Friday, July 22, 2016

Scientists Transplanted THIS Onto A Monkey

Depending on how things go, we may see our first human head transplant in 2017. There's some debate as to whether it should be considered a full body transplant instead, but that's far from the only matter of debate about this controversial procedure.

First, there's the question of whether it can be done. Dr. Robert White performed a similar procedure on a monkey during the 1970s, but was unable to fuse the spinal cords together.

But the issue of whether the procedure should be done is perhaps even more hotly debated. Critics of the procedure tend to describe the result as "worse than death." 

Yet, these concerns haven't appeared to slow down Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, who is as ambitious as ever to carry out the transplant. 

And so far, he's done it on a monkey. His team have a released a photo of the surgery result, but be warned that it is graphic.

1. Canavero thinks he can succeed where White failed with a little help from a special chemical.

He's confident that the spinal cord can reattach when it's coated with polyethylene glycol, a chemical that he says preserves nerve cells. He also suggested that a "negative pressure device" would create the right kind of vacuum to help the spine re-fuse.

2. And for the sake of his volunteer, we'd better hope he's right.

Valery Spiridonov suffers from a rare muscle-wasting disease and said that the procedure could give him the chance of a new life in a healthy body.

3. But many of Canavero's medical peers have rebuked his claims.

Dr. Hunt Batjer said that it's impossible to fuse the spinal cords of two different bodies and any head transplant will leave its subject unable to move or breathe.

Others call the procedure unethical and add that combining a body with a separate head will cause intense mental anguish for the patient because they will be overloaded with unfamiliar chemistry.

4. And the Italian medical community agrees, as they've ostracized Canavero.

This left him without funding, but he's been able to continue his work alongside Chinese scientist Xiaoping Ren. The monkey head transplant took place under Ren's supervision.

5. And another experiment in South Korea has bolstered Canavero's confidence.

There, scientists have separated and re-fused mouse spines with the help of polyethylene glycol.

6. And the mice were able to recover some motor functions after the procedure.

Still, it should be noted that these subjects were reattached to their own spines, and not those of other mice.

7. But what about the monkey?

The monkey did a receive a full head transplant and Canavero said it "fully survived the procedure without any neurological injury of whatever kind."

But again, Ren's team did not attempt to fuse the spinal cords together and euthanized the monkey 20 hours after the surgery. 

Since it was killed for ethical reasons, Canavero will need to work hard to convince his peers that head transplant patients can overcome the trauma of a new body.

Main image via International Business Times

Collage image via The Daily Telegraph | Sky News


Author: verified_user