World's first full HEAD transplant


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A man with a fatal medical condition has spoken exclusively to MailOnline about how he is set to become the first person to undergo a head transplant and hopes it could be as soon as next year.

Valery Spiridonov says he is ready to put his trust in controversial surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero who claims he can cut off his head and attach it to a healthy body.

Mr Spiridonov, 30, a computer scientist from Russia, said: 'My decision is final and I do not plan to change my mind.'

As a lifelong sufferer of the rare genetic Werdnig-Hoffman muscle wasting disease, he says he wants the chance of a new body before he dies.

'Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am. But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting,' said Mr Spiridonov from his home in Vladimir, a city 120 miles east of Moscow.

'But you have to understand that I don't really have many choices', he said. 'If I don't try this chance my fate will be very sad. With every year my state is getting worse.'

Dr Canavero and Mr Spiridonov have talked via Skype though they have not met yet and the doctor has not reviewed his medical records.

The Italian talking to media stated that he has received many email and letters from people seeking the procedure but he insists the first patients will be people suffering from a muscle wasting disease.

Dr Canavero has named the procedure HEAVEN, which is an acronym for head anastomosis venture. Anastomosis involves the surgical connecting of two parts.

He insists all the necessary techniques already exist to transplant a head onto a donor body.

The first monkey head transplant was performed 45 years ago and a basic operation on a mouse was carried out in China recently.

But critics say Dr Canavero's plans are 'pure fantasy'. The Italian has been compared to the fictional gothic-horror character Dr Frankenstein.

And Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Centre, has described Dr Canavero as 'nuts'.

The cost of the 36-hour operation, which could only be performed in the one of the world's most advanced operating theatres, has been estimated at £7.5million.

The new body would come from a transplant donor who is brain dead but otherwise healthy.

 

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