‘Frankenstein’ surgeon who wants to transplant a human head makes breakthrough with animal | Science | News

The notorious Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero rose to fame two years ago when he proposed a human head transplant by December 2017.

Dr Canavero wants to be the first man in the world to transplant a human head onto a donor body.

His radical plans for the disturbing experiment took a step closer this week when he revealed a series of shocking experiments, in which he claims to have ‘healed’ a paralyzed dog.

The neurosurgeon and his crew of scientists took a healthy dog and severed 90 per cent of its spine to start the horrifying study.

The dog was unable to walk, having suffered a wound similar to a knife stabbed into the human spine.

But, Dr Canavero managed to reconnect the severely damaged spinal cords using a chemical called polyethylene glycol, or PEG. 

According to Surgical Neurology International, two weeks later, the dog was able to drag its hind legs.

After the third week it was able to walk, grab objects, and wag its tail.

He also achieved similar results with dozens of mice, with most regaining some mobility although a few died during the study. 

However, other scientists have complained that the results are vague and incomplete and called talk of human head transplants “grossly premature”.

They criticised the small sample sizes and insufficient evidence proving that the canine’s spinal cord was damaged to the degree reported.

One critic said that the research team “were rushing into this” and that they “could kill someone”. 

Jerry Silver, a neuroscientist in Ohio, added: “They claim they cut the cervical cord 90 per cent but there’s no evidence of that in the paper, just some crude pictures.

“These papers do not support moving forward in human.”

But, the professor, who has been planning the surgery for 30 years, hit back and said: “This doctor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s going to work.”

He says the new study shows it is possible to overcome one of the biggest hurdles to the head transplant procedure, that is, to reconnect the spinal cord.

Earlier this year, the same team reportedly performed a head transplant on a monkey, but the results weren’t published after the creature died within less than 24 hours.

The promise of the recent studies comes as welcome news to a Russian man who has already volunteered for the procedure.

Spiridonov, who suffers from a degenerative disease, wants to undergo the first head transplant operation.

The experiment, next December, will take  around 150 hours and involve 36 medical staff.


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