Last year it was announced that Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero would be performing the first ever human head transplant on a 30-year-old Russian man, Valery Spiridonov (seen on Good Morning Britain earlier this year in the above clip), who suffers from a rare and severe form of spinal muscular atrophy that has rendered him disabled. This is all despite very chilling warnings that Spiridonov may end up suffering a fate worse than death. Well, the good news is– actually, there’s no good news, but the bad news is that this is still happening, apparently.
Since we last heard about this story, Canavero claims that he’s performed successful head transplants on both a monkey and a dog (the latter of which you can read about in horrifying deal here), as well as reconnected severed spinal cords on mice. Practice makes perfect, after all! You can never be too careful when it comes to human head transplants.
Canavero plans to move forward with the procedure sometime in late 2017, likely in the UK. In the meantime however, he’s planning to prep his patient to the “unexpected psychological reactions” of waking up in a new body with a sophisticated virtual reality system designed expressly for this purpose by the Chicago-based tech firm, Inventum Bioengineering Technologies. The system was unveiled Friday during the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow conference in Scotland.
“This virtual reality system prepares the patient in the best possible way for a new world that he will be facing with his new body,” Canavero said. “A world in which he will be able to walk again.”
If you’re wondering what the VR setup might look like, Inventum Bioengineering Technologies helpfully shared not-at-all freaky images on the company’s Facebook page:
Human head transplants. It’s really happening, people. So much for hoping 2017 would be better than 2016, anyway.
(Via Science Alert)