Literally, Losing Our Heads by Brian Simpson

Here is literally one for the Dr Frankenstein file of mad scientific developments (Natural, September 30, 2016). An Italian doctor claims that he is able to transfer human consciousness to a new body by a head transplant. Experiments have been done in the past by transplanting the heads of one monkey onto another, with limited success as the body remained paralysed, and immune rejection led to the death of the monkey in days.

The Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero hopes to perform the head transplant operation in 2017, fusing the head of a person with a debilitating disease to a body of a brain-dead donor. The operation will take 36 hours which would be highly stressful for the surgeon. It is not known if a severed human head, kept at low temperatures is even capable of survival, but the monkey experiments have motivated the attempt.
In the TV programme Futurama about life 1,000 years in the future, 20th century personalities as such Richard Nixon survive as disembodied heads in special “jars.” The world of Canavero goes one step beyond even that. The thought of inflicting our politicians upon future generations is just too much to endure.



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Thursday, 18 July 2024

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