Since the 1960s and 1970s, doctors and neurosurgeons have been successfully attaching the heads of dogs and monkeys to different bodies.
The earliest Russian experiments using dogs are actually pretty well-known. The problem has not been keeping the head alive, but instead reconnecting the spinal cord of the donor head and recipient body.
Now, a newly published report published by Sergio Canavaro in Surgical Neurology International proposes to solve the problem of spinal cord incompatibility. He suggests a form of clean-cut technique and synthetic fusion using materials like PEG. He explains it in his report in saying:
“It is this “clean cut” [which is] the key to spinal cord fusion, in that it allows proximally severed axons to be ‘fused’ with their distal counterparts. This fusion exploits so-called fusogens/sealants….[which] are able to immediately reconstitute (fuse/repair) cell membranes damaged by mechanical injury, independent of any known endogenous sealing mechanism.”
The possibility of combining a the head from dying body and connecting it with a fresh but recently deceased body, could call for a whole new kind of organ donor card. In vivo evidence of reconnecting the spinal cord was recently attained by scientists at the Cleveland Clinic and associated university using rats.
Of course, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of dead bodies and severed heads. Its use will likely first come when dealing with people who have lost their heads in accidents. The idea is not too far fetched, since other dramatic reattachments have succeeded.
Still, the research points to greater possibilities for healing the paralyzed. Although we are years away from being able to transplant a human head at an estimated cost of $10 million, we are much closer to being able to help paralyzed patients fully regain use of their bodies.