Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine The Internet Games

Surgeon Swears Human Head Transplant Isn't a 'Metal Gear Solid' Publicity Stunt 118

Jason Koebler writes: Dr. Sergio Canavero wants to become the first surgeon to perform a human head transplant. But some discerning gamers noticed that a doctor shown in the trailer for Metal Gear Solid V looks almost exactly like Canavero, leading some to speculate that it's all a viral marketing campaign for the upcoming game. Canavero, however, filed a sworn affidavit with Italian police in which he said Konami illegally stole his likeness, and that he has nothing to do with the game.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Surgeon Swears Human Head Transplant Isn't a 'Metal Gear Solid' Publicity Stunt

Comments Filter:
  • Dubious (Score:5, Funny)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday April 24, 2015 @10:39AM (#49545487) Homepage Journal
    I heard he also named his first son up,up,down,down,left,right,left,right,a,b,select,start. There just might be something to this conspiracy.
  • Wrong Wrong Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @10:46AM (#49545537)

    It's not a head transplant .. it's a BODY transplant.

    • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @11:26AM (#49545893)
      Don't tell that to the body. The body thinks it's a head transplant :P
    • The convention is that it's the smaller part which is being transplanted, not the larger.

      So technically "head transplant" is accurate, if somewhat misleading for the layperson.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 )

        Except the GP is correct ... because the head is your brain, your memory, your identity, and the thing which will control the body.

        A head transplant would imply Bob would get a new head and change his body ... except we don't have the ability to transfer the parts of Bob contained in the brain to a new head.

        In this case, the head is the single most important part to still being, in some definition of the word, the same person.

        It really is a body transplant, since the owner of the original head is still who

        • Obligatory Head of Vecna [blindpanic.com] story. They didn't think about the meaning of the location of the brain....

          In Spock's Brain, they could have taken Spock's entire head. Or, why not just kidnap Spock? Grab first, then take brain out. Or, or, if they have the technology to remove a brain intact, and reprogram it to serve their purposes, wouldn't that imply the ability to just copy it or make up their own brain? Oh well, that episode is unfixably bad anyway.

        • Except you are entirely missing the point. The medical subject is irrelevant when saying what's being transplanted. By convention, what is being transplanted where is determined entirely from the surgeon's point of view, not the subject's. And that convention says that it's the smaller part which is being transplanted to the larger part.

          What the functions of the parts being transplanted are, or their relative importance to the subject, is utterly irrelevant in terms of which is the subject and which is the

      • by mjm1231 ( 751545 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @01:55PM (#49546821)

        Let's say we transplant Bob's head onto Steve's body. After the surgery, will Bob say he has a new body, or will Steve say he has a new head? (Hint: don't believe anything Steve says. He's talking through his ass.)

        • You're not wrong, but that's not the point I was making.

          The determination of what is being transplanted is made from the surgeon's point of view, not the subject's. And from the surgeon's point of view, what's being transplanted is whichever part is smaller

          Like if you put your old battery in a new car, you've replaced the battery in your new car. You wouldn't say you've replaced your old battery's car.

    • Six of one, half a dozen of the other. It's not a liver transplant, it's a body transplant. In the case of a liver transplant, most of the original material is left, and the liver is replaced with the new one. Likewise with the head transplant. Sure, who survives runs counter to the way that transplants usually work - usually the body receiving the transplant survives and the donor dies - but that isn't really how people conceptualize the process.
    • To each their own. Or, in this case, to each the other.

  • It might not have anything to do with MGS, but it sure as hell better be a publicity stunt, because anyone involved in an actual human head transplant surgery will need to lose their medical licenses and go to prison for a very long time.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2015 @10:53AM (#49545591)

      In that case, Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz will certainly be recommending on his next show as a miracle weight loss technique.

      • by DiEx-15 ( 959602 )

        In that case, Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz will certainly be recommending on his next show as a miracle weight loss technique.

        I also heard "Dr." Oz will be getting a name transplant.

