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Author Topic: Transplanting the human head/brain  (Read 2645 times)

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Offline gaggedLouiseTopic starter

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Transplanting the human head/brain
« on: July 03, 2013, 03:13:23 AM »
Transplantations of human heads are now feasible, says Italian neurosurgeon

With the advances in stem cells technology and regeneration of nerve fibre, the idea of fitting a head to a new body has become plausible and could be realized soon, surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero thinks, and says he has a blueprint for how to achieve it. He cautions that early operations might not lead to full control of the body from the adapted brain (presumably from a young or mid-life individual, so that it would not be in 'worn' condition*), but even if only 10% of the spinal stem "corridor" cells reconnected with the new brain, it would give the patient the means to live some kind of feasible life.

Quote
Dr Canavero concludes by saying “body image and identity issues will need to be addressed, as the patient gets used to seeing and using the new body”.

He said: “HEAVEN appears to have grown into a feasible enterprise early in the 21st century,” but added that he has not considered the ethical implications of his proposal.


Any thoughts? Honestly this gives me the shivers, it opens up all sorts of weird and unsavoury possibilities: selling heads and brains, fitting old people's brains onto a young body or a young brain onto another young body, extension of the human lifespan into hundreds of years, grafting of chips and body images onto a brain etc. I can see some uses that would be morally right of course, but opening up this field looks like a Pandora's box loaded with some very difficult and unsettling issues.


*Edit: early operations in this vein could be set either way of course, the head of an old man fitted to a young body to bid farewell to a crippling disease, a young one's head onto a body of roughly the same age, after let's say a grave car crash, or part of a young brain aligned to the brain and body of an older patient to remedy a localized brain disease or tumour.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 12:15:25 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 10:17:02 AM »
I was surprised to find this actually has a journal citation.  I'm not sure if SNI is peer-reviewed, but it is indexed on PubMed.

http://www.surgicalneurologyint.com/article.asp?issn=2152-7806;year=2013;volume=4;issue=2;spage=335;epage=342;aulast=Canavero

Offline gaggedLouiseTopic starter

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2013, 01:03:10 PM »
Thanks for looking up the actual publication, Oniya. I'm not sure on his idea of fastening the head to the new body with a "polymer gel" (and perhaps some kind of steel bolts and surgical thread too?) and there are big questions surrounding how to get "donated bodies" of course - it would have to be someone who had died within hours or at most a few days of the operation and whose below-the-neck body was quite undamaged and could be revived with a new head: hard conditions! And at the same time, there could be huge financial interests pulled to this.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2013, 01:07:24 PM »
I think most organ donations (and this would probably include full bodies) have to occur within hours of death.  Now, there's a difference between full death and brain death - you might have bodies that are brain-dead kept 'viable' by means of heart/lung machines for a considerable duration.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2013, 03:05:43 PM »
More than likely this would fall under state procurement agencies or similar such position in other countries.  There are very specific conditions required for organ donations and such restrictions would more than likely be extended to a full body donation.  Honestly I am unsure of how this would work from a practical standpoint because medicine looks to help the “most” and not simply the fewest.  Triage is performed that way and medicine is similarly conditioned to do so.  An actual intact body that could provide for such a surgery would benefit so many people if pieces were taken rather than the one person for the whole.  I don’t see much of a future for head transplants except as a curiosity and an extreme circumstance.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2013, 03:14:12 PM »
An actual intact body that could provide for such a surgery would benefit so many people if pieces were taken rather than the one person for the whole.

My late father-in-law (Mr. Oniya's step-father, but the father that he admired most) was an organ recipient - both lungs, if I remember right.  I remember seeing literature around the apartment about how many people one organ donor could save - everything from vital organs like kidneys, lungs, and the liver (which can actually be dissected to replace a child's organ) to skin grafts for burn victims, and corneas.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2013, 03:15:27 PM »
Plus bones and intestines are useful as well.  There are a great many that can be helped and saved with transplants.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 03:19:02 PM »
*grins*  I wasn't about to give an exhaustive list.  Most people think about the vital organs and forget the rest of the parts.  Transplanting a kidney is seen as 'heroic surgery' - transplanting a couple square feet of epidermis isn't as 'sexy' (but it's just as life-saving).

