V pátek odpoledne v hotelu Westin v Annapolis, Maryland, s dobrovolníkem na první lidskou transplantaci hlavy po boku, Dr. Sergio Canavero učinil nabídku k získávání chirurgy ochotné, aby mu pomohl provést postup z publikem partnerských lékařů na výročním zasedání American Academy of neurologických a ortopedických chirurgů.
Asi čtvrtina z sezení byla předána do videokamer, stativy a světla stojany. Aby bylo možné získat na tiskové-friendly lékaře k přední části místnosti, jeden z účastníků musel vzít na pódium mikrofon a níže do skrumáže okolní Canavero: "" Scuse me, lis, Rád bych pro vás ustoupit, prosím. Příliš je příliš."
Tématem Canavero své keynote byl postup doufá, že bude provádět v dalším 24 měsíce, kterou nazývá hlava Anatomosis Venture, nebo "Nebe".
"Dnes jsem tady, aby nám všechny vizi,"Řekl Canavero.
Lékař dodal, že tam byl žádná taková věc jako já, a že konečným cílem jeho projektu bylo prodloužení životnosti.
Za dvě a půl hodiny (Prezentace byla naplánována na 90 zápis) před publikem převážně modré- a šedo-suited středního věku chirurgové, Canavero přecházel šířku dlouhé místnosti v krémových kalhot a červenohnědý tuniky, obrýlený, hlavu oholila, vypadat jako obzvláště kyčlí mnicha.
He spent most of the first half-hour firing off aphorism after aphorism, some by writers including Kierkegaard and Arthur C Clarke, others of his own devising.
“If Heaven is reckless, nature is crazier, and nature must be given pause when it comes to what it does to us all as creatures on this planet,”he said.
The neurosurgeon, of Italy’s Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, veered between trying to inspire his listeners, digging deep into neurobiology and goading the white-haired medical professionals assembled in front of him. At one point he compared the procedure’s future success to the moon landing, with an image of JFK on the screen behind him.
“We must go to the moon to test who we are, to test our skills, to test our confidence, to see what kind of men we are!"Řekl.
“We must do it to test America! We must do it to see if you are still Americans! When I grew up America was the top.”
Promising high pay and backing from “American billionaires”, Canavero told the assembly: “I came to you; I gladly accepted this invite to humbly come before you to make a case that this is possible.”
He has said he plans to perform the procedure either in the US or China.
Humility was not a quality the audience seemed to sense in Canavero.
“You of all people have a definite sense of self, not an illusion,” said the first doctor to pose a question in the Q&A session. “What self is the patient? The new body, or the self that he suffers with?"
“Ask him yourself,” Canavero replied.
Valery Spiridonov, the man who has volunteered to undergo the procedure, spoke little at the gathering, but he was figure of great interest. Spiridonov has Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, or spinal muscular atrophy. It’s a debilitating, eventually fatal condition that had taken a visible toll on the 30-year-old Russian’s body. Spiridonov emailed Canavero out of the blue when the doctor’s project began to receive press attention.
Spiridonov answered the question.
“I believe my body is just mechanics that I want to have removed,"Řekl. He spoke of having to hire people to help him from his position in a small wheelchair next to the stage.
Other doctors, said Canavero, have questioned whether or not the high rejection rate of radical organ and limb transplants might mean that a full-body transplant patient might go out of his mind. Canavero told them to imagine themselves in Spiridonov’s place.
“Would you believe that your condition could drive you to insanity, to madness?” he asked Spiridonov.
"Ano,” Spiridonov replied. “Every day.”
What about the anterior spinal artery?
The other question, samozřejmě, is whether or not the operation is possible. Canavero pointed to head transplants in mice successfully performed in China, and said that polyethylene glycol (PEG) – which is often used as a laxative, but has been found to have applications for spinal injury patients – could essentially glue the motor centers of the spinal cord back together successfully after they had been severed.
One doctor interrupted Canavero in the middle of his lecture to point out that, as a vascular surgeon, he was concerned about, mezi ostatními, the anterior spinal artery.
“You’re gonna cut right through that,"Řekl. Canavero invited him to join his working group, saying he had done his part and now it was time for them to step up.
The doctors were divided on whether or not to perform the procedure at all. Is a head transplant ethical?
“I don’t know,” said Oscar Tuazon, a surgeon based in nearby Alexandria. “In humans, the main thing is the head! The body is just a framework or a shell. So it’s the head that’s important. Může být, let’s say, if somebody is great, like Einstein, maybe you can preserve him.”
Tuazon attended the conference with Edith Tuazon, a nurse and his wife of 44 léta. She was unconvinced.
“I do feel like it goes far,"Pronesla. “Suppose you have a head transplant of someone who’s an artist and on to someone who’s not an artist –will that person be able to make the arms and the hands still draw? Will the hand still ‘think?’ Will it think like it did before? How are all those functions going to work together?"
Canavero had his answer to that one in the presentation: “You cut the spaghetto, you apply PEG, and boom.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010