With that said, there is a procedure that has been proposed relatively recently that is quite intriguing even when considering the many other amazing proposals out there. This procedure could be a possible solution to spinal paralysis among other debilitating diseases/disorders.
An Italian neuroscientist by the name of Sergio Canavero reckons that a human head transplant should be possible by 2017. The prospect of such a procedure is simply amazing. As you can imagine however, there are some question marks as it relates to this procedure for various reasons.
Note: You will notice that we have not included pictures of any of the experiments by Canavero and his colleagues. Some readers might find these images disturbing but there are links to some of the experiment videos below.
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Project Gemini is a project started by Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero in order to develop a viable procedure for completing a human head transplant.
In case you weren’t sure, yes you read that right! So far he has managed to gain the support of Chinese surgeon Ren Xiaoping from the Harbin Medical University in China. Mr. Xiaoping will team up with Mr. Canavero in order to perform the surgery.
Mr. Canavero has also managed to gain the support of a volunteer who has agreed to undergo the procedure. The volunteer is Valery Spiridonov, a 30 year old Russian man suffering from muscular atrophy.
Project Gemini is a project started by Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero in order to develop a viable procedure for completing a human head transplant
How the Transplant is Proposed to be Done
Note: The head which will be transplanted is referred to as the recipient’s head. The body that the head will be transferred onto is called the donor’s body.
Both the recipient’s head and the donor body are cooled before the proposed GEMINI surgery. This is done to keep both in as pristine condition as possible during the procedure.
The donor body’s spinal cord is then severed from its corresponding head and the recipient’s head is also severed from its body.
It is essential that both sections of spinal cord are cut with an ultra sharp blade. This is necessary in order to facilitate the rejoining process.
The recipient’s head is subsequently transferred onto the donor body. A chemical known as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is used to glue the head to the body. The donor body is injected with PEG as well while the joining is being carried out.
After the head and the body are linked, all muscles, veins, arteries and nerves are then joined up between them.
Finally, plastic surgeons stitch the head to the body as seamlessly as possible.
There have already been papers published which have been co-edited by Canavero which outline spinal re-attachments carried out on mice, rats and a dog. In these experiments, the spinal cord of the animals were severed and subsequently reattached with the assistance of PEG.
The spinal cord of the animals were severed and subsequently reattached with the assistance of PEG.
You may also be interested to know that this is not the first time that this type of surgery has been proposed.
Completing this type of procedure could be potentially be a cure for persons suffering from varying forms of paralysis as well as muscle atrophy.
Health Related Issues
By his own admission, Canavero states that there are some issues with carrying out the Gemini procedure. Persons may experience body image issues among other mental health concerns and will need to undergo psychiatric assessments in order to evaluate and treat these issues if they occur.
There is also the issue of the donor’s body rejecting the recipient’s head. The patient will need to be screened and treated regularly in order to prevent rejection.
Canavero states that there are some issues with carrying out the Gemini procedure.
This type of procedure has never been carried out on a human being before. The effects on the person undergoing such a procedure could therefore be catastrophic.
In addition, any offspring produced by a person who underwent this procedure would technically be the offspring of the donor body since this person will have DNA from the donor’s body as well as the recipient’s head. This could be quite confusing for people undergoing this procedure.
This is a story that raises many questions. The most important being whether Canavero will actually succeed in carrying out this procedure. Although somewhat disturbing, GEMINI could possibly provide persons suffering from various diseases and disorders relief.
I guess all we can do now is wait to see if Canavero can pull this off. Video footage of the mice which were experimented on can be viewed here, footage of the rats can be viewed here and footage of the video here.
Finally for a great explanation of the procedure from the man himself, Sergio Canavero, please see the video below.