Episode 9 - The Reality of Head Transplants

In this episode, we take a look at the body of evidence surrounding the world's first proposed human head transplant surgery for 2017. Always best to look at the facts first, lest we get a-head of ourselves... Biological evidence, ethics discussions, and more head puns await in this new episode of Synapse Science.


  • Canavero, S. (2015). The “Gemini” spinal cord fusion protocol: Reloaded. Surgical neurology international,6. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4322377/)
  • Canavero, S. (2013). HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture Project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI). Surgical neurology international4(Suppl 1), S335. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821155/)
  • Estrada, V., Brazda, N., Schmitz, C., Heller, S., Blazyca, H., Martini, R., & Müller, H. W. (2014). Long-lasting significant functional improvement in chronic severe spinal cord injury following scar resection and polyethylene glycol implantation.Neurobiology of disease67, 165-179. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24713436)
  • Fawcett, J. W., & Asher, R. A. (1999). The glial scar and central nervous system repair. Brain research bulletin49(6), 377-391. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10483914)
  • Ren, X. P., Song, Y., Ye, Y. J., Li, P. W., Han, K. C., Shen, Z. L., ... & Yang, B. F. (2014). Allogeneic Head and Body Reconstruction: Mouse Model. CNS neuroscience & therapeutics20(12), 1056-1060. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25367718)
  • Shi, R. (2013). Polyethylene glycol repairs membrane damage and enhances functional recovery: a tissue engineering approach to spinal cord injury.Neuroscience bulletin29(4), 460-466. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23893430)
  • Silver, J., Schwab, M. E., & Popovich, P. G. (2015). Central nervous system regenerative failure: role of oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and microglia. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology7(3), a020602. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25475091)
  • Yuan, Y. M., & He, C. (2013). The glial scar in spinal cord injury and repair. Neuroscience bulletin29(4), 421-435. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23861090)

Sound effects used in this episode are from www.freesfx.co.uk

Music used in this episode (in order of appearance): "Fast Talkin" // "Artifact" // "Sneaky Snitch" // "Marty Gots A Plan" // "Bass Walker" // "Clean Soul" // "Unwritten Return". All music tracks are attributed to Kevin MacLeod and are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/. All audio clips added to the podcast are used for nonprofit, educational purposes.

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