Medicine is often a somewhat gruesome practice. To treat some injuries/diseases, sometimes you need to perform some extreme surgeries. It’s not always pretty. However, some surgeons are working on unusual procedures that sound a bit more like Frankenstein than modern medicine. Transplants from animals, whole head transplants — if these procedures actually work, doctors could extend the lifespans of people in a way that brings up more and more questions about the quality of a person’s life. These operations are far from perfected now, but so were a lot of surgeries not too long ago.
- Some unconventional surgeons say a human head transplant will be possible in the near future. This sounds like a sci-fi movie — because there is a movie coming out about transferring minds (not heads). The first real patient could be Valery Spiridonov — a man with Werdnig-Hoffman disease — who still needs a donor body and a medical facility to support the operation. [url]
- Xenotransplantations have been attempted for over a century, and there are still lots of problems with implanting an animal organ into a human body. Beyond the animal rights protests, the odds of success for an organ transplant are hindered by immune system rejection responses and possible disease transmission problems. Genetically engineering an animal for better results might be a promising approach, but the technology to grow organs might catch up. [url]
- Genetically modified piglet hearts have survived in the body of a baboon (in its abdomen) for more than a year now. The piglet hearts were designed to minimize organ rejection, and the next step is to try to replace a baboon heart with one of these pig hearts. [url]
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