This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Would you let a man who does TEDx talks transplant your head onto someone else's body? This peculiarly futuristic scenario is set to occur in Russia, in the suspiciously named Russian city of Vladimir (it's right next to Putinville). The bonce-ectomy is to be attempted by Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero, who I believe is a fake soccer player created by Harry Enfield, and the prospective patient is Mr. Valery Spiridonov, a computer scientist. "My decision is final," Valery told the Daily Mail. "I do not plan to change my mind."
Valery's decision to plaster his noggin onto another body is not cosmetic, though. You wouldn't see this on an episode of Nip/Tuck, if it were still on. He has Werdnig-Hoffman disorder, a muscle wasting disease that tends to cause its sufferers to pass away some time in their 20s. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and there is no more desperate measure than cutting off your head and plonking it on a different collection of skin, muscles, and viscera.
Canavero claims that Valery has a higher chance of surviving his decapitation than Yuri Gagarin or Neil Armstrong did their space exploration missions. Now, call me a Skeptical Susan, but I feel like removing someone's entire brain case from their body and gluing it to another is a tad more dangerous than going to space in what is essentially a dressed-up Boeing 747. Sure, the perils of space travel are many: no oxygen, trapped with annoying nerds, weightless matter floating around hitting you on the lips—space ships are big metal dustbins full of disasters waiting to happen. But even so, while in space there's nothing trying to take your head off, unless you stick in out of the window during take off, like an overzealous and fatalistic dog.
Some people aren't too happy about Canavero's idea. Speaking to Russia Today, a Californian doctor described it as "too overwhelming a project to succeed." But can we really begrudge Valery for wanting to give it a go? Faced with the choice of having your head removed with a slim chance of life, or certain death, you too would probably risk your neck.
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