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Dr. Sergio Canavero speaks at a TEDx event. TEDx notes that the talk is "best viewed as a speculative what-if scenario, and with awareness that the 2017 surgeries performed by Dr. Canavero on human cadavers have raised practical and ethical concerns in the scientific community." (Screenshot via Youtube.)

Imagine a world where those with devastating spinal injuries or degenerative muscle diseases could simply replace their failing bodies. Imagine a living patient whose brain is still active but body is falling apart being able to transplant his head onto a healthy body. Sound like an episode of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone? Not according to Italian doctor Sergio Canavero, who since 2015 has boldly claimed that by 2017 he’d successfully carry out the first human head transplant.

In November, Canavero announced that he’s imminently ready to transplant a living patient’s head onto the healthy body of a brain-dead organ donor, after having already “rehearsed” with an 18-hour transplant on a cadaver in China. With little evidence to back him, and facing widespread doubt from the medical community regarding his previous animal transplantations, Canavero’s audacious assertions have long opened him up to criticism from scientists and ethicists alike.

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