Most people who read this blog know by now that my brain does not function like normal people’s brains. How do I know this? Because when something really strange is in the news, who do ya think gets a heads up about it? Yep……yours truly.
As evidenced by fellow blogger John Roycroft who sent me a “heads up” alert on something he knew I wouldn’t be able to resist writing a blog about. Kinda like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit.
BUT, I may be brain deficient, (and like carrots) but keep in mind that HE read the story as well.
Here was John’s Facebook post:
“So I read an article that says we are only a couple of years away from successful human head transplants. I just can’t seem to get my mind around why we need to do that. What possible reason would there be to get a head replacement? I suppose it could be an option for those transgender people. Give them a normal thinking head. Although why waste a perfectly good head on someone with a mental disorder? After all, then you get stuck with a head that has a mental disorder and just who the hell would want that? Which leaves the question of what do you do with all the heads that got swapped out? Head shops?!
Hey Richard Vittorioso (aka Misfit) There’s a hell of a blog idea for you. You’re welcome”
Geez…..thanks John. Why just the other day I said to myself, “Cripes, I wish I could get a head transplant.”
I wasn’t thinking about the one sitting on my shoulders if ya catch my drift.
Sorry…..couldn’t resist that one.
Alas, the “head transplants” we’re gonna talk about today are the ones that hold your eyeballs….among other things.
Enter Italian scientist Sergio Canavero, (obviously very high on olive oil or something) who works, or whatever, at the “Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group” …….(don’t EVEN ask, I have no freakin’ idea what the hell “neuromodulation” means) who sez, “his “Gemini” spinal fusion protocol could be used to extend the lives of patients suffering from progressive muscle and nerve diseases and terminal cancer.”
And is there a catch here…like..um….what’s up doc? What’s this new and groundbreaking idea that ya got that might extend patients lives?”
Wellll…….Sergio sez that he believes head transplants in humans are possible and that the first could occur as early as 2017.
Hang in there Bill O’Reilly…….help is on the way.
But……..most of his colleagues in the medical world are skeptical about the potential for this freaky surgery.
Geez……..go figure. Scientists think his idea for head transplant surgery is freaky? Obviously none of his colleagues have ever seen the movie “Young Frankenstein.” Duh.
Sooooo. What’s Dr. Franken….um…..sorry, I meant, Dr. Canavero presently doing to accomplish his goal and get a “head start” on any possible competition?
First of all he sez if he were ever to actually conduct the procedure, his first challenge would be to identify the right patients. One would need to be the recipient, a person who is mentally well but who has a body that is failing.
My first thought doc……………….
Which is very good news considering in those Frankenstein movies ya always have to go out on a dark night with your creepy assistant Igor, dig up a dead body, and drag it back to the lab. Verrrry messy.
So how does Sergio propose getting around that Digger O’Dell stuff in the dead of night?
Well, simple. The suitable donor body would need to come from a brain-dead patent. (For his first try, Canavero plans to use two brain-dead patients.)
Any volunteers? Suggestions? Anybody you know personally that may be presently brain-dead. Ex wives….bosses….a politician perhaps…….or MY first thought…………..
Sooooooooooo, exactly what does this procedure involve? (not for the squeamish)
To quote the article by CBS News:
“Both the recipient’s head and the donor’s body would need to be cooled sufficiently to allow more time for the cells to survive without an oxygen supply. The recipient’s head would then be connected to the donor’s body. The two ends of the spinal cords are then fused together by flushing the area with polyethylene glycol. Studies have shown that this chemical can help promote regrowth of cells that make up the spinal cord.”
I think I’m gonna barf……………………….
“The muscles and blood supply would then be joined and the patient kept in a coma for three to four weeks to prevent movements. Implanted electrodes would be used to stimulate the spinal cord in order to encourage the body to strengthen new nerve connections. He says fusion could also be achieved by injecting stem sells or olfactory ensheathing cells, which make up the linking of the nose and brain.”
Why is it images of Walt Disney’s head comes to mind? Anybody know if he’s still on ice somewhere?
Ok…..so the Doc goes on to say that he’s got most of the details nailed. Or glued. Or whatever he’s gonna use to securely attach a head.
He went on to explain it further:
“The type of surgical knife could make the difference between a head transplant that’s a success or failure because there is a risk of damaging the spinal cords attached to both the body and head. “A specially fashioned diamond microtomic snare-blade is one option; a nanoknife made of a thin layer of silicon nitride with a nanometer sharp cutting edge is another alternative,” Canavero writes in his paper. “Notably, the mechanical strength of silicon is superior to that of steel.”
Um, so much for trying this at home. Unless you have one of those really neat but expensive knife sets.
However, as always, there’s always someone standing in the wings ready to put a damper on things. Step front and center Patricia Scripko, (no relation to the people who make Scripto pens) who is a neurologist and bioethicist at the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System in California who, again from the article, thinks many in the medical community fear this surgery could eventually be used for the wrong reasons.
“If a head transplant were ever to take place, it would be very rare. It’s not going to happen because someone says ‘I’m getting older, I’m arthritic, maybe I should get a body that works better and looks better.”
Damn! So much for any of us thinking we could dump our old run down bodies and just slap our present heads on. Or, dump our old heads and slap a new body on.
Um….wait…..I don’t think I’d opt for that last one there. Hmmmm.
This DOES require some thought here. Don’t wanna screw up like my friend Irwin did on his transplant………………
This is soooo confusing. If I opt to dump my body and have my present head transplanted on to a new body, um, do I get to pick out which body I want? Do I have a choice of genders? (not that “I’d” opt to switch genders but there are a lot of pervs out there who ARE thinking that)
And just so you don’t think this is a lot of baloney, or salami, (your choice of meat here) more quotes from the article:
“In 1950s, a scientist in the Soviet Union, Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov, was the first to try out a version of head transplant surgery on dogs when he created a two-headed canine. Demikhov fused the head and hind legs of a puppy to a larger canine. Both dogs died a few days later from immune system rejection.”
“A story published in Time magazine in 1955 described the scene as the researchers presented the animal at meeting of the Moscow Surgical Society: “On the platform close to the guests of honor stood a large white dog, wagging its tail. From one side of its neck protruded the head of a small brown puppy. As the surgeons watched, the puppy’s head bit the nearest white ear. The white head snarled.”
Moral: Never bite the hand that transplants your head. Or something to that effect.
Me….I’m not really into thinking about having a head transplant. Unless it’s that “other” head I mentioned earlier in this blog. And only because I figure if they can, (thinking of the Lorena Bobbitt episode) successfully transplant THAT head at least my present head, (the one on my shoulders) will still remember what the old “head” couldn’t do and how much more the “new head” will be able to do.
And don’t EVEN think that “I” was the only guy thinking that. Including you John Roycroft.
P.S. My apologies for the length of this blog….I lost my head.
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