“The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done,” were the words of the Italian Professor Sergio Canavero after conducting the world’s first human head transplant on a corpse in China at the Harbin Medical University.
Sounds like a hoax, right? But believe us it’s true.
An18-hour long operation in which doctors were successfully able to reconnect the spine, nerves and blood vessels of a severed head was performed and ended successfully.
Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group and a controversial professor, made the announcement at a press conference in Vienna.
The procedure was carried out by a team led by Dr. Xiaoping Ren, who last year grafted a head onto the body of a monkey. But originally it all started in May when various scientists carried out a head transplant on a rat in a trial run.Researchers used three rats for each operation: a smaller rat, to be the donor, and two larger rats, acting as the recipient and the main blood supply.To maintain blood flow to the donor brain, they connected the blood vessels from that rat to veins of the third rat using a silicon tube, which was then passed through a peristaltic pump. Then, once the head had been transplanted onto the second rat’s body, the researchers used vascular grafts to connect the donor’s thoracic aorta and superior vena cava to the carotid artery and extracorporeal veins of the recipient. After the surgery, the donor head was still able to blink and feel pain. The two-headed creature lived 36 hours on average following the procedure.
Canavero said: ‘For too long nature has dictated her rules to us. We’re born, we grow, we age and we die. For millions of years humans have evolved and 110 billion humans have died in the process. We have entered an age where we will take our destiny back in our hands. The first human head transplant, in the human mode, has been realized. The paper will be released in a few days. Everyone said it was impossible, but the surgery was successful.’
Professor Canavero added that the team’s next step is to perform a full head swap between brain dead organ donors.
There is no paucity of people who pray every day to have a new body in which they can live their life as other people do, thus a severely handicapped Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov volunteered, for the world’s first head transplant. However, Mr. Spiridonov, 31, now accepts his hopes of his head being grafted onto a new healthy body are over.It is likely that the first transplant will be carried out on someone from China, and a large number of volunteers are already claimed to have come forward.
Many criticisms have been voiced out against the head transplant plan:Dr Hunt Batjer, president elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, told CNN: “I would not wish this on anyone. I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.”
Dr James Fildes, NHS principal research scientist at the University Hospital of South Manchester’s Transplant Centre, said: “Unless Canavero or Ren provide real evidence that they can perform a head, or more appropriately, a whole-body transplant on a large animal that recovers sufficient function to improve quality of life, this entire project is morally wrong.”
If the human head transplant gets successful then it will not be just a revolution in the medical science but also will make a history. It will give man the power to change its destiny and quality of life. If this technique becomes available internationally with a high success rate then it will be a blessing in disguise for the severely handicapped people.