Head Transplant: Science or Science Fiction?

Do you think a head transplant is science fiction or science fact? Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero thinks it will be science fact. Canavero has a reputation for being a sensationalist in the global medical community. But is he?  The Animal Successes Canavero and Chinese surgeon, Xiaoping Ren, published a study that showed monkeys and dogs could walk after their spinal cords were completely severed during surgery and then put back together again. According to USA Today, the study published in the magazine Surgical Neurology International included video evidence.  They applied a polyethylene glycol substance (PEG) to the nerve endings. They want to use PEG to transplant human heads. Patients with incurable and fatal diseases would have a new body in which to live. Think of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), people like physicist Stephen Hawking.  Canavero states that neurosurgeons have been “stuck to the view that a severed spinal cord cannot be mended in any way.” He completely rejects that view.  Is a Head Transplant Possible There have been experiments involving animal head transplants since the early 1900s. None, not even the ones Cavanero and Xaioping did, have survived more than days.  Whole head transplantation must overcome […]

Robotics Will Challenge Our Humanity

Ever since The Jetsons’ Rosie the Robot, robots and robotics have fascinated me. Over time, robotics crept into our everyday world. Stunning advances loom making robots and artificial intelligence and androids less and less a science fiction trope. Robots and robotics and artificial intelligence will challenge our humanity.  The First Robotics Rudimentary robots have been amongst us for a very long time. The Greek mathematician, Archytas, invented the first known robotic device in 350 BC. A steam powered flying pigeon may not be your idea of a robot, but it was the first autonomous machine. It only vaguely looked like a pigeon. Look.   Egyptians used the constant, controlled flow of water to power their clocks (clepsydra) that struck the hour. Learn more about Egyptian water clocks. The First Automata In the 17th century, a French artist and inventor built three automata. An automata is a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a living creature. He created a flute player that played twelve songs. A second musical automata played flute, drum, or tambourine. And he created a mechanical duck that acted like a duck. Read more about Jacques de Vaucanson and his inventions. In 1810, Friedrich Kauffman from Dresden, German created […]

In the Year 2525, Will These Treatments Keep You Alive?

Modern technological innovations have made dramatic differences in the work and daily lives of people. And these innovations are influencing medicine. In the year 2525, will these treatments keep you alive? Maybe. The genetic studies may take longer. Some, like 3-D printing, may save lives a lot sooner. Pharmacogenomics Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. Scientists will study the genetic makeup of a patient. With this genetic information, doctors will personalize medications. They will know which medicines an individual will respond to. They’ll be able to avoid medication related illness like Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Side effects may become a thing of the past. The field of study is still in its infancy. But pharmacogenomics has a lot of potential. One hope is that we can avoid addiction. And personalized medications will provide a better quality of life for many people. 3-D Printing One day organ transplants will be obsolete. If you need an organ, your doctor will print one on a 3-D printer. It will be made with your own tissue. Your body will recognize and accept it. “The most significant developments in 3-D printing have come in external prosthetics, cranial or orthopedic implants, and […]