Scientists have carried out a head transplant on a human corpse, the neurosurgeon behind the operation has announced.
At a press conference in Vienna, Austria, Sergio Canavero said his team was able to remove the head from one body and connect it to the body of another by fusing the spine, nerves and blood vessels. He said the next step will be to carry out the operation on a living person.
"For too long nature has dictated her rules to us,” Canavero said at a press conference. “We're born, we grow, we age and we die. For millions of years humans has evolved and 100 billion humans have died. That's genocide on a mass scale. We have entered an age where we will take our destiny back in our hands. It will change everything. It will change you at every level.”
Canavero said he will soon perform the world’s first human head transplant in China because medical communities in the United States and Europe would not permit the controversial procedure.
He said the Chinese government and Xiaoping Ren, a Chinese doctor partnering with him on the procedure, would confirm the surgery's date "within days" to signal its goal of becoming a world leader in all fields, including medicine.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to restore China to greatness. He wants to make it the sole superpower in the world. I believe he is doing it," Canavero said.
There are, as you might imagine, a number of massive obstacles to successfully completing a head transplant surgery. 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.