Monkey head transplants coming soon in China?


Surgeon Xiaoping Ren at China's Harbin Medical University are planing to transplant the heads of long-tailed macaque monkeys. They've apparently tried it on hundreds of mice with at least some of the animals surviving for a few hours.

From Wired UK:

Ren and his team claim to be in the process of refining the highly complex and painstaking procedure, using tiny tubes to allow oxygenated blood to travel from the rodents' brains to their new bodies, and monkeys look set to be next under the knife. The surgery will only connect a tiny amount of the primates' spinal nerve fibres, but it's hoped that it should be enough to retain voluntary muscle movement and other of the monkeys' vital functions…

It remains to be seen just how successful the transplants will be, but Ren hopes that his primate patients will enable to survive a short while without life support. But it won't be the first time that such a procedure has been carried out. Back in the 70s, brain surgeon Robert J. White successfully attached one monkey's head to another's body. The measure of the operation's success? When the monkey woke up, it (reportedly…) tried to bite off a doctor's finger.

Monkey head transplants to follow trials on 'hundreds' of mice