A brain transplant is one procedure that most people assume is simply impossible. Yet in the 1970’s scientists successfully attached one monkey’s head on the body of another! In the 1960’s Cleveland brain surgeon Robert J. White took a dog with two brains and attached one of them onto the neck of another dog. He first isolated the brain and then attached it to the blood vessels on the other’s neck.
Through this procedure they learned that the brain is an “immunologically sound” organ, meaning it can be transplanted without a body likely rejecting it like a kidney. They then moved to monkeys. In the 70’s White took a severed monkey’s head and, through the same process as the dog, attached it to the body of another monkey. When the newly “formed” monkey woke up it first attempted to bite off the finger of the nearest doctor, at which everyone in the room began to applaud. Scientists had just performed the first successful brain transplant!
They hoped to attempt the procedure on humans, but it was too controversial and crossed a major ethics boundary. Since then, the procedure has been largely forgotten, mentioned more in entertainment as science fiction than actual science. Do you think scientists should attempt a human brain transplant? Tell us in the comments!