Goro

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Even if it works, the patient will be a quadriplegic.
 

allantois

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Just watch China become the leader in biomedical research if GOP fanatics keep attacking research on stem cells among other things.
 
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Lawper

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Just watch China become the leader in biomedical research if GOP fanatics keep attacking research on stem cells among other things.
Politics aside, I don't think head transplant will pass the US ethics screening anytime soon. There are too many ethical and moral controversies involved (aside from the obvious immune rejection risks).
 

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Politics aside, I don't think head transplant will pass the US ethics screening anytime soon. There are too many ethical and moral controversies involved (aside from the obvious immune rejection risks).
And you think people undergoing first kidney/heart transplants were not concerned with immune rejections?
 
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Dr.Sticks

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Even if it works, the patient will be a quadriplegic.
It'd be a miracle if the patient became able after this.

Politics aside, I don't think head transplant will pass the US ethics screening anytime soon. There are too many ethical and moral controversies involved (aside from the obvious immune rejection risks).
If we are doing face transplants, I don't think we could reject this on grounds of ethics.
 

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Even if it works, the patient will be a quadriplegic.
My first thought also.

Sure, we can slice up and re-attach blood vessels and muscles and even small nerves. But until we can reconnect a severed spinal cord, this will remain a (dangerous) experiment and not a legitimate treatment for any condition.
 

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And you think people undergoing first kidney/heart transplants were not concerned with immune rejections?
I didn't say they weren't. Any transplant, especially involving critical organs, is always risky and susceptible to immune rejections. That's why personally in most cases, I'm not a fan of transplants for many reasons (not really suitable for the topic though).

If we are doing face transplants, I don't think we could reject this on grounds of ethics.
I mean, a main issue could concern the ownership of the head vs ownership of the body. And related dilemmas.
 

allantois

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My first thought also.

Sure, we can slice up and re-attach blood vessels and muscles and even small nerves. But until we can reconnect a severed spinal cord, this will remain a (dangerous) experiment and not a legitimate treatment for any condition.

His body will become quadriplegic eventually.

The guy is a hero as he is willing to take this enormous risk in order to help advance the frontier of medicine. I don't see why he should not be able to choose to undergo this operation.
 

NotYou20

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His body will become quadriplegic eventually.

The guy is a hero as he is willing to take this enormous risk in order to help advance the frontier of medicine. I don't see why he should not be able to choose to undergo this operation.
Assuming he knows and understands the risks, yeah. It's certainly possible that he's being manipulated. Assuming this is fully ethical, it's really cool. Presumably, we can at least learn from the problems that will inevitably happen
 

IslandStyle808

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Even if it works, the patient will be a quadriplegic.
Still recall the documentary where Dr. Robert White tried to transplant the head of one Rhesus monkey onto another. The result was that the monkey survived for a short while physiologically, but was quadriplegic as result. I mean you got a "neurosurgeon" doing the surgery, make me wonder if the subject being paralyzed ever occurred to him.
 
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LizzyM

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It'd be a miracle if the patient became able after this.



If we are doing face transplants, I don't think we could reject this on grounds of ethics.
Think about the ethics of brain death vs cardiac death. Also, the complicated matter of maintaining circulation to the brain while decapitating the head-donor/body recipient.
 

StudyLater

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A physician I was shadowing actually showed me this a while back. I'd been thinking about this concept for a while, and even found a successful transplant done on dogs in the 90s. It's the kind of procedure, in my opinion, that we need to be doing if we ever hope to advance our medical capabilities.

I'm also hoping at some point artificial neurons can be specially produced and mapped to the brain's new body in the exact same configuration they were in the previous vessel.

This is the type of true experimentation that breeds unprecedented advancement.
 
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I didn't say they weren't. Any transplant, especially involving critical organs, is always risky and susceptible to immune rejections. That's why personally in most cases, I'm not a fan of transplants for many reasons (not really suitable for the topic though).



I mean, a main issue could concern the ownership of the head vs ownership of the body. And related dilemmas.
You're "not a fan" of transplants? I'm on mobile and can't see your status, I'm assuming premed?
 

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I didn't say they weren't. Any transplant, especially involving critical organs, is always risky and susceptible to immune rejections. That's why personally in most cases, I'm not a fan of transplants for many reasons (not really suitable for the topic though).



I mean, a main issue could concern the ownership of the head vs ownership of the body. And related dilemmas.
We currently have medications that are great at controlling the kind of acute rejection that would put a critical organ (say a heart of liver) at risk. Long term rejection is another story, but stuff like thymoglobulin is potent enough to basically shut down even the most aggressive rejection episodes. Hence why short term graft survival is actually very good (1 year survival of 90% for heart transplant; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133547/ ). Also as per the US Government and the United Network for Organ Sharing, ownership of head vs body is pretty black and white. Brain death is the universal determinant of death for organ donation, so a body donated after its brain is dead is not that ethically dubious. So I must ask, what exactly is your problem with transplants?