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2013, 03:27:58 PM »
Livers are the fun ones.

Offline gaggedLouiseTopic starter

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2013, 03:51:03 PM »
Imagine having to handle the thought - on the part of the family of a donor - that you might get to see the body of your loved one, recognize instantly its shape, its muscles, and some of the patterns of movement you knew when that person was alive - but then it's another person, a completely different one. "Ain't that Caroline over there?" - "No, umm... it isn't  it's..."

That's a completely different game than asking yourself if you'd want your deceased son's lungs to benefit somebody else. I don't think there would be a lot of people accepting it, but what if we'd get "body trade" with, for instance, the bodies of executed prisoners from abroad. Presumably someone who had been hanged would make a better donor than somebody who'd been given an injection in a U.S. prison and who has been on death row for fifteen years, and it might prove much easier and cheaper to procure a foreign body.  :-(

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2013, 03:59:04 PM »
Depends, if the hung body did not break their neck on the descent then the body would not work.  Oxygen deprivation to the organs cannot be tolerated for long.  Typically a nurse is on hand with potential organ donation candidates to maintain oxygen flow to those organs and body parts.  Also the buying/selling of organs, tissue, body parts, etc for the purpose of transplant is strictly forbidden and closely monitored.  Plus a head transplant would required advanced medical facilities along with extensive post-operative care and a trained staff.  That is not easily hidden.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2013, 04:00:31 PM »
I'd think breaking the neck might have some small effect on the viability of the spinal cord.  Just sayin'.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2013, 04:01:57 PM »
Well the cord is severed.  Not sure how intact the cord must be since they are going to severe the head anyway.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 04:07:18 PM »
He mentions an ultra-sharp scalpel (I did a quickie read-through on the article).  I imagine there's a difference in the comparative amount of trauma inflicted by snapping the neck from surgically cutting the cord.  At least, I know there's a difference if I break string or tear paper with my hands instead of cutting it with scissors.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 04:16:10 PM »
Huh...body procurement would be hard.

Offline gaggedLouiseTopic starter

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2013, 04:26:15 PM »
I'd think breaking the neck might have some small effect on the viability of the spinal cord.  Just sayin'.

I stand corrected.  ;D

Offline ralia

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2013, 08:40:09 PM »
To be entirely honest (and ignoring the legal/ethical/cost questions that arise about a donor...), the idea of a new body intrigues me from a transgender standpoint.  A fully functional body that could get pregnant, or get someone else pregnant, would really be a positive for a lot of people looking to transition but maybe are unsure about the completeness of the results of altering their body--needing to transition the face/head instead of the whole body becomes a very different ballgame in that regard.

Perhaps for some individuals like that, there could be a body trade system in place?  With two willing volunteers.

I mean, until we all just become robots.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2013, 02:14:00 AM »
Imagine having to handle the thought - on the part of the family of a donor - that you might get to see the body of your loved one, recognize instantly its shape, its muscles, and some of the patterns of movement you knew when that person was alive - but then it's another person, a completely different one. "Ain't that Caroline over there?" - "No, umm... it isn't  it's..."

This part intrigues me the most. The first question that came to mind was that of self. If I suddenly have someone else's body from the chin down, how might it affect my sense of self? I might feel like I was still me mentally but not physically. When I look at myself, I'd see someone else's body. I can't help but wonder if that person would be likely to experience some confusion regarding this obvious contradiction?

I have to wonder if sex might be awkward - knowing that when you touch yourself, its really someone else, or knowing that when you are complimented on your body, its really someone else's monster dick or double d's that the other person is wowed by. Could you really call self gratification masturbation since you are kind of giving someone else ( a dead person ) a hand job in doing so?  o.O

( Yes, I'm only being half serious here )

Interesting stuff...


Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2013, 07:49:32 AM »
I'm not a neuro-scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but surely I'd think that you could only fit somehwat same-age brains into about same-age bodies? When I say 'around' the same age, I'm reffering to a tops 20 years gap, between people of which the oldest would be around 60.

I don't think this would ever cause anyone to be able to extend their life through the use of new bodies, at least not on a huge scale, because you have to remember that this person would have to 'bring' his/her brain along for the ride every time, and that on it's own sounds quite risky to me. Then there is the psychological impact of someone creating a new identity every 50 years - How long would it be until you start forgetting who you once were and where you came from? Already around the age of 30-40 the average person will start to forget about their motives and the factors that shaped their identity in their early-to-mid teen years, simply because you've already overstretched your brains capacity for information at that point.

You also have to keep in mind that the brain, like any other organ, has an infant stage, evolves, matures and eventually, deteriorates. Anyone who would be at risk of amnesia, or other mental disorders that can be caused by brain degeneration, would probable still come to suffer from these issues, and one day the brain would simply stop functioning: It's not made with 200 years of use in mind.

I don't know - This is more me trying to fit it all in my own head, before someone takes it over, and I'm not a scientist, to please don't harass me if some of it doesn't add up. I've studied psychology at a medium level for two years at one point, so I can back a bit of it up, but I'm not here to start a fight.

Anyways, my oppinion on the matter? I think, much like the creator of the topic, that the extremely scary part is the idea of entire bodies, with the brain about to be, or already, surgically removed, for sale on the black market like any other organ. I think this is a very real concern, and it would happen. There are plenty of people exploiting poorer coomunities around the world, stealing their organs, or indeed their bodies, in the case of human traficking/forced prostitution. Unless we can make it so that you cannot steal a person, then our world is not ready for this kind of science yet.

And how would you pick the donors anyway? You men and women who died of matters that did not take an extensive toll on their body? Or does the subject have to be alive during this process, in which case, can they just signs a consent form and give their bodies away for 'adoption'? Is it fair to the parents of a young and pretty girl, sadly deceased, to have the risk of bumping into their -actual- daughter, in flesh and blood, but with some old hag's brain controlling it like it was a puppet?

I think this could open up wondrous opportunities, but those are outweighed by the horrors that it could bring.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2013, 03:48:11 PM »
As I'm reading this, I can't help thinking what a freaky, dramatic story one could make out of this.... Hot women and men nabbed, gagged, bound, and warehoused somewhere only to have their brains removed and replaced with those of more subservient, kinky, hosts... then sold as sex slaves to wealthy, powerful bidders. Add in all the mental confusion and identity issues, a male brain in a woman's body, perhaps one *altered* slave suddenly recognizing their new body given a tattoo or something ... jeez...



Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2013, 03:52:01 PM »
Or on the flip side, someone who needs to be 'disappeared' gets kidnapped, 'transplanted' into a new body that no one will recognize (maybe a 'hot one', possibly of the opposite sex), and forced into slavery (perhaps sexual).

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2013, 09:11:58 PM »
Hmm.. Is this very quickly becoming a rather interesting plot for anyone other than me?

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2013, 11:50:15 PM »
Hmm.. Is this very quickly becoming a rather interesting plot for anyone other than me?

xD

Perhaps if it was a male brain with a woman's body, he might for some reason have difficulty in mapping sensations in his/her breasts correctly and either not feel them at all or feel said sensations in the wrong places. Perhaps some breast bondage, nipple teasing, swatting and such would be used to train the dumb male brain to correctly associate the sensations with the physicals breasts and nipples. He/she might still feel his former penis even though its not really there ( like what some amputees go through ) and thus need a series of ad hoc *treatments* to force him/her to disassociate with the former member. Treatments might include public humiliation while sissified, scissoring, some form of knife play to reinforce the belief that there is no member there... that and repeated, vigorous fucking ( both orifices simultaneously )







Offline Oniya

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Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2013, 12:40:40 AM »
Ah - just a reminder.  This part of the forums is on the public side.  Please take graphic plotting to a more appropriate venue.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Transplanting the human head/brain
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2013, 12:42:18 AM »
Oops... sorry xD