First ever head transplant

Call him "nuts" – his peers certainly have – but an Italian surgeon says he's seriously planning the world's first head transplant.

It sounds like something out of science fiction, or perhaps a horror movie.

Valery Spiridonov, a 31-year-old Russian man who suffers from a rare type of spinal muscular atrophy, has apparently volunteered for a 36-hour, $128-million operation that would require a team of 100 surgeons and nurses.

"During the transference of the head on the new body, the head will be cooled to 10 degrees Celcius and will be bloodless. It will be as dead as it gets, clinically gone," he said in a 2015 TED talk titled, "Head Transplantation: The Future Is Now."

"Now I expect that upon reawakening, the subjects will report a full blown near-death experience. When this happens, we will have final proof that once you die, once the brain dies, consciousness survives."

Spiridonov showed off this weekend a surgical blade and virtual reality system he intends to use in the surgery – which he expects to attempt in 2017.

The surgeon argues a monkey has survived a head transplant, but the missing piece of the puzzle has been the ability to reattach the spinal cord.

The technology, he said, now exists.


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