They actually already do something pretty similar to this, its called a multi-visceral transplant, where a person has their entire abdominal cavity transplanted. You can end up with the intestines, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and sometimes heart/lungs all being moved into a new person together. The only big hurdle with doing an entire head transplant is the neuronal issues. I dont buy it when they say "Glue" can fix it lol.
 
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StudyLater

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Am not. I don't even own a pair of black, square-rimmed stage glasses.

They actually already do something pretty similar to this, its called a multi-visceral transplant, where a person has their entire abdominal cavity transplanted. You can end up with the intestines, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and sometimes heart/lungs all being moved into a new person together. The only big hurdle with doing an entire head transplant is the neuronal issues. I dont buy it when they say "Glue" can fix it lol.
Who knows? Rebuilding the synaptic network may be doable one day.
 

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You're "not a fan" of transplants? I'm on mobile and can't see your status, I'm assuming premed?
Lol I mean i understand its importance in various scenarios, and would be happy to use it if the need arises based on the case (esp kidney and heart transplants). It's not that i would flat out reject (no pun intended) the option based on random ethical/moral issues, but it wouldn't be accurate to say that transplants aren't controversial/problematic.

We currently have medications that are great at controlling the kind of acute rejection that would put a critical organ (say a heart of liver) at risk. Long term rejection is another story, but stuff like thymoglobulin is potent enough to basically shut down even the most aggressive rejection episodes. Hence why short term graft survival is actually very good (1 year survival of 90% for heart transplant; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133547/ ). Also as per the US Government and the United Network for Organ Sharing, ownership of head vs body is pretty black and white. Brain death is the universal determinant of death for organ donation, so a body donated after its brain is dead is not that ethically dubious. So I must ask, what exactly is your problem with transplants?

They actually already do something pretty similar to this, its called a multi-visceral transplant, where a person has their entire abdominal cavity transplanted. You can end up with the intestines, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and sometimes heart/lungs all being moved into a new person together. The only big hurdle with doing an entire head transplant is the neuronal issues. I dont buy it when they say "Glue" can fix it lol.
Great to hear. I knew there were antirejection therapies involved but happy to see many proved to be helpful in assisting transplants.
 
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Lol I mean i understand its importance in various scenarios, and would be happy to use it if the need arises based on the case (esp kidney and heart transplants). It's not that i would flat out reject (no pun intended) the option based on random ethical/moral issues, but it wouldn't be accurate to say that transplants aren't controversial/problematic.
The biggest problem with transplants is a shortage of donor organs. The most controversial part of transplants is how to allocate our limited supply of donor organs. Transplants save lives
 
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Justtheworst

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Armchair scientists think it's possible but several doctors I asked think it's going to be a failure. In either case, the patient is a volunteer with a serious condition and the prospect of death during the procedure with a little side serving of hope is probably much more inviting than spending the rest of his life in a sarcophagus made of his own flesh. Like Goro, I think it's medically possible to connect the head but spinal cord connection is very unlikely. Ethics is mostly a question of "Should physician assisted death be allowed?" considering that the patient is completely fine with it. The biggest issue I have with it is that it's going to be a huge waste of money, time, and effort if (or when) it fails.
 

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The biggest problem with transplants is a shortage of donor organs. The most controversial part of transplants is how to allocate our limited supply of donor organs. Transplants save lives
That's why they are doing it in China, where apparently people on death row are considered organ donors.

Armchair scientists think it's possible but several doctors I asked think it's going to be a failure. In either case, the patient is a volunteer with a serious condition and the prospect of death during the procedure with a little side serving of hope is probably much more inviting than spending the rest of his life in a sarcophagus made of his own flesh. Like Goro, I think it's medically possible to connect the head but spinal cord connection is very unlikely. Ethics is mostly a question of "Should physician assisted death be allowed?" considering that the patient is completely fine with it. The biggest issue I have with it is that it's going to be a huge waste of money, time, and effort if (or when) it fails.
And yet spending hundreds of millions on developing failed pharmaceutical agents isn't a waste?
 

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In the US, the donor would have to be brain dead...so then there would be no brain activity after the transplant. Organs can be donated by patients who are not yet brain dead, but it is an expedited process. There would not be nearly enough time to remove the head on a patient that isn't brain dead and trached. It takes about 12 hours to remove just a face while the donor is still on the vent.
 

