The World’s First Head Transplant Will Take Place In China

It sounds a plot line from a bad science fiction movie, but the world’s first head transplant could be a reality in just a few months, according to the project’s lead doctor.

Organ transplants are so common today, it’s easy to forget that they’re a very recent invention. The world’s very first heart transplant took place in 1967, but even before that doctors were researching whether a human head – and brain – could be moved onto a different body.

Transplanting a head isn’t much different from transplanting any other organ: doctors have to make sure the body is a good match, and be careful that it doesn’t reject the new head. They also need to keep a steady supply of blood pumping into the head to support the patient’s brain.

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The final step involves fusing the spinal cord together, so the patient can hopefully control their new body like any other healthy person. There were a number of grisly early experiments that paved the way for modern researchers.

One scientist from Soviet Russia, Vladimir Demikhov, was famous for his organ transplant research on dogs. He performed a number of head transplants with the animals, including one that survived for 29 days.

Now an Italian doctor is planning to make history by transplanting a live human head. But an unexpected twist has delayed his plans…

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