Technology aHEAD of its Time?

Tyler Davis (12th), Reporter

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It might seem like something straight out of a horror story but this december the Italian Neurosurgeon, Dr. Sergio Canavero, will be performing the controversial operation of a human head transplant on a voluntary subject, a russian man named Valery Spiridonov. Here is why the operation will be next to impossible.

Let me preface this by saying that most of the scientific community is against this procedure, they believe that it is unfeasible and morally questionable.

“The result would be, at best, a shambling horror, an animal driven mad with pain and terror, crippled and whimpering, and a poor advertisement for his experiment. And most likely what he’d have is a collection of corpses that suffered briefly before expiring.” Paul Zachary Myers

With that out of the way we can delve into the more scientific reasons behind it.

If it was not obvious by the title of the procedure a few heads will be chopped off during the surgery, well I guess the property wordage would be “surgically removed.” That might be a bit of a stretch considering the implications of removing one’s head from their body under “normal circumstances.”

If you haven’t guessed the surgery will be quite complicated. Needing to be done within one hour, the surgical teams will need to remove the heads of both the patient and the donor, hooking up the head of the patient to the life support of the donor, and then connecting all of the severed nerves, blood vessels, and other parts that way the patient may have a chance to survive.

Although this is all just a big if situation because the scientific field does not have many recorded successful head transplant operations. There has been previous experimentation on animals in the past with less than desirable results for most of the poor critters.

Looking past the procedure’s terrible track record and the fact that there has never been a recorded attempt to perform this surgery on a human aside we can get to some of the more noticeable problems with the transplant.

The donor’s body and the patient’s head could react adversely to one another once the procedure is finished and not even function correctly. Just because the surgeons are connecting the severed nerves together does not mean that they will immediately be able to send messages from the patient’s brain to the donor’s body. There’s a chance that the nerves may never be able to connect properly, leaving the patient paralyzed for the rest of their life.

Along with the problems with the nervous system there is a highly likely chance that the donor’s immune system will not play well with the cells within the patient’s head. The surgeons will need to administer heavy doses of drugs that will inhibit the immune system response in the patient’s new ”body.” This will leave the recipient of the procedure with a weakened immune system for the rest of their life, making them greatly susceptible to outside invaders. If the procedure doesn’t kill them then another disease could.
If the surgery is a success by some form of medical miracle, the patient will most likely live the rest of their life paralyzed  while on immune system suppressing  medication and being referred to as a living Frankenstein by the rest of the medical community.

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Technology aHEAD of its Time?