Sunday, April 19, 2009
I was very inspired by Jessica Knapp's post, Cryonics. In this piece, Jessica points us to a fascinating episode of This American Life that deals with the screw-ups and very shaky ethics of cryonics enthusiast, Bob Nelson. It is, indeed, a "must listen"!
Having little faith in the success of cryonics, I couldn't help but think about the Futurama episode, Put Your Head on My Shoulder. Which, in turn, started me on a search regarding the subject of head transplants and grafts. I didn't have to look far... and what I found was not the least bit funny...
1950's Vladimir Demikhov's dog grafting (Warning: not easy to watch)
Kentaro Mori's blog, Forgetomori, covered the topic very well in his April 12th post, A Head (or body) Transplant for Stephen Hawking. His article includes an excellent seven-part documentary about neurosurgeon Robert White. Dr. White, famous (and infamous) for his extensive, successful experimentation with monkeys, sincerely believes that we are now ready for the first human, total body transplant and would love it if Dr. Hawking would be the first in line for the procedure.
Here's a clip, from 1970, of Dr. White at work...
I must remind you, that anyone out there that feels that this is the next great thing for quadriplegics... well, you're wrong. With current technology, the spinal cord remains "unconnectable". In my opinion, Stephen Hawking, with all of his state-of-the-art "tech support" and superb medical care, should remain just as he is.
There are no words to sufficiently describe my amazement and horror upon discovering the magnitude of the human will to defy death and infirmity. Just how far will we go?