If it is eventually carried out as planned for next year, the head transplant would go down in history as the first in the world, and Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist, would be the first man to have his head transplanted into another person’s body. Spiridov, who is terminally ill, has agreed to the operation, which if successful, will rid him of Werdnig-Hoffman disease, an ailment he was born with. The disease, a genetic muscle-wasting disorder, has left him seriously disabled since birth, hence his desire for the operation. Spiridonov says he is ready to put his trust in Sergio Canavero, the surgeon who will perform the operation. The surgeon had claimed to be willing to perform the surgery in a Skype interaction with the patient. 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 £7.5 million.
As a lifelong sufferer of the rare genetic disease, Spiridonov says he wants the chance of a new body before he dies. “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.’
Canavero has named the procedure HEAVEN, which is an acronym for Head Anastomosis Venture, and insists all the necessary techniques already exist to transplant a head onto a donor body.
Here is wishing the surgeon and his patient a successful operation in 2016.
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