Head Transplants: What the Technology Could Mean for Spinal Injuries .
The fascination with head transplants has a long history, but only in the past few decades has this technology began to transform this fascination into a viable medical option. The magic elixir, as one article put it, may be the game changing answer for this high controversial procedure. Surgeons will use a glue made of polyethylene glycol, also known as PEG, which is an inorganic polymer that will can stitch nerve endings back together after the nerves have been severed.
Thousands of experiments have been performed on mice using PEG and head transplants. So far, the majority of animals have died within a month of a transplant. However, some of the experiments that involve just severing nerves and reattaching nerves, in the same body, have proven to be successful. For example, two mice were operated on. Both mice had a patch of spinal cord tissue, connected to the legs, severed and reattached. One mouse’s nerves were just reattached, while the others were reattached after the nerves had been doused with PEG. The mouse that received PEG during the surgery, was able to walk again while the other mouse was unable to so.
While the concept of head transplants seems like a science fiction story, the research has legitimate applications to other areas of medicine, like spinal cord and nerve injuries, and not just head transplants (which could cost $100 and require 80 surgeons). If the research for head transplants is used in relation to other spinal cord injuries, it could give millions of individuals control over their lives once again.