Re: Head Transplantation and Beheading
Fri, 7 Nov 1997 12:13:36 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 11/7/97 9:03:20 AM, wrote:

(re spinal cord interfaces and body transplantation)

> There are always ways to get by problems.

Well, not always, but generally. Here there are ways, they're
just very hard and far beyond our current abilities.

>How about transplanting the spine with the head.

No dice with this system; they leave the old brain stem in
place to run the body. They have to leave the old spine too.

>How about growing a new tailored spinal cord for implantation?

You still need to interface the new spine to the transplanted
brain; the details of spinal neuron distribution is determined
primarily by development variation and not genes. Plus you now
need to interface the new spinal cord to the body and the
conserved brain stem.

>How about cybernetics?

Probably the best strategy for the interface but we can't yet
even restore the sensation to the tip of my brother's ring finger
(lost when somebody squashed his finger in a boat hatch).

>I'm not saying it won't take a huge amount of work.
>I'm not saying it would be 100% effective.

>Do these ideas make it seem even a *little* bit more likely?

I never said that it was impossible; just impossible now. In the
future, it will become possible, but it will probably still be
easier to replace individual organs with cultured clones as necessary.
Of course, resetting the Hayflick limit may turn out to be very hard
too, in which case I'd be wrong.