The controversial Italian physician Sergio Canavero claims he’s efficiently carried out a human head transplant, demonstrating that the method is prepared for primetime. At a press convention on Friday morning, the Italian neurosurgeon reported that, in an 18-hour surgical procedure, he transplanted a head onto a corpse in China, proving that it’s attainable to attach blood vessels, nerves, and the backbone. Canavero, the director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has talked a giant recreation for years about his plans to transplant human heads, and he says this newest achievement proves it may be completed.
In the Telegraph on Friday, Canavero stated that an operation on a dwelling human will occur very quickly.
“The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done. A full head swap between brain dead organ donors is the next stage,” he stated. “And that is the final step for the formal head transplant for a medical condition which is imminent.”
There’s loads of motive to not consider Canavero, who has been making these outrageous claims for years, a lot to the chagrin of the worldwide medical and scientific group. This newest announcement builds on his earlier declare, in January 2016, that he’d transplanted a monkey head. Then as now, nevertheless, he by no means supplied sufficient proof to persuade the scientific group. When Inverse beforehand reported on Canavero, reporter Ben Guarino known as his purpose of transplanting a dwelling human head onto the physique of a brain-dead particular person “not bading likely,” and this newest announcement does little to regulate our evaluation.
The 18-hour surgical procedure took half so long as Canavero beforehand estimated, which he attributes to time-saving methods of his crew of Chinese colleagues, led by Dr. Xiaoping Ren. Once once more, Canavero didn’t present proof of the profitable operation, although he did say a paper can be made public within the subsequent few days.
So far, the papers linked to his badysis that he has managed to publish in peer-reviewed journals embody solely a handful in Surgery, which had been fastidiously edited to focus particularly on Canavero’s remedies for traumatic spinal-cord damage, and a collection printed within the controversial journal Surgical Neurology International, during which he lays out his concept of “head anastomosis venture” — or HEAVEN, for brief.
Subsequent procedures will likely be carried out in China, stated Canavero, because the “Americans did not understand.” Canavero, whose work frequently pushes the boundaries of medical ethics, appears to ascertain himself as a contemporary model of Copernicus or Galileo, somebody who’s to date forward of his time that he seems heretical. But it’s extra probably that he’s merely promoting snake oil.
In 2015, when Canavero first got here on the scene, outspoken medical ethicist Arthur Caplan instructed Forbes that the physician is out of his thoughts, and that his purpose was unattainable and irresponsible. “It is both rotten scientifically and lousy ethically,” wrote Caplan.
Inverse reported earlier this yr that Canavero stated he’d be capable to thaw cryonically preserved brains in 2018. Now, simply as then, Canavero has completed nothing to encourage any confidence in his claims.
Nonetheless, he’s discovered a prepared topic in a Russian laptop scientist named Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from Werdnig Hoffman illness, a muscle situation that leaves him wheelchair-bound. Spiridinov’s situation is debilitating, and he deserves an opportunity at life if he can get one, however this process shouldn’t be probably to offer him greater than an accelerated and ugly demise.
If Canavero needs to show himself to the medical group, he ought to make incremental advances, like connecting nerves in folks with severed spinal cords. But as an alternative, he’s setting his purpose on the very peak of what could possibly be achievable, and as such, he’s prone to fall flat.