UPDATE: As shocking as it may sound, an official date for the head transplant procedure has now been set. A 30-year-old Russian patient will undergo the operation in China in December 2017, according to Gizmodo.
*Original story can be found below*
We’ve found the guinea pig to end all guinea pigs, folks.
A 30-year-old Russian man has volunteered to become the very first person in the world to undergo a complete body transplant. That means his head will be completely removed and placed onto another person’s torso.
There’s just one little snag: Experts say the patient could experience something “a lot worse than death.”
The operation will be carried out by Italian surgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero. He expects it to last approximately 36 hours and involve a whopping 150 doctors and nurses. The patient, meanwhile, currently suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman disease, which deteriorates muscles and, in some cases, can even leave victims paralyzed.
So while it’s clear why someone in his position would want to undergo such an operation, what’s not clear is how it will result.
Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Centre, told The Independent that Dr. Canavero is “nuts,” adding that a body attached to a new head “would end up being overwhelmed with different pathways and chemistry than they are used to and they’d go crazy.”
In other words, Caplan is arguing that this operation could usher in a level of insanity never before seen.
A body transplant was already performed on a monkey 45 years ago, but it only survived for eight days before its new body rejected the head.
The operation is expected to be completed in 2017.