Human Head Transplant

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IdeaXme’s Aging and Longevity Ambassador, Ira Pastor, sat down with Dr. Sergio Canavero, a neurosurgeon and the founder of the HEAVEN (Head Anastomosis Venture) project. Dr. Sergio Canavero has worked as a neurosurgeon at the University Hospital, Turin for 22 years and is currently an honorary professor of Harbin Medical University in China. In this interview, he discusses the science behind the brain and head transplants and why his research may be classed as the bleeding edge of science.

Watch the complete interview here:

Dr. Canavero elaborated on the HEAVEN project and explained how various scientific milestones led him to believe in the possibility of head transplantation. Dr. Canavero’s research builds on the work of a neurosurgeon Dr. Robert White who attempted head transplants on monkeys and dogs but failed to reconnect the spinal cord.

 Dr. Canavero proposes a groundbreaking technique called Gemini. 

“Gemini is a spinal cord fusion protocol. Gemini is Latin for twins. It’s just the two stumps that are very similar and that really made sense. So, I called it Gemini and by the end of 2014, Gemini worked. By the end of 2015 both in Korea and China, we had confirmatory data that spinal fusion was possible in rodents. We proved without a doubt that if you sever a cord; cervical or dorsal in dogs or monkeys there is no question that Gemini works.”

Dr. Sergio Canavero – Neurosurgeon and founder of the 
HEAVEN Project (Credits: Discover Magazine)

HEAVEN’s final stage, Prometheus is aimed at reviving clinically dead patients.

“We did a full state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for the first time in the vegetative patients. We selectively stimulated the brain and after a few months, those patients re-emerged from the vegetative state, which is considered permanent. They were redefined as minimally conscious. Of course, ‘minimally conscious’ is still gravely disabled, but it was like going to the moon at the first step.”

Dr. Canavero’s journey has had its fair share of criticism from ethicists and the scientific community alike. But despite receiving massive backlash, Dr. Canavero believes that his research is crucial in finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. 

The original interview has been transcribed and condensed by Iqra Naveed and Fatima Iftikhar.

Credits: Interview by Ira Pastor, ideaXme Longevity and Aging ambassador

With permission of ideaXme, a global podcast, ambassador and mentor programme. ideaXme interviews the creators and innovators who shape our world.  They speak to all those who move the human story forward! ideaXme Ltd.

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