human head transplant might be done. Assuming that it could be done, should it be done? An article over a Popular Science asks just that question, "Would a Human Head Transplant Be Ethical?" One consideration is that if surgeons had the ability to transplant a head onto another body, it is likely they would have the technologies and the skills needed to fix a lot of what is wrong with any particular patient without having to remove his or her head.Last month, a couple of Italian surgeons published an article in Surgical Neurology International outlining how a
In any case, Stanford University bioethicist Dr. Christopher Scott grapples in the PopSci article with some other intriguing bioethical issues:
In true bioethicist fashion, Scott notes that the surgery would raise some thorny philosophical questions, chief among them what makes us human: “What is the donor and what’s the recipient?” he says. “We all have an idea of personhood, right? Of what a person is. You know, a baby or a human becomes a person. And this procedure turns it on its head. Is this a person that the body belongs to, or the person the head belongs to? It’s a chimera, a hybrid person. …Those are some of the deeper questions that we should have a real discussion about."
It surely is the case that the "person" goes along with the head. Grafting an older person's head onto a younger body would also be a kind of longevity treatment. After all, experiments connecting the circulatory systems of young mice to those of old mice, rejuvenated the old mice.