        He'll be replacing "Oz" with either "Quack" or "Fraud". Although my favorite is "Homeopathy-SoldOut-Nut"

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I feel the same way about blood transfusions. Are you a Jehovah's Witness too?
    • The patient's options are certain death or slim chance at life, with risk of extreme pain and suffering. I don't fault him for choosing the latter, and I don't fault the surgeons for offering him that choice.
    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @12:51PM (#49546491) Journal

      It might not have anything to do with MGS, but it sure as hell better be a publicity stunt, because anyone involved in an actual human head transplant surgery will need to lose their medical licenses and go to prison for a very long time.

      Or be hailed as the greatest surgeon who ever lived.

      There is no middle ground with this one.

    • because anyone involved in an actual human head transplant surgery will need to lose their medical licenses and go to prison for a very long time

      Since when does an attempt to save a life through transplants equate to losing medical licenses or prison?

      • If you fail, the man dies right now. When a patient dies during an operation, even if they accepted the risk and further even if they knew the risks were very high, it doesn't matter. The surgeon is going to be investigated for malpractice. And subjecting somebody to an unproven highly-dangerous process when there's little foundation work (like years of successful animal procedures) is probably malpractice.
        • When a patient dies during an operation, even if they accepted the risk and further even if they knew the risks were very high, it doesn't matter. The surgeon is going to be investigated for malpractice.

          Horseshit. Despite what you think about ripping off a head and putting it on another body there are experimental and high risk medical procedures performed on almost daily basis, and people die from them quite regularly.

          The only thing that's out of the ordinary here is the news coverage because we're actually swapping over an entire body. From a medical point of view it's no different to other new and unproven treatments.

  • Sorry, I couldn't resist. But regardless of the MGS connection, this does sound like a grab for attention, and if it does work, where are we going to get a steady supply of healthy, undamaged, bodies? (Until we can print them that is)
    • by durrr ( 1316311 )

      There's bodies flagged for organ harvest. If someone is on the brink of death due to multi-organ failure then swapping a head will keep the mind alive, and if the head dies then you could harvest the body anyway.

      The biggest problem is re-innervation

  • Everybody is said to have 7 doubles around the world. Now we will also have to take into account those in video games :-)

  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @11:02AM (#49545669) Homepage
    Medicine has yet to repair a spinal cord injury, but there are people out there who believe some doctor's going to perform a head transplant? Really?
    • Nobody said that the nerves are going to work. Post transplant, the person will certainly be paralyzed from the neck down. That's why this kind of surgery is only appropriate for a paraplegic whose body is about to fail. He or she is not going to stop being a paraplegic, but might get many extra years of life by acquiring a robust new body.
      • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @11:52AM (#49546083) Journal

        "paralyzed from the neck down" == "suffocating in minutes", since all respiratory impulses are carried on the somatic spinal nerves controlling the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles. Never mind the fact that severed autonomic nerves means no information from or control of any organs: digestive system shuts down, heart never responds to physiologic need and could spontaneously fibrillate... most organ systems shut down.

        Sorry, it's absolutely required to effectively re-fuse the entire spinal cord plus the independent segments of the parasympathetic nervous system (such as the vagus nerve) through the dissection plane. Otherwise, you're just attaching a head to a dying body.

        • Unless you have an iron lung. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] These aren't even new.
          • That's nice. Now you have a head attached to a dying body stuck in an iron lung.

            Not to mention that it does nothing for every other organ failing for lack of functional innervation. Which is all of them.

            Hell, if you're going to this much trouble, just attach the head directly to artificial life support. More effective, far simpler, and less limited than your preferred solution.

        • So, all quadriplegics immediately die, do they?
          Christopher Reeve survived for almost 10 years using an automatic ventilator, and others like him have survived much longer.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only rational explanation I have is the difference between a surgically severed cord and one that's been mangled.

      As a quadriplegic, I'm hoping we learn something about the spinal cord.

      As a rational person, I don't expect this patient to survive.

