Chief transplant surgeon says human brain transplants are ‘technically feasible’

Chief transplant surgeon says human brain transplants are 'technically feasible'
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ABSTRACT breaks down mind-blowing scientific research, future technologies, new discoveries and major breakthroughs.

The human brain is an incredible biological machinery responsible for everything from imagining Shakespeare’s sonnets to the muscle coordination needed to score a World Cup-winning goal. Yet even though our brains stay sharp in our old age, our bodies often don’t. What if we replaced them?

It’s the brainchild of controversial neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, who claims in a recent article that it might be “technically feasible” to avoid aging by simply digging out a person’s brain and immersing it in a younger, more agile body. The article, titled “Whole brain transplantation in man: Technically feasible,” was published in Surgical Neurology International (SNI), a peer-reviewed journal where Canavero serves as the editor.

If this walkthrough rings a bell, it might be because Canavero came up with a similar idea in 2015. who proposed a full head transplant. The claim was explosive, highly controversial, and when he later said he had found a volunteer to undergo the procedure, it became international news. It became such a sensation that he was part of a Solid metal gearrelated conspiracy theory. Many physicians have dismissed the procedure as not being based on current science, and it has not been performed in a living human subject to date.

Canavero told Motherboard in an email that head transplants “work” and that his previous work was just a stepping stone to a brain transplant.

“A human head transplant was the intermediate step to a brain transplant. Since the latter is considered impossible, I decided to focus on HT [head transplant], which is much simpler,” Canavero said. “However, although I can tell you that HT works, unfortunately it does not rejuvenate aged head tissue, including the eyes. LV [Brain transplant] is the only option.

Canavero’s claims about head transplants have been difficult to verify. In 2017, SNI published work by Canavero and his Chinese colleague Xiaoping Ren – who is also on SNI’s editorial board –report a repeat head transplant with human corpses. A living volunteer, a Russian man with a degenerative genetic disease of muscle atrophy, got out of the procedure scheduled for 2019. Also that year, the SNI published work by Canavero and Ren purporting to report successful spinal cord repair in animals.

Canavero told the motherboard he is not free “to talk about the HT project that happened in China, other than to say that it works”.

In his latest paper – which is co-edited by himself and Ren – Canavero describes how to theoretically remove a person’s brain and place it in the skull of a given clone or “immunoconditioned” body in good condition. of brain death. In addition to describing a “robotic excavator with retractable teeth” that would rip brains out of their skulls, Canavero also offers possible solutions to several outstanding questions regarding brain transplants, including methods of nerve and vascular reconnection.

“The unavailability of technologies capable of successfully rejuvenating an aging body suggests that it is time to explore other options,” the document notes. “Contrary to common tradition, a full BT is feasible, at least in theory. Of course, further extensive rehearsals on cadavers will be required, followed by testing on brain-dead organ donors (as, for (e.g. this was done recently in kidney xenotransplantations). New surgical tools will need to be developed. With the right funding, a long held dream can finally come true.

The ultimate goal of such a procedure would be to extend the number of years a person could enjoy living in a “pristine body,” Canavero writes in his article. This reasoning is no different from that used by CRISPR advocates who propose using the technology on embryos to eliminate unwanted genes that can lead to physical or mental disabilities – a goal that some experts have pointed out. as a revival of eugenics.

Problematic or not, there is great interest in extending human life, and a whole branch of science and pseudoscience dedicated to “transhumanism” and life extension, including among the elite of Silicon Valley. . These methods include everything from taking specific substances to “young blood” transfusions, cryogenics, and attempts to recreate humans as immortal AIs. So far, these attempts have not involved having their brains transplanted into a clone of themselves.

There are still major questions about whether what Canavero is proposing would actually work in a living human being (especially since part of the solution lies in developing human clones), but his claims will surely continue to capture the interest – and horror – of the public.

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