Will we soon be able to swap heads willy-nilly like Jodorowsky’s short film La Cravate? Will the cryogenic dreams of the Quick 8 come to fruition? It appears that now it is now theoretically possible according to this article from the Telegraph.
Dr Sergio Canavero believes that the technology now exists that will allow surgeons to carry out the Frankenstein-style procedure, which has been tested out on animals since 1970.
Up until now there has been no way to successfully reconnect the spinal cord, leaving the subjects paralysed from the point where the transplant was connected.
Recent advances have meant that re-connecting the spinal cord is now possible, and it is believed that the breakthrough means that previously fatal diseases could be cured.
Speaking of animal tests here’s a video: Experiments in the Revival of Organisms
(Warning: some readers may find the following video extremely disturbing. – ed.)
Showing the reanimation of removed animal organs. Also, the in/famous procedure by Sergei S. Bryukhonenko, a Societ scientist during the Stalinist era. Using a decapitated dogs head showing it reacting to outside stimuli.
back to the article
However, other experts have dismissed the idea.
Professor Anthony Warrens, from the British Transplantation Society, told the Sun: “Connecting a head to a body is worthless to human beings today. The whole concept is bizarre.”
I agree, it is bizarre yet brings up interesting concepts such as the soul and other philosophical questions.
In 1970 Robert White successfully transplanted the head of a rhesus monkey onto the body of a second rhesus, and Dr Canavero, a member of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, has proposed using a similar method.
He said: “The greatest technical hurdle to such endeavour is of course the reconnection of the donor’s and recipient’s spinal cords. It is my contention that the technology only now exists for such linkage,” he wrote.
“It is argued that several up to now hopeless medical conditions might benefit from such procedure.”
This is the selling point, the clincher, the appeal to emotions. Yet if there is no soul or Sheldrake‘s morphic resonance, then what is to be lost? Surely we mustn’t allow the decapitation of past dogs, monkeys, and more to go in vain. Or should we? Many years of watching way too many horror movies tells me that this is where things can go absolutely wrong. The noble scientist, oblivious of anything that cannot be proven, breaking open the doors to bestial horrors that torment,maim and kill.
“This is no longer science fiction. This could be done today — now. If this operation is done it will provide a few people with a substantial amount of extra life,” he said. “The only reason I have not gone further is funding.”
However, Dr Calum Mackellar, from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, added: “This sounds like something from a horror movie.”
Dr Mackellar gets it, and I think others do as well but for reasons beyond the cautionary tales told in B-movies. It’s taboo, and new terrain that may improve lives.