Head Transplants The Way Of Future Medicine?

Limb and organ transplants have been a pivotal part of modern medicine for years, and aren't really news to anyone in this day and age. That being said, one aspect of medical transplants that has never really been put into practice is the transplant of one human head to another body. Clearly there are obvious reasons as to why this practice has never taken place, and the primary one being that the technology to reattach a severed spinal cord doesn't exist...for now...

An Italian surgeon, Sergio Canavero, had proposed the idea in the past, and just recently put forth a medical paper attempting to detail the hypothetical procedure. He contends that the process may indeed be possible within the few next years; however, it would be an arduous procedure for the surgeon and the patient alike. Canavero explains how, with the proper technology, the patients head would be carefully "severed" and surgically attached to the new body/host, and that while the patient is still under, they would be induced in a coma-like state, in order to keep them from moving their neck for several weeks. This is solely to allow the spine and nerves to fully reattach, heal, and acclimate to their new body/host. 


To many people, this sounds like science fiction (or to the hardcore X-Files fans, the entire premise of the last movie), but this may indeed become science fact. The majority of people in the world are aware of the fact that the entire nervous system runs up and down the spine, and can be damaged beyond repair from various forms of physical trauma and neurological disorders; however, it's worth noting that head transplants have indeed been conducted in the past on animals. It sounds cruel (I know and I agree), but it has been done before. In 1908, Charles Claud Guthier grafted/transplanted the head of one dog on to the body of another. While the transplant was originally a "success", the transplanted head soon expired, as too much time had passed from the removal of the head and the placement on the new body. Later, in 1959, Vladimir Demikhov grafter/transplanted the heads of various dogs to other canine bodie. His attempts were more...successful...if that word can be used...in that the dogs lived for a few days, and in one case, almost a month. 

Advancements in science and medicine have often been viewed as scary and unorthodox, but in many cases have proven to be life saving ideas. The transplanting of a head of one being on to the body of another does indeed sound somewhat morbid and far-fetched, but it could be invaluable to people suffering from muscular or neurological disorders, or even cancer, as it will potentially offer them a new lease on life. The only point of contention now is putting the theory into practice. 

Source:  Telegraph