The comeback of “Modern Prometheus”

Do you know Dr Frankenstein?

It’s the character of a story written by Mary Shelly in 1818; Frankenstein” or “The Modern Prometheus” , about a young scientist fascinated by life; creates a monster after collecting each part of the body from different corpses and bringing them together. It’s pure science fiction. Who would believe that!

picture from Google

Brace yourselves, now what you have read will be brought to life. And no, it doesn’t concern bringing all the body parts together, it’s just transplanting one thing: The head. “The head transplant surgery”. It sounds insane doesn’t it? Well, not to Dr Sergio Canavero, who thinks that by this surgery he will open new opportunities and possibilities that didn’t exist before. He wants to shed the light on what seems impossible in the medical field and make it possible.

When the news first came out, the Italian neurosurgeon, was planning on preforming the surgery this year on the Russian scientist, Valery Spiridonov, who is suffering from a rare muscular disease, but now it has been announced that the first volunteer will be Chinese; since the surgery will take place in china. The doctor claims that he has been preparing for decades in order to preform the transplantation, that will last for 36 hours, regrouping 150 medical stuff.

Here is what will happen :

picture from Google

The volunteer’s head will be transplanted to another body, which will be the donor’s, who is a dead brain patient.

First they will freeze the head to protect the brain cells, then they will move to cut the neck : the skin, muscles, arteries, veins, esophagus and trachea. Doing all that isn’t the problem. So why is it considered surreal? Well, the critical part which received a lot of negative comments from doctors and scientists is: cutting the spinal cord and attaching it to the donor’s body. If this part fails, the person may suffer from madness, or other dangerous consequences which may lead to death. However, Dr Sergio Canavero seems to be very confident about the surgery, saying that it will succeed by 90% . The doctor claims that he found a way to prevent all that by following these three steps :

- Cutting the spinal cords by a knife made of diamonds to give a neat cut for both patients.

- Sticking both parts together — the volunteer’s head with the donor’s body- by a substance called PEG which he calls the glue.

- Reanimating the nerves by an electric shock.

Even though he has presented some research papers about a paralyzed dog that went through the same process, showing that after the surgery everything was fine and it was recovering, scientists remain unconvinced, since there are a lot of details missing leaving the surgery a big mystery.

However, Dr Sergio Canavero doesn’t seem to be affected by what his colleagues say, since he is determined to operate on the volunteer.

What will happen ? Will the surgery fail or succeed?

To answer the question, we have to wait a few months.