What are the ethical implications of a human head transplant?


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Human head and brain transplants are now feasible. That's according to Italian neurosurgeon, Sergio Canavero who believes he has worked out how to transfer the head of one human on to the body of another.

While his method for "Head Anastomosis Venture" or HEAVEN, as he terms it, is ready to be tested on humans, Canavero admits he has not yet considered the ethical implications. Luckily for us, science fiction has already done the hard work for him:

1. South Park, 2006

South Park's ManBearPig: "Half man, half bear, half pig"


Former US President Al Gore becomes obsessed with finding and defeating 'ManBearPig', a monster that's "half man, half bear and half pig."

Unforeseen Consequence: The constant, unwanted presence of Al Gore

2. The Man With Two Brains, 1983

Steve Martin in The Man With Two Brains


After falling in love with a disembodied brain, Dr Michael Hfuhfuhrr (Steve Martin) goes to extreme lengths to find his love a new host body.

Unforeseen Consequence: Murder and body-snatching

3. Freaky Friday, 1976

Jodie Foster in Freaky Friday


Ellen Andrews and her teenage daughter Annabel are always arguing. That is, until one Friday the 13th, when they switch bodies and gain some much-needed insight into how the other feels.

Unforeseen Consequence: Improved inter-generational understanding

4. Eva, Peter Dickinson, 1988


When a 13-year-old girl is paralyzed in an accident her consciousness is transferred into the body of a chimpanzee. Luckily she grew up surrounded by the chimps in her father's research facility, so she finds it easy to accept the chimp part of herself.

Unforeseen Consequence: Salvation of the chimpanzee species