The Only Roadblock to a Head Transplant Is Ethics, Not Science

Otherwise we're good to go

#Science

Sat, Feb 28th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Italian doctor Sergio Canavero believes that a full body transplant — attaching a living person's head to a donor body — will be possible within the next two years. The problem, he notes, isn't the science, but the medical ethics the procedure faces. Who wants a new body?

The history of transplantation is full of cases where people hated their new appendages and had them removed. The psychological burden of emerging from anaesthetic with an entirely new body is firmly in uncharted territory. Another hitch is that medical ethics boards would almost certainly not approve experiments in primates to test whether the procedure works.

But Canavero wants to provoke a debate around these issues. “The real stumbling block is the ethics,” he told New Scientist. “Should this surgery be done at all? There are obviously going to be many people who disagree with it.”

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