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Can you even live without a working vagus nerve?
Good Question. I am still boggled at how attaching a head to a body is physiologically possible, and how the body would now sustain this new head.
 

Justtheworst

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That's why they are doing it in China, where apparently people on death row are considered organ donors.



And yet spending hundreds of millions on developing failed pharmaceutical agents isn't a waste?
For the patient's family and the medical staff. Your argument would be better off pointing out the ridiculous amount of money spent on painfully prolonging the inevitable in terminal patients.*

*Edit: for patients without advanced directives or living wills whose families keep them on life support indefinitely.
 
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StudyLater

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For the patient's family and the medical staff. Your argument would be better off pointing out the ridiculous amount of money spent on painfully prolonging the inevitable in terminal patients.
Woooooowwwwwwwww
*premed freakout*
 

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Did you guys ever see that episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force where they tried to build a new body for Carl's severed head?



"Why do my knees feel like they want to tear up?"
 
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mimelim

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Think about the ethics of brain death vs cardiac death. Also, the complicated matter of maintaining circulation to the brain while decapitating the head-donor/body recipient.
I'll be honest, of everything that would be involved with a 'head' transplant (although I think 'body' transplant would be more accurate since I would define the individual by the head over the rest), the circulation would be the easiest part, by far. I mean we routinely block off flow to people's brains during our carotid work. TCDs go off, you shunt them and keep working. This would be no different except that you would be disconnecting carotids/verts/jugulars and putting them on a bypass until you can get them hooked into the donor body. Doing it sequentially would me little to no ischemia time.

As far as I'm concerned, that is about the only feasible part of this whole thing...
 
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LizzyM

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I'll be honest, of everything that would be involved with a 'head' transplant (although I think 'body' transplant would be more accurate since I would define the individual by the head over the rest), the circulation would be the easiest part, by far. I mean we routinely block off flow to people's brains during our carotid work. TCDs go off, you shunt them and keep working. This would be no different except that you would be disconnecting carotids/verts/jugulars and putting them on a bypass until you can get them hooked into the donor body. Doing it sequentially would me little to no ischemia time.

As far as I'm concerned, that is about the only feasible part of this whole thing...
That's where the article was crazy... they claim that the plan is to decapitate both parties with ultrafast blades. that doesn't sound like a painstaking process of putting the head on bypass.
 
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mimelim

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That's where the article was crazy... they claim that the plan is to decapitate both parties with ultrafast blades. that doesn't sound like a painstaking process of putting the head on bypass.
Ya... I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in this field, but that isn't going to work. Lol
 
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My first thought also.

Sure, we can slice up and re-attach blood vessels and muscles and even small nerves. But until we can reconnect a severed spinal cord, this will remain a (dangerous) experiment and not a legitimate treatment for any condition.
That depends on what you consider 'legitimate treatment'. For some conditions where the body literally wastes away, living as a quadriplegic may be seen as a far better option than dying a slow, painful death and being aware of it the entire time. Some people would even argue that death would be a feasible treatment in those cases, but that's a whole different conversation.

We could grow compatible donor organs in vitro.

You're welcome.
In theory.

We could also land a person on Mars, have world peace, and rely solely on renewable energy. But none of those are happening anytime soon.
We've already managed to grow functioning organs in lab settings. Being able to potentially use them for transplants is not nearly as far off as some may think it is and may be a very feasible option in the near future:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-ability-to-grow-living-organs-boosts-patient-transplant-hopes-9688828.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/scientists-work-grow-organs-transplants-article-1.1374818

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-28887087
 

StudyLater

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That depends on what you consider 'legitimate treatment'. For some conditions where the body literally wastes away, living as a quadriplegic may be seen as a far better option than dying a slow, painful death and being aware of it the entire time. Some people would even argue that death would be a feasible treatment in those cases, but that's a whole different conversation.





We've already managed to grow functioning organs in lab settings. Being able to potentially use them for transplants is not nearly as far off as some may think it is and may be a very feasible option in the near future:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-ability-to-grow-living-organs-boosts-patient-transplant-hopes-9688828.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/scientists-work-grow-organs-transplants-article-1.1374818

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-28887087
Biochemists and surgeons working hand in hand to save the world.

It's beautiful.
 
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They actually already do something pretty similar to this, its called a multi-visceral transplant, where a person has their entire abdominal cavity transplanted.
For some bilateral lung transplants, they actually do a heart-lung transplant, then in turn donate the working heart from the recipient to a second recipient. So as bizarre as it sounds, it's a living donor heart transplant.

The head transplant would actually a be a body transplant, when you think about it.
 
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