      Captcha: funeral. Seriously?

    • Billions of people go top some kind of church or another. So ...
      • Billions of people go top some kind of church or another. So ...

        And at least a few of them genuinely believe in the magical thinking, while most are just there from social peer pressure. But it's still a dire problem.

    • by durrr ( 1316311 )

      It's easier to heal a surgical incision than a blunt trauma generated by your cervical bones crushing your spine.

      • It's easier to heal a surgical incision than a blunt trauma generated by your cervical bones crushing your spine.

        The problem is that these nerves don't grow back when they're cut. It doesn't matter how they're cut, they just don't grow back.

        • by jandrese ( 485 )
          That and there is no guarantee that they'll line up between the patient and the donor. He could be trying to beat his heart but all that's happening is his big toe is wiggling. I'm suspicious too.
        • by durrr ( 1316311 )

          The problem with your statement is that there's very little data on it and that laymen like yourself have preformed conceptions about what's possible and what's not. Every form of cancer was once upon a time 100% mortal for example and there's still preconceptions about brain cancer and leukemia deathrates remaining based on that.

        • by TheSync ( 5291 )

          It doesn't matter how they're cut, they just don't grow back.

          Actually spinal cord nerves can regrow [iflscience.com] with appropriate treatment.

    • I mean if he has a methodology to repair the millions of nerve going through the neck, then i am sure he can explain us his methodology. After all medicine is also a science. If he cannot explain it... then you can conclude yourself.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not true... I'd look up the article, but just within the last six months it was reported that a doctor in Europe was able to get a spinal cord to reconnect. It was on a knife wound victim, so a clean cut. They packed it with stem cells harvested from the nasal cavities. It took two years, but the guy has regained both sensation and function.

    • So if the choice is between death and quadriplegia... I don't know about you, but I'd rather try out being a quadriplegic first, BEFORE the dying thing.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Sometimes common sense is just wrong, particularly when it comes to predicting the behavior of other people who might not agree with what you consider "common sense". If you check his publications in Google Scholar, this guy's been publishing surgical neuroscience papers in real journals since around 1990. I think he really intends to try this.

    • Medicine has yet to repair a spinal cord injury, but there are people out there who believe some doctor's going to perform a head transplant? Really?

      Possibly. One of the problems with spinal injuries is scar tissue formation, and another nerve elongation (or lack thereof). But with a head transplant, the surgeon could leave extra spinal cord on one or both pieces, and then reduce to the proper length in whatever manner is best for reattachment.

      Of course, I fully expect the patient to be paralyzed from the neck down, followed shortly by death. Most likely death before the new body is attached or consciousness regained. Cryonics seems like a safer gamble.

    • Well, yes, really. The reason these claims are showing up right now is because he thinks he's finally cracked exactly that issue. The transplant is intended as a means to test that theory. And he can't do it on typical patients suffering from severed spinal cords due to trauma of some sort, since his idea relies on a very particular way of cutting the spinal cord, apparently.

    • What about this?

      http://www.bbc.com/news/health... [bbc.com]

      They say it was possible since the nick in the cord was clean (also not being 100% through helped I guess). I wonder if a severance of the spinal cord was done with surgical precision if the process here could be used.

  • Especially when it is controversial. They keep it secret out of fear that the government might shut them down.

    Combined with the physical comparison this looks really strange.

    I call Public Relations Stunt.

  • I think the character from MGS V: TPP is supposed to be Dr. Pettrovich Madnar [wikia.com]

    Given the fact that Snake now gets a bionic arm and Dr. Pettrovich's work was in cybernetics? Yeah.

  • Some people will do anything to get ahead!

  • Who the hell was the donor?

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @12:53PM (#49546513)

    they stole his head.

    OK, ok, lame joke. But at least I'm still ahead. Even my my own one.

  • The doc's "HEAVEN" project is published in PUBMED [nih.gov] so...if it's fake, he fooled NIH. Not that there aren't bad papers submitted on a regular basis...

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

Working...