30-year-old man agrees to full head transplant


#1

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#2

Show me even one case of this technique working in a mammal.


#3

As gross as I find the idea of doing this to helpless animals, it does seem surprising that the doctor wouldn’t want to be able to trumpet success with dogs or monkeys to boost his credibility.

On the other hand, I can sympathize with the patient. If he feels that his current life is not worth living, then he’s really got nothing to lose and everything to gain, no matter how bad the odds.


#4

In other words, an attempt will be made to transfer his brain into a head from which the brain has been removed and then attach the other head to his body?


#5

Well, it’s not 100% the same procedure (since it’s basically putting two heads on one body) but google “dog head transplant” and find out for yourself what had been done since 1954.


#6

Was anything at any point grafted into the spinal cord?


#7

On the one hand. I don’t think this will work. On the other, trapped in your own body with no chance of any life improvement?

At that stage it might be worth the risk, so long as the guy understands he is likely going yo die, or even if he survives likely still be parylized from the neck down.

And even if this fails. Document. Everything. Make sure we have every femtosecond of the surgery and everything else documented for benefit of future advances.


#8

I think the idea is that his head will be removed, brain included, and attached to a donor body. (Presumably the body of an otherwise healthy person who died of head trauma.)


#9

No, I don’t think so. That’s the untested part, I guess. According to the information I could dig up so far, they will basically simply “glue” the two cut spinal cords together (exactly like a graft on a plant) and hope for the best.


#10

#11

So, it’s really a body transplant


#12

“We’re hoping for a 90 percent success rate!”


#13

As best as I can tell when I looked into this in the 90s it was weird Soviet experimentation on oxygenation and circulatory going from transplants to a head attached to a heart lung machine. It was heart rending seeing the last experiment, the live head on a plate pitifuly licking at the scientists hands.
My question is if anyone has ever even severed and sucessfully rejoined the spinal cord of a mammal which regained any use of the nerve pathways much less a full transplant.
I am sure we will find a way, though I suspect the best chance will be in the days of self guiding nano-surgical bots which can test the connections for correct connection and starting with doing spinal damage bypasses rather than transplant success.
I have seen a good number of cases where severed nerves self healed without neuroplasty where the reconnections have connected to the wrong sensory nerve, say switching the sensory left and right sides of a finger. I suppose the brain eventually adjusts but I can’t imagine slamming that many nerve fibers together will heal properly as though it were two sides of a tendon. If it were that easy why have we never heard of this in the decades of military mammalian trauma studies.


#14

“We’re hoping for a 90 percent success rate!”

Was that for the spinal graft part or the total procedure?


#15

I can’t imagine slamming that many nerve fibers together will heal properly as though it were two sides of a tendon.

Yeah, me neither. Which is why I think they will end up with the same result: A functional head grafted onto a body. However, in this case the body will - in my opinion - have to be artifically kept alive (breathing, mechanical heart suppport).


#16

Another idea that I just got. A connection plate; high-density matrix of contacts on both sides, surface treated in a way to grow together with the severed nerve cells. An interconnect matrix in between. After transplantation, find out which electrodes correspond to which nerve fibers, set up the interconnects.


#17

Brilliant, though I believe I have already seen something similar in something like SciAm, slashdot, or maybe even BB.


#18

In every adventuring party, there is always one person who insists on taking the Head of Vecna…


#19

#20

I thought this was a publicity stunt to plug the latest metal gear solid.