World / Newsmakers

Strange but true: Getting ahead of the rest

( Updated: 2015-04-17 08:45

Computer scientist wants to be first person to undergo a head transplant, Stowaway survives flight in aircraft wheel well,pharmacy lecturer's formula for student success, fast food unrelated to benefits of exercise, scientists create 'tear-free' onion and mother gives birth to first quintuplet daughters in US. Interesting, funny and downright odd anecdotes from around the world are all in our kaleidoscopic news review of the week.

Terminally ill man volunteers for world's first head transplant

Strange but true: Getting ahead of the rest

Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov, suffering from Werdnig Hoffman's disease, has put himself forward for the first head-to-body transplant. [Photo/IC]

Valery Spiridonov, a computer scientist from Russia, wants to be the first person to undergo a head transplant.

Having suffered from the Werdnig-Hoffman muscle wasting disease, a rare genetic disorder, for most of his life, 30-year-old Spiridonov decided to give it a shot when he heard about Italian neuroscientist Sergio Canavero's research on head transplants. Having contacted the doctor for two years via email without even meeting, they might end up attempting surgery sometime next year.

"Am I afraid? Yes of course I am," Spiridonov said. "But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting. If I don't try this chance, my fate will be very sad."

The operation is estimated to take 36 hours and cost more than $10 million. Surgery would involve severing the heads of both donor and patient simultaneously, using an ultra-sharp blade for a clean cut. The patient's head would then be placed on the donor's body and attached using a 'magic ingredient' - a glue-like substance called polyethylene glycol.

Though Canavero is confident of completing the procedure, critics say that his plans are "pure fantasy". "I would not wish this on anyone," said Dr Hunt Batjer, president elect of the American Association for Neurological Sciences. "I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death."

Strange but true: Getting ahead of the rest

Valery Spiridonov has put himself forward for the first head-to-body transplant. [Photo/IC]

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