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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul - 07:52 (2018)    Post subject: The secondary Reply with quote

by Marzia De Giuli, Luo Na

ROME, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Recent media reports have said that controversial Italian physician Sergio Canavero will attempt to transplant a human head to a new body at the end of 2017.

However, Alberto Delitala, president of the Italian Society of Neurosurgery (SINch), said "the problem with Canavero's proposal is that it lacks scientific method".

"Actually his ideas have more success on the web than in science," Delitala told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Delitala , who is also the chief of neurosurgery at the department of head and neck of San Camillo Hospital in Rome, observed that Canavero is not a member of SINch, which as a scientific association gathers experts to share views and knowledge, and was fired for unexcused absence by the Molinette San Giovanni Battista hospital in Turin where he used to work.

Italy's neurosurgery, Delitala noted, is renowned in the world, from the Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs) for the treatment of brain aneurysms, invented by Italian neurosurgeon Guido Guglielmi in 1990, to the research on brain injury carried out by another Italian, Franco Servadei, who is now president-elect of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS).

"But all of these innovations came from experimental tests," Delitala said.

"Our association's stance is very clear: the central theme in the scientific method is that any new technique must be based on experimental tests submitted to an international scientific community before being applied to human beings. But Canavero has never been able to prove that he has succeeded in a head transplant on an animal," Delitala explained to Xinhua.

The world's first attempted head transplant dates back to 1970, when American neurosurgeon Robert J. White transplanted the head of one monkey to the body of another. The monkey died after several days. Since then, similar attempts have all proved unsuccessful, Delitala pointed out.

"Just imagine what the destiny would be of a disgraced human being who decides to undergo such a surgery deceived that he could improve his living condition," he observed.

Even without considering the ethics involved, what is most dramatic is that Canavero would like to attempt the head transplant in absence of any scientific evidence that the spinal cord can be reconnected, Delitala underlined.

"If Canavero really had found a revolutionary technique to reconnect the spinal cord, then why not apply it to people with spinal cord injury before attempting a head transplant?" he pointed out.

Canavero's objection to this question, Delitala went on saying, would be that in a head transplant the spinal cords would be cut cleanly with a super sharp nano-blade to minimize damage, differently from surgery for clinical spinal cord injury where there is a lot of damage.

"But let us be serious. Scientific evidence is something different," Delitala insisted.

"I think that Canavero's proposal is an escapist flight of fancy which unfortunately today is not possible. I believe that bone marrow regeneration will be developed through biotechnology techniques and not through any super sharp nano-blade as Canavaro calls it," he said.

Apart from the web, where sensational news stories arouse curiosity, Canavero has not been followed through neither in Europe nor in the United States, where he has never submitted his tests to the main scientific associations, Delitala explained to Xinhua.

Yet thanks to his proposal, Canavero was able to travel across the world and be welcome in various countries, he has been in the spotlight, Delitala said.

"But real research is carried out in laboratories, not in theaters or on television. Real research is hard and continuous, it requires effort and investment, it takes its toll," he added.

"Of course we are very interested in Canavero's research on spinal cord fusion technique, and we would be proud of such an important contribution from our country to help paraplegics walk or quadriplegics move their arms, but we need scientific evidence, otherwise we are in the field of imagination," Delitala told Xinhua.

"Our next neurosurgery conference will be held in Rome next October, and the deadline to submit works is May 31. Any innovative proposal is welcome, but only if based on scientific method," he concluded.


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