I couldn’t be more excited!
Why? Because my new hero, Dr. Sergio Canavero, a neuroscientist in Italy, says we could have the first human head transplant in two years. The surgery involves sawing off the person’s head and plopping it on a donor body. The trick, of course, is to fuse the spinal cord so the head and body are actually connected. The two ends of the spinal cord, which apparently look like big globs of spaghetti, are given plastic injections that make them stick together. As you might guess, it’s also pretty bloody to pull somebody’s head off and stick it on another body, so there’s a lot of stitching involved.
After all that’s done, the person is kept in a coma for about a month, which sucks, but seems to be a necessary part of having your head glued onto a new body. A small price to pay, ultimately.
Back in the 1970’s, a monkey had his head transplanted on another monkey’s hot bod and he lived for nine days. He couldn’t move, but that’s beside the point. The point is that he lived for nine days with his little monkey head on another body. Ah, the seventies! A time of free love and monkey head transplants. Despite this, some killjoys think this can’t be done with humans. Dr. Harry Goldsmith, a neurosurgeon at UC-Davis, told New Scientist, “This is such an overwhelming project, the possibility of it actually happening is very unlikely.”
Personally, I don’t like Dr. Goldsmith’s attitude much. I’m counting on the head transplant. I think I can hold out for two more years, but not much more than that. I need a new body to set my head on—and soon. Consider this:
- In the past couple of years, I’ve broken two fingers. One from tucking in my shirt. The other from making my bed.
- I’ve got an age spot on my hand, the kind that old people get, and it’s really weirding me out.
- I can brush my teeth between 2 and 250 times a day and I will still have at least one cavity every time I go to the dentist.
- I’ve got flat feet, asthmatic lungs, and a bad back.
I could go on, but you get the point. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but I’m hoping my body donor will have been younger and spry before he kindly donated his body to me. Otherwise, it’s hardly worth it, right? At a minimum, he should be able to do normal daily activities without snapping a finger.
My plan now is to get the head transplant circa 2017, then hopefully soon after that, Dr. Canavero or some other smarty-pants neuroscientist will have invented the little nano-robots that can be injected into my (newly transplanted) head and eat all the little curlicue plaque that has formed up there that caused poor Julianne Moore to put her shampoo in the refrigerator in Still Alice and has beset members of my own family. When all that happens—the head transplant and the freshly scrubbed brain—I’ll be good as new.Dave Verhaagen is an author and psychologist badly in need of a head transplant. He’s happy to be a contributor to the forthcoming book The Walking Dead Psychology because decaying walkers make him feel slightly better about himself.