Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/3/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

While it's been unsuccessful in animal experiments, Sergio Canavero says he's improved procedure

In what sounds like a science-fiction novel come to life - "Frankenstein," maybe? - an Italian scientist says he is close to being able to transplant one person's head to another human body. Scientist Sergio Canavero says he's come up with the theoretical process to complete the first human head transplant in history. The process would have practical application to those suffering from muscular dystrophy or tetraplegics with widespread organ failure.

Completing a head transplant is reported to be 'incredibly tedious,' and the spinal cord fusion hasn't been tested. Such procedures were replicated in the classic grade-Z film 'The Brain That Wouldn't Die.'

Completing a head transplant is reported to be "incredibly tedious," and the spinal cord fusion hasn't been tested. Such procedures were replicated in the classic grade-Z film "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

7/3/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Human head transplants, spinal cords, cheating death, ethical

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Head transplants have been attempted since the 1950s, when Russian scientist Vladimir Demikhov experimented with dogs. American neurosurgeon Robert White conducted a successful head transplant by moving the head of one monkey to the body of another 20 years later. The monkey lived for several days, but because White could not connect the two spinal cords, the monkey eventually died.

Canavero describes in a recent paper a step to connect donor and recipient spinal cords, which is the one component missing from previous procedures as the technology had not yet been invented. "Tomorrow is today," Canavero says. "What was impossible can happen now."

Completing a head transplant is reported to be "incredibly tedious," and the spinal cord fusion hasn't been tested. Despite the procedure's name, the recipient would be receiving a new body, not a new head. Both the body-recipient and the body-donor's heads are severed before the recipient's is attached to a new body.

To complete the procedure, the head would have to be cooled to between 55 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The two heads must be cut at exactly the same time and in the same operating room. Surgeons then have one hour to connect the head to the donor body, which is also cooled and placed under cardiac arrest.

Canavero's new development to connect the spinal cords is called the GEMINI procedure, during which surgeons cut the cooled spinal cords with extremely sharp blades.

"It is this 'clean cut' the key to spinal cord fusion, in that it allows proximally severed axons to be 'fused' with their distal counterparts," Canavero wrote in his paper.

Chemicals such as polyethylene glycol, or PEG can then be used to immediately fuse the spinal cords. "PEG is easy to administer and has a strong safety record in man," Canavero writes.

Once the spinal cords of the recipient and donor are successfully connected, the body's heart can be restarted, pumping blood into the brain, and "normal temperatures will be reached within minutes."

According to Canavero, if he receives the necessary funding - about $30 million, the surgery would be possible within two years. There is still much work to be done as the spinal cord fusion needs to be tested. He says he has not yet addressed the ethical aspects of the procedure.

Canavero admits the procedure could lead to a moral dilemma. A head transplant could provide a possible cure for those with conditions that leave the brain functioning while affecting the rest of the body, like progressive muscular dystrophies, or even cancer.

"These are a source of huge suffering, with no cure at hand," Canavero writes. People wishing for quick and easy immortality could hypothetically undergo the surgery to acquire a younger body, he says.

"The problem is regulating a procedure that has the power to, I would say, disrupt society," Canavero says.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Health

Buying your way to immortality? British super-rich engaging in experimental schemes Watch

Image of Omniya clinic in Knightsbridge offers lots of costly items that prolong youth - and in some cases, life itself.


Money, they say, cannot buy happiness - but many of England's super rich are investing in cellular rejuvenation to buy themselves some extra years on their mortality clock. Omniya clinic in Knightsbridge offers lots of costly items that prolong youth - and in ... continue reading

3 things you need to know NOW about the 'last resort' drug Watch

Image of


The number of drug-resistant infections has been increasing over the past decade, to the point where hospitals must now turn to what is called a "last resort" drug. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Everyone knows that it is important to take antibiotics according to ... continue reading

Editas Medicine to create the first genetically modified HUMANS in 2017 Watch

Image of Editing genes can cure disease, but it also raises new ethical questions.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The first genetically modified humans could exist within just two years, according to an American biotech firm that plans to begin trials on humans. The groundbreaking treatments could cure a number of major ailments, but could also be used for more sinister purposes ... continue reading

Groundbreaking blood test predicts kidney disease FIVE YEARS BEFORE symptoms appear Watch

Image of A simple blood test can predict kidney disease five years before kidney damage begins.


Kidney disease affects 3.9 million adults across America, resulting in the deaths of 47,112 people. While current blood tests are able to detect renal disease at the onset of symptoms, a new blood test can predict a patient's risk of developing chronic kidney disease ... continue reading

TERMINAL TAPEWORM: Colombian man found to have tapeworm that contributed cancer cells Watch

Image of Intestinal parasites that latch into human hosts, tapeworms are easily treated with medication and usually don't pose any overt health threats.


Intestinal parasites that latch into human hosts, tapeworms are easily treated with medication and usually don't pose any overt health threats. However, a HIV-positive Colombian man was found upon biopsy to have had a tapeworm that carried a host of cancerous ... continue reading

Drugs deadlier than guns, firearms: Where is the War on Drugs really fought? The answer will CREEP you out Watch

Image of Prescription drug overdose is a major killer in the United States.


Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, with 46,471 people dying in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.  But there is one thing that nobody realizes about the War on Drugs, ... continue reading

Toddler's aggressive cancer unbelievably cured with experimental treatment never-before-used on humans Watch

Image of Layla Richards survived an aggressive form of leukaemia after being treated with genetically engineered immune cells (GOSH/PA).


The first person in the world to be treated with a cure for cancer was a British baby named Layla Richards. Richards had an aggressive case of leukemia and no other treatments worked so the family turned to the experimental genetically engineered immune cells that had ... continue reading

'They can't scream': Terrifying new revelation from mother and daughter who PERFORM genital mutilations on little girls Watch

Image of Over one-million girls and women in the US and Europe alone have been affected by FGM.


Female genital mutilation has been outlawed in most countries, but in Nairobi, Kenya the practice remains ongoing. The gruesome "surgery" is done by "cutters," who work on African natives as well as young British girls who undergo the horrific procedure during their ... continue reading

101 shocking things that cause cancer - You won't believe #19! Watch

Image of The World Health Organization provided a list of 116 chemicals and activities that show signs they could cause cancer.


The World Health Organization, also known as WHO, has compiled a list of 101 things that can cause cancer -and the list may surprise you. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - WHO officials claim 50 grams of processed meat each day, which amounts to less than a single ... continue reading

The shocking story of how one woman became a zombie - and came back to tell the tale Watch

Image of


A rare illness dubbed "walking corpse syndrome" leaves people living as if they were zombies. Patients are unable to relate to the world around them, often believe they have died and often suffer depression. Esmé Weijun Wang wrote the essay "Perdition Days," in which ... continue reading

All Health News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, November 29, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More