Sergio Canavero, a controversial neurosurgeon, has surfaced again with claims that the first human head transplant in the entire world is “imminent.” Chinese scientists have successfully finished up with the first head transplant on a human corpse. Canavero spoke during a press conference in Vienna on Friday morning at which he revealed the big news. The Telegraph reported that Professor Canavero made claims that the operation was carried out during the span of 18 hours at Harbin Medical University in China. The team of surgeons severed the human head, then reconnected the spinal cord nerves as well as the blood vessels in the spine and the neck.
Dr. Xiaoping Ren led the team of surgeons during the operation. Sen has transplanted the head of a monkey as well as multiple kinds of rodents in the past. It is expected that Harbin Medical University will be writing a full report on the operation within the next week.
Canavero explained to the audience, “The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done. A full head swap between brain-dead organ donors is the next stage. And that is the final step for the formal head transplant for a medical condition which is imminent.”
Canavero was also interviewed by USA Today, and he explained that the operation will take place in China since the scientific establishment as well as the authorities of Europe and the United States are not willing to support the surgery.
“The Americans did not understand,” he went on. “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.”
The native Italian has some big plans to make the first live human head transplant a reality. There has been tons of controversy surrounding his plans. In 2015, Canavero had estimated that the surgery would be done by 2017, but as of right now it seems unlikely.
Although Canavero has spent a few years writing scientific studies on the operation, there are a lot of doubts about the legitimacy of such a feat. Head of medical ethics at Langone Medical Center of New York University, Arthur Caplan, has explained that he believes Canavero is “out of his mind.”
A neuroscientist by the name of Dean Burnett spoke to Wired in May of this year regarding the head transplant surgery rumors and he explained, “When someone makes an extreme claim, my rule of thumb is this: If they haven’t provided robust scientific evidence, but they have done a TED talk, alarm bells should be ringing.”
You can view Canavero’s TEDx Talk below.