In a rather bold announcement before the media recently, Dr. Ren Xiaoping, a Chinese doctor plans full human head transplant soon and is already forming his team of doctors who will assist him in this rather complex surgical operation, but no time frame has been provided yet.
As doctor plans full human head transplant, volunteers express interest as subjects
Also known by many as Dr. Frankenstein due to his bold statements of performing this rather unprecedented move in medical history, the scientific community is divided on their views regarding this endeavor.
Xiaoping said they plan to sever two heads from bodies and connect the blood vessels of the deceased donor to the recipient’s head, where a metal plate will be placed to stabilize the neck and immerse the spinal cord nerve endings on a preserving substance that will stimulate them to connect.
The maverick doctor gained notoriety as Dr. Frankenstein after he announced he conducted a head transplant on a monkey that survived for 20 hours after the procedure was conducted and was euthanized for controversial ethical reasons.
But even with the growing negative reaction from many quarters, there are several people volunteering themselves as the subjects for the operation. Including a 62- year old man paralyzed from the neck down back in 2009.
The doctor said that they expect to have many obstacles throughout the planning and conduct of the procedure, including a large amount of criticisms from many quarters of society.
“Would a brain integrate new signals, perceptions, information from a body different from the one it was familiar with? I think the most likely result is insanity or severe mental disability,” says Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at the New York University, Langone Medical Center.
“Brain transplantation is not ready for prime time. To attempt to move a brain to a new body given what is known about the medicine and science involved, one would have to be out of one’s mind,” Dr. Caplan pointed out, indicating that there is a distinct possibility that Dr. Xiaoping would be deterred from his plans to push through with the procedure as the Chinese has been known for their poor adherence of medical ethics.
“The Chinese system is not transparent in any way. I do not trust Chinese bioethical deliberation or policy. Add healthy doses of politics, national pride and entrepreneurship, and it is tough to know what is going on,” Dr. Caplan added.