ABSTRACT breaks down mind-bending scientific analysis, future tech, new discoveries, and main breakthroughs.
The human mind is an incredible piece of organic equipment answerable for every thing from dreaming up Shakespeare’s sonnets to the muscle coordination of scoring a World Cup-winning objective. Yet, even when our brains stay spry into our previous age, our our bodies usually don’t. What if we changed them?
That’s the concept of controversial neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, who claims in a recent article that it might be “technically feasible” to stave off getting old by merely scooping out an individual’s mind and plopping it right into a youthful, extra agile physique. The article, referred to as “Whole brain transplantation in man: Technically feasible” was revealed in Surgical Neurology International (SNI), a peer-reviewed journal the place Canavero serves as an editor.
If this process is ringing any bells, it might be as a result of Canavero put ahead an analogous thought in 2015 that proposed a full head transplant. The declare was bombastic, extremely controversial, and, when he later stated he had discovered a volunteer to bear the process, grew to become worldwide information. It grew to become such a sensation that it was part of a Metal Gear Solid–associated conspiracy concept. Many medical doctors disregarded the process as not based mostly in present science, and it has not been accomplished in a reside human topic so far.
Canavero advised Motherboard in an e-mail that head transplants “work,” and that his earlier work was only a stepping stone to a mind transplant.
“A human head transplant was the intermediate step towards a brain transplant. Since the latter is considered impossible, I decided to focus on HT [head transplant], which is far simpler,” Canavero stated. “However, although I can tell you HT works, unfortunately it does not rejuvenate aged head tissues, including the eyes. BT [Brain transplant] is the only option.”
Canavero’s claims concerning head transplants have been troublesome to confirm. In 2017, SNI revealed work by Canavero and Chinese colleague Xiaoping Ren—who can be on SNI’s editorial board—reporting a head transplant rehearsal with human cadavers. A reside volunteer topic, a Russian man with a genetic degenerative muscle atrophying illness, pulled out of the deliberate process in 2019. Also in that yr, SNI revealed work by Canavero and Ren claiming to report successful spinal cord repair in animals.
Canavero advised Motherboard he’s not free “to talk about the HT project that unfolded in China, other than saying it works.”
In his newest paper—which is co-edited by himself and Ren—Canavero describes the way to theoretically take away one individual’s mind to put it into the cranium of both a clone or a donated and brain-dead “immunoconditioned” physique. In addition to describing a “robotic scoop with retractable tines” that will pluck the brains from their skulls, Canavero additionally offers potential options to a number of excellent questions surrounding mind transplants, together with nerve and vascular reconnection strategies.
“The unavailability of technologies that can successfully rejuvenate an aged body suggests that it is time to explore other options,” the paper notes. “Contrary to common lore, a full BT is achievable, at least theoretically. Of course, further extensive cadaveric rehearsals will be necessary, followed by tests in brain-dead organ donors (as e.g., done recently in kidney xenotransplants). New surgical tools will have to be developed. With appropriate funding, a long-held dream may finally come true.”
The final objective of such a process could be to increase the variety of years an individual may get pleasure from residing in a “pristine body,” Canavero writes in his paper. This reasoning just isn’t dissimilar to that utilized by CRISPR advocates who suggest utilizing the know-how on embryos to snip out undesirable genetics that will result in bodily or psychological disabilities—a objective which some consultants have flagged as being a revival of eugenics.
Problematic or not, there’s large curiosity in extending human life, and a whole department of science and pseudoscience devoted to “transhumanism” and life extension, together with amongst Silicon Valley elite. These strategies embrace every thing from taking particular substances to “young blood” transfusions, cryogenics, and makes an attempt to recreate people as immortal AI. Thus far, these makes an attempt haven’t included having one’s mind transplanted right into a clone of themselves.
There are nonetheless main questions on whether or not or not what Canavero proposes would ever really work in a residing human being (particularly since a part of the answer hinges on growing human clones), however his claims will certainly proceed to seize the curiosity—and horror—of the general public.