Controversial Italian doctor Sergio Canavero claims he's carried out the world's first successful human head transplant, albeit on a corpse. Like when he claimed to have successfully transplanted a monkey's head a year ago.
Canavero did not present any evidence of the claims, though he promised that a scientific paper with details would be released in the "next few day", Newsweek reports.
"The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done", he said in a video posted to Facebook. The scientist, who claimed in 2015 that the full-body transplant in humans would happen within two years, is now claiming that he has "successfully" transplanted a human head onto a dead body.
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He also pointed out that a human head transplant surgery can be carried out in 18 hours, the timeframe his team has set for itself. "But the surgery was successful", he said, according to The Telegraph.
A Russian man identified as Valery Spiridinov has reportedly registered with him for a head transplant. Not only would head and neck tissue, nerve cells, and spinal cords have to be grafted together to create functional units; the patient going through such an extensive procedure would have to stay alive for long enough for it to work and then have to hope that his or her new body doesn't reject the head of a biological stranger.
The Italian neurosurgeon continued: "The first human head transplant, in the human mode, has been realised".
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A "high number" of people have volunteered to be his first patient, he says.
And as neuroscience Dr. Dean Burnett points out in a scathing op-ed, Canavero's outsized claims about past successes may not exactly align with the realities of his accomplishments. "Everyone said it was impossible, but the operation worked", he said.
"And that is the final step for the formal head transplant for a medical condition which is imminent", he told a conference in Vienna, according to The Telegraph, which first reported the news.
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But the medical community has looked at the surgery and the spectacle surrounding it with horror.