5 things you're dying to ask about head transplants
What's the difference between brain and head transplants? A brain transplant would involve removing the brain from the skull and placing it in a donor skull. It is more difficult than a head transplant because of the complex surgery to separate the brain and blood supply without damaging delicate tissue.
Could the transplant technique work for a cryogenically frozen head? No. The proposed technique requires a healthy human head and brain. It is not yet known whether it is possible to "defrost" a cryogenically frozen head and resurrect healthy brain tissue.
Would the surgery be psychologically damaging? Some people who have received face or limb transplants mourn the loss of their old body part or feel that their self image is conflicted. Studies show that inputs from our body, such as a heartbeat or rumbling stomach, can influence our will power, emotions and language. Who knows whether the person who comes out of the operating room would be the same as the one who went in.
I'm a registered organ donor. Could my body be used for this? Each country has its own rules. In the UK, joining the register would not automatically allow your body to be used. "If a person needs something not specified on our forms, we would ask a potential donor's family to consent," says an NHS spokesperson. "We would only approach a family if the planned procedure had ethical approval."