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The World's First Head Transplant Is 1 Step Closer To Reality After A Successful Trial

Newsweek

An Italian scientist has defied the odds by completing the world's first head transplant.

The controversial surgery has been supposedly performed on a human corpse in an 18 hour operation, where Dr. Xiaoping Ren and his team of doctors of Harbin Medical University in China were ale to successfully connect the spine, nerves and blood vessels of two people, The Telegraph reports.  

As previously noted, Dr. Sergio Canavero - otherwise known as "Dr. Frankenstein" - announced at a press conference in Vienna an operation on a live human being is set to take place "imminently."

"The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done," Canavero said. "A full head swap between brain dead organ donors is the next stage."

Canavero, who is also the director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, also stated that society is now standing "on the brink of a revolution, not only in medicine but in human life as well."

Posted by Prof. Sergio Canavero, MD on Friday, November 17, 2017

“For too long nature has dictated her rules to us," Canavero said. "We’re born, we grow, we age and we die. For millions of years humans have evolved and 110 billion humans have died in the process. That’s genocide on a mass scale."

“We have entered an age where we will take our destiny back in our hands,” he added.

While an advancement in modern medicine, this isn't the first time Canavero has experimented on a live creature.

Earlier this year, Canavero made headlines when he published a study detailing how he attached the head of a mouse to the body of a rat, creating a series of two-headed animals.

The two-headed rats would live for an average of 36 hours following the operations, but he said keeping them alive wasn't the goal, but rather to prove there is hope to successfully carry out the surgery on humans in the future.

As expected, the medical community has opposed of the study, going as far to question the doctor's ethics.

In an interview with Daily Mail, Dr. James Fildes, the NHS principal research scientist at the University Hospital of South Manchester's Transplant Centre, said he morally opposes the research in its entirety.

"Unless Canavero or Ren provide real evidence that they can perform a head, or more appropriately, a whole body transplant on a large animal that recovers sufficient function to improve quality of life, this entire project is morally wrong," Fildes said.

Canavero claims head transplant surgeries will be conduced for the sole purpose of eradicating a neurological condition, as opposed to just extending an individual's life.

"This is a medical condition for people who are suffering awfully so it isn't a joke," he said.

The doctors said due to the amount of criticism of the operation, they believe the head transplant surgeries should remain local to China.

What do you think about the controversial surgery?

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com