon in the transplant body.

You can "glue" it together, but apart from the already stated misconnection problem, the neurons in the central nervous system (everything in the skull and spinal cord) do not repair themselves well.

So, yes, at best you're a quadriplegic. At worst, of course, the patient will die. And if I had to guess, this person will probably die. Given there is only a couple of minutes window until brain death when the brain is deprived of oxygen and blood flow, and with this being an incredibly complex procedure (how are they going to reconnect all the blood vessels while keeping the brain perfused with oxygenated blood? How are they going to keep the host body alive without a brain?) I'm almost certain of it.
You're only looking at half the problem. Sure there are motor neurons, but we're talking about connecting the autonomic nervous system too. How is this guy's brain going to tell another body's lungs to breathe, its heart to beat, etc, etc.
 

Etria

Member
Dec 8, 2014
920
0
0
New Zealand
Freaky Friday made swapping easier and better, just sleep and it happens over night

But hmmmm the person getting his body is getting a body with a disease , don't they know?
The person who is participating in the swap is most likely going to be an individual in a comatose state. They are not going to swap the patient's body with someone who is perfectly healthy. No one would volunteer for that.
 

Etria

Member
Dec 8, 2014
920
0
0
New Zealand
this was a long time ago and i dont even know if im remembering correctly but i saw a story about a monkey getting a head transplant but it ended up paralyzed from the neck down.
Also, I know organ transplants have chances of rejection. Can a body reject a head?
The first successful head transplant, in which one head was replaced by another, was carried out in 1970. A team led by Robert White at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, transplanted the head of one monkey onto the body of another. They didn't attempt to join the spinal cords, though, so the monkey couldn't move its body, but it was able to breathe with artificial assistance. The monkey lived for nine days until its immune system rejected the head.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530103.700-first-human-head-transplant-could-happen-in-two-years.html#.VScMT_mUeSo

So the monkey was not paralysed as such; they didn't attempt to join the motoneurons, autonomic neurons, etc., but eventually immune rejection occurred.

I wonder how they are going to prevent the immune system from reacting? Immunosuppressants? Can't be that simple -_-
 

23qwerty

Member
Jun 29, 2009
7,049
3
685
BC, Canada

Jive Turkey

Unconfirmed Member
Mar 10, 2005
15,816
0
0
You're only looking at half the problem. Sure there are motor neurons, but we're talking about connecting the autonomic nervous system too. How is this guy's brain going to tell another body's lungs to breathe, its heart to beat, etc, etc.
Who cares about useless things like breathing and temperature regulation, I just don't want to try and scratch my nose only to end up pissing my pants!
 

jett

D-Member
Jun 6, 2004
98,875
9
1,765
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530103.700-first-human-head-transplant-could-happen-in-two-years.html#.VScMT_mUeSo

So the monkey was not paralysed as such; they didn't attempt to join the motoneurons, autonomic neurons, etc., but eventually immune rejection occurred.

I wonder how they are going to prevent the immune system from reacting? Immunosuppressants? Can't be that simple -_-
I wonder what happens when an immune system rejects a head. A fucking head.
 

Rapstah

Member
Jul 20, 2009
13,183
0
0
Just like hot water makes dry spaghetti stick together, polyethylene glycol encourages the fat in cell membranes to mesh.
This part is so weird. I see that this is based on the idea that guinea pigs recover faster after a spinal cord injury after you inject them with the stuff... but also, polyethylene glycol is lube. I'm assuming the guy has done research on the stuff and isn't just assuming he can find a way to apply its supposed regenerative abilities to severed necks and heads?
 

Coins

Banned
Jul 20, 2007
5,012
0
0
St. Louis, Missouri
I think this will be possible with cutting edge stem cell research and unlimited money. So basically rich motherfuckers will get access to this technology but everyone else..well, our bodies will be useful to rich motherfuckers when they need a new body.
 

Khaz

Member
Jan 22, 2012
6,272
3
0
The problem isn't reattaching a body part. You can repurpose blood vessels easily.

The problem is neurons are very specific to their function (one does muscle movement, another does pain perception, etc) and there are millions of them. Even if you lined up the spinal cords well, there's no way to make sure the muscle neuron from the transplanted brain connects to the correct muscle neuron axon in the transplant body.

You can "glue" it together, but apart from the already stated misconnection problem, the neurons in the central nervous system (everything in the skull and spinal cord) do not repair themselves well.

So, yes, at best you're a quadriplegic. At worst, of course, the patient will die. And if I had to guess, this person will probably die. Given there is only a couple of minutes window until brain death when the brain is deprived of oxygen and blood flow, and with this being an incredibly complex procedure (how are they going to reconnect all the blood vessels while keeping the brain perfused with oxygenated blood? How are they going to keep the host body alive without a brain?) I'm almost certain of it.
Pretty much. They sewing technique could be useful on peripheral nervous system damages, and promoting axonal regrowth is something we are starting to get good at in animals. But Central nervous system is an entire different beast, and its neurons are stupidly stubborn. Funny thing, Schwann cells (cells wrapped around neurons to form a nerve) are a key element in allowing peripheral reinnervation, whereas they actually inhibit regrowth in the central nervous system.

Here is a good recent article synthesising the key challenges in nerve regeneration. A bit technical though.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1534580713007296
 

Jive Turkey

Unconfirmed Member
Mar 10, 2005
15,816
0
0
I think this will be possible with cutting edge stem cell research and unlimited money. So basically rich motherfuckers will get access to this technology but everyone else..well, our bodies will be useful to rich motherfuckers when they need a new body.
Time to start on an all triple bacon cheeseburger diet! They can have me when I'm done!
 

Lunzio

Member
Sep 4, 2012
2,182
1
0
New York
www.giantbomb.com
Unfortunately this seems like a ridiculously risky procedure without precedent... I'd love to see it work but the nervous system is far too complex (in my opinion) for a rejection not to happen. Let alone all of the intricacies necessary for a regular transplant, the autonomics alone are so vastly crucial for a functioning body that the best case scenario is the brain is "alive" via oxygen supply but any signals would be dead air, so it would ultimately perish under its own lack of control.
 

Fury451

Banned
May 1, 2012
11,857
3
0
Cleveland, OH
How would they do something like that without making the guy a complete tetraplegic?
I'm not sure they could, but I think this man's options are very limited so he would rather at least give it a try and wind up that way then have no future at all.

If this works, I'm taking the rocks body.
You can't take that body. It has to choose you. It's like Mjolnir.
 

MarzipaNMOS

Member
Sep 1, 2007
1,256
0
0
seems like it would be worth it for the medical knowledge at the very least. judging by that monkey head transplant this could very well be a thing in a few decades...
 
Status
Not open for further replies.