Neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero’s ‘brainless’ proposed ‘head transplant’ project

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

When Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero recently announced his plans to conduct a human head transplant, that is, to put an entire head on a new body, virtually all other neurosurgeons, physicians and bioethicists called the proposal utterly absurd.

They called Canavero “nuts” and labeled his proposed operation something “worse than death.” That’s not a good sign for someone who says he needs 150 doctors and nurses to help him perform the 36-hour-long surgery.

Experts have pointed out multiple problems in every step of the proposed surgery. For example, gluing two ends of severed spinal cords will not make nerve fibers fuse well into each other, as nerve cells immediately form scar tissue. Even if the glue worked, connecting millions of nerves together is not possible. Other big-picture issues include getting the immune system to accept the new head, and keeping the head alive. Scientists are still figuring out how low they can bring the temperature before brain tissue starts to act up.

Biologist Paul Zachary Myers details some of the scientific problems with Canavero’s claims in this blog post, but the most glaring of all perhaps is that Canavero doesn’t present any evidence that the surgery works.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Please, Don’t Take The Head Transplant Surgeon Seriously

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend