Thursday, April 9, 2015


"But otherwise, I haven't aged
a day!"
In the 1968 anti-classic They Saved Hitler's Brain, the titular Fuehrer's head is electronically kept alive in a jar until such time he can rule the world. If only he had lived another 50 or so years, he could have taken it one goosestep further:

Well no, of course not, it isn't your mind you're planning to change. By the way, can a body be described as "healthy" when it's, er, dead?

"I will now transplant the point of this pencil
onto a Bic pen. And nobody can stop me!"

Dr. Canavero must be taken seriously because he's given at least one TED Talk. But don't tell that to his colleagues. The medical ethics director NYU's Langone Medical center, Arthur Caplan, uses the scientific term "nuts" to describe Dr. Canavero. Hah! That's what they said about the guys who saved Hitler's brain.

See how easy it is?
Dr. Canavero is basing his procedure on a monkey head transplant performed in 1970. According to Wikipedia, The animal survived sometime after the operation, even at times attempting to bite the staff. Do you blame him?

For all its bizarre sci-fi vibe, how many overweight, Fanta-chugging, Hershey-munching Americans are going to read about this and think, "Cool! I don't have to worry about exercising! All I gotta do is get a head transplant!" But as with pedicures, voodoo spells and hookers, head transplants aren't currently covered by Farmers Insurance.
Something with a clog-proof top,
however, has its advantages.

That's a shame, considering the cost of the 36-hour surgery is in the $11,000,000 range. But look what you get for your money. After the patient's head is severed, it's then attached to the other body with polyethylene glycol -- or what Dr. Canavero seriously refers to as "my magic ingredient."  Magic ingredients never come cheap.

What Dr. Canavero doesn't explain is exactly where they're going to get a healthy, albeit brain dead, body. Unless your "body parts donation" card includes everything from the neck down, I don't see how anyone brain-dead could give the thumbs-up to such an operation. 

On the other hand, what with the rising costs of funerals and cemetery plots, the surviving family members might consider such a move. And with organ transplants already semi-common, you could theoretically keep the body alive indefinitely, moving it from head to head like a Barbie doll. "Look, here's a picture of Uncle Tommy in Russia... and Paris... and Milwaukee... Gee, he's looking better than ever!"

If nothing else, it would make for
a funny finish.
Or you can take the easy way out, and avoid surgery altogether by simply exchanging personalities with someone else via a blood transfusion gone wrong. It worked for Laurel & Hardy once -- and no magic ingredients required! 

There are plenty of times when I'd gladly participate in such a scheme. Unfortunately, I can't think of a single person who would willingly want to have my personality. And if you knew me, you'd understand.

Looks like I've got to stick to the body transplant. Anyone know if Bradley Cooper is available yet?


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