Italian eccentric neurosurgeon, Sergio Canavero, claimed to have successfully transplanted heads from a human corpse during a press conference on Friday (17/11/2017) in Vienna, Austria.
Canavero said the move was the last done before a head transplant in humans living paralyzed from the neck down.
"Human head transplants on bodies have been done for the first time," he said in a press conference video posted on Facebook.
He explained that he had exchanged heads on two corpses by replacing the heads of one corpse and putting it into another corpse.
"The inter-donor head exchanges of dead organs is the last step for human head transplantation for an imminent medical reason," Canavero said, as quoted by Newsweek, Sunday (19/11/2017).
Canavero called the operation for 18 hours at Harbin Medical University in China.
Doctors claim the team managed to reconnect the spinal cord, nerves, and blood vessels in the spine and neck. She also stimulates the corpse's nerves after undergoing surgical procedures to see if the transplant works.
The surgery is led by doctor Xiaoping Ren, a surgeon who previously performed rodent and monkey transplants.
However, Canavero did not disclose details of the operations they performed, such as how to remove heads from corpses or whether there were supporting equipment used in the operation. He even said he would publish a scientific paper with these details in the next few days.
The human head transplant plan has existed since 2015 and caused controversy. Not backing down, Canavero plans to do a head transplant in humans live December 2017 later.
He will hold operations in China because European and American authorities are not willing to support such experiments.
During that time span, Canavero used it to experiment on several animals. He cut off his head and then linked back to his spinal cord. He also wrote in detail in a paper how to create a series of double-headed rodents.
To realize his plan, a volunteer has signed up. He is a Russian computer scientist named Valery Spiridonov.
Spiridonov suffered from a rare motor nervous disease known as Werdnig-Hoffmann's disease, which caused his sufferers trouble moving, breathing, and swallowing. Most people with this disease die, but Spridonov belongs to a handful of people who can survive to adulthood.
In the press conference, Canavero will try to transplant the first two donor brain organs that have died before done in humans with paralysis from the neck down.
He calls the real purpose of this transplant not to heal the spine, but extend life.
"I extend my life time and hit the wall of life and death," he said in July, quoted by Science Alert.
Although Canavero has spent the last few years writing a scientific study of that achievement, there is still a continuing doubt.
Full of surgeon controversy
Since announcing his plan, Canavero has drawn much criticism. Most experts agree that what it will do is unreasonable.
There are also ethical concerns about the legality of such a procedure.
One of them came from Jerry Silver, professor of neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University Ohio. According to him, technically the head can be attached to a respirator where it can stay alive, but with tremendous pain.
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