30-year-old man agrees to full head transplant

There are some serious problems here. The first is that spinal nerves do not regenerate - they are different from the nerves in the rest of your body which can somewhat self-repair.

Assuming you somehow get them to join, how on earth would you get them to join to the corresponding nerve on the other side of the gap? If they connect randomly you’d have a hell on earth of random twitches and false sensations.

Assuming you survive the procedure at all, you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life on immuno-suppressants so that the immune systems from the different parts don’t spend all their time fighting the other side. This part you could probably put up with.

There is the small matter that this has never been done on test animals, so there is has been no opportunity to get any good at it.

I do respect the head donor, he may be crazy brave, or crazy desperate, or just plain crazy, but I respect his courage that he would consider this when we haven’t done it with so much as a rat, or a monkey, or anything.

I think that is kind of the point, for this patient anyway; he is essentially already stuck to a body with many, many health problems. I Imagine that he is hoping to move his head on to a body that has a better chance of keeping himself alive longer…

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From the point of view of the guy in the photo, yes.

It may be also his way of getting assisted suicide. He either has a slim chance to live in a better body, or likely dies in a relatively straightforward way. There are situations where such choice is preferable to the status quo.


I’ve listened to a couple of interviews from the doctor planning this procedure, apparently the only thing he needs is a “really sharp blade”. I guess we will see…

The cleaner the cut, the better and closer you can line up the severed nerves.

Some day all the cutting will be done at the cellular level by nanobots, with no collateral damage to the area, and no need for sutures or anesthetic.

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There are therapies which show promise. But with good quality surgical repair, even peripheral nerve spontaneous repair and regeneration is never as good as it was. You have to learn to adapt to and ignore the patches of odd sensation, which is due to the random connection you referred to. Spinal cord nerves are much more tightly packed and even more prone to the problem assuming you could persuade them to regrow.

Valery Spiridinov looks like as close to the ideal candidate for this operation as you’re likely to get. But even if he survives he’ll end up tetraplegic; dependent on a ventilator for his breathing; just sitting on top of a body that he can’t feel or move; and pumped full of immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life.

That would define hell for me. :fearful:


i personally wouldn’t trust any doctor that thinks will have a 90% chance of success.

i’d want a doctor with a more realistic outlook who would be more motivated to finding new ways to increase a more realistic figure then one is overly confident for no good reason.

i hope for this guy’s sake it works.

or perhaps use the body of rattypilgrim as they don’t appear to be using theirs :wink:

Why would he want a different head?

(reads article)

Oh. Nevermind.


How’s he “bound” to that wheelchair? Rope? Duct tape? Velcro? Krazy Glue? Maybe just gravity.

I saw an older article about this where a few doctors said that if Spiridonov survives the transplant, he could face a fate that is worse than death.

This has never been successfully done before. If it works and Spiridonov’s brain “accepts” his new body, we have no idea what will happen to his mind. His psyche could go nuts. It can trigger a new type of insanity that we have never seen, something so horrific that we couldn’t have possibly fathomed it.

Seriously, my heart goes out to Spiridonov. Suffering from an awful disease like that, I’m in no position to judge his decision, but I can’t think of anything scarier than being trapped in a hell created by your mind.


Finally, someone will be able to utter the words, “I have the body of a 30-year old. And boy is he pissed.”

    **30-year-old man agrees to full head transplant**


Sounds like a surgeon with very little understanding of psychology, who got his idea of what “insanity” is from H P Lovecraft (do mental health professionals even still use that word?).


That’s what euthanasia is for. For fates worse than death, death is the option. Time for the society to pull its head out of its religio-philosophical posterior and accept this.

Thank goodness they found a donor.

The problem is, there isn’t any individual part of the total procedure that has anythingeven like a 90% success rate, though. Preventing tissue rejection, keeping the brain intact, keeping the organs of the body going, having a functional immune system, getting the nerves to knit back to the point where the heart and lungs would function, etc. - all of these things are either untested, have never even been managed, or done with a higher failure rate. They’ve made over a thousand attempts at head transplants with various mammals, and never managed to keep anything alive for more than a few hours.


I wish this man luck. I really do.

If the theory is correct doesn’t that mean that in the right conditions it would be possible to survive decaptiation? I mean assuming the body was cold enough and a skilled surgeon, donor and tools were at hand. But who know’s where advances in this technique (if successful) would lead?

Is head transplant really what this is going to be called from now on??

Its a body transplant!