Why the world’s first head transplant could go horribly wrong

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Valery Spiridonov, a computer scientist from Russia, is ready to be relieved of his body–quite literally. Spiridonov suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman Disease, a rare, debilitating, and fatal genetic sign of bad luck which destroys muscle tissue. As a result, the man is scheduled to undergo the world’s first head transplant with the operation performed by renowned doctor and recent TED Talk speaker Sergio Canavero. “Renowned” because most experts believe he’s on the edge of bat-shit crazy.

Normally, we would upload video of the event. Instead, we thought we’d let you skip your daily dose of cuckoo and move on to what the critics are saying about Dr. Evil’s Canavero’s plan.

What’s “worse than death”? A head transplant!

Valery Spiridonov-8-EAST2WEST NEWS, queries Will Stewart 0079859989400.jpgCritics say that while the prospect of a head transplant is fascinating, the chance of a successful procedure is abysmal.

Many medical experts urge caution about the possibility of rapidly declining mental capacity and even psychosis once the operation is complete–and that’s if Spiridonov survives at all. They warn that the new connections will result in a deluge of unfamiliar chemicals which could permanently alter the patient’s state of his mind.

Most critics following this story understand why Spiridonov would jump at the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes–again, quite literally–for a while, but question whether or not he should be willing to risk something potentially worse than nothingness.

2016 projection is nonsense

Right now, the transplant is scheduled for 2016. Dr. Canavero hopes to achieve this timeline by first formally launching the project at an annual conference of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in June. In other words, he hopes to recruit fellow crazies before he follows his cracked-out dream which combines parts of Al Qaeda, Frankenstein, and a handful of terrible old sci-fi movies.

Sergio-Canavero-head-transplant-on-Valery-Spiridonov

Dr. Sergio Canavero

Canavero’s peers aren’t nearly as optimistic about these 2016 projections, and believe the medical science behind such a procedure is decades distant. If it works, though, we would enter into a whole new era.

Head transplants aren’t pure fantasy at this point, either. In 1970, a transplant was completed by Doctor Robert White using a pair of monkeys. The monkey whose head was transplanted eventually died due to rejection and the fact the monkey couldn’t breathe on its own.

Is a human head transplant likely to fare any better? This all seems like a bad dream, but let us know your thoughts in the space below. Seriously, do it.

About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running memyselfandrobot.com, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.

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