- HEAVEN/GEMINI International Collaborative Group, Turin, Italy
HEAVEN/GEMINI International Collaborative Group, Turin, Italy
DOI:10.4103/2152-7806.190472Copyright: © 2016 Surgical Neurology International This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.
How to cite this article: Canavero S, Ren X, Kim CY. HEAVEN: The Frankenstein effect. Surg Neurol Int 13-Sep-2016;7:
How to cite this URL: Canavero S, Ren X, Kim CY. HEAVEN: The Frankenstein effect. Surg Neurol Int 13-Sep-2016;7:. Available from: http://surgicalneurologyint.com/surgicalint_articles/7984/
The HEAVEN head transplant initiative needs human data concerning the acute restoration of motor transmission after application of fusogens to the severed cord in man. Data from two centuries ago prove that a fresh cadaver, after hanging or decapitation, can be mobilized by electrical stimulation for up to 3 hours. By administering spinal cord stimulation by applied paddles to the cord or transcranial magnetic stimulation to M1 and recording motor evoked potentials, it should be possible to test fusogens in fresh cadavers. Delayed neuronal death might be the neuropathological reason.
Keywords: Delayed neuronal death, electrical stimulation, fusogens, spinal cord fusion
Cephalosomatic anastomosis is made possible by the GEMINI Spinal cord Fusion protocol.[
Another possibility exists, namely, testing the fusogens on fresh cadaveric specimens. This exploits the phenomenon of delayed neuronal death and is supported by observations made two centuries ago in which electric jolts induced complex motor responses in fresh cadavers.
In 1802, at the height of the controversy on the existence of animal electricity between Alessandro Volta (con) and Luigi Galvani (pro),[
These data prove that electrical stimulation up to 3 hours after death can engage the CNS and produce movements, in agreement with Aldini's predictions: “convey an energetic fluid to the seat of all sensations; distribute its force throughout the different parts of the nervous and muscular systems; produce, reanimate and, so to speak, control the vital forces: this is the object of my research…from the theory of galvanism.”[
In other words, it appears that a fresh cadaver might act as a proxy for a live subject as long as a window of opportunity is respected (a few hours). It also implies that the process of deathly disintegration is not an immediate process (see below). We name this effect the “Frankenstein effect.” We believe this has a neuropathological basis.
It is generally believed that a neuron is highly sensitive to hypoxia or glucose deprivation, and that cerebral ischemia of more than several minutes results in irreversible brain neuron damage.[
However, this belief seems to be negated by the above-reviewed data and modern evidence. The reality is that there is no well-accepted definition of the point at which a cell dies.[
Siemkowicz and Hansen[
As first characterized in 1982 by Kirino,[
These studies refer to stroke models in animals and humans.[
In view of many failed trials based on animal data, the need to acquire clinically relevant experimental data in neurology is urgent, and this also applies to spinal cord fusion protocols. Organoids (“minibrains”) have been grown for exactly this purpose.[
As a corollary, the same line of reasoning suggests that current protocols to rapidly (within the hour) freeze just-deceased heads (and/or whole bodies) for future reanimation might actually turn out to be successful, provided the de-thawing process does not damage cellular bodies.[
Both occurrences are likely due to the phenomenon of delayed neuronal death.
1. Aldini J.editorsAn account of the late improvements in galvanism, with a series of curious and interesting experiments performed before the commissioners of the French National Institute, and repeated lately in the anatomical theatres of London, to which is added an appendix containing experiments on the body of a malefactor executed at Newgate, and dissertations on animal electricity, 1793 and 1794. London: Cuthell and Martin and J. Murray; 1803. p.
2. Best BP. Cryoprotectant toxicity: Facts, issues, and questions. Rejuvenation Res. 2015. 18: 1-15
3. Canavero S. HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture Project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI). Surg Neurol Int. 2013. 4: S335-42
4. Canavero S. The “Gemini” spinal cord fusion protocol: Reloaded. Surg Neurol Int. 2015. 6: 18-
5. Canavero S, Ren X, Kim CY, Rosati E. Neurologic foundations of spinal cord fusion (GEMINI). Surgery. 2016. 160: 11-9
6. Dai J, Swaab DF, Buijs RM. Recovery of axonal transport in “dead neurons”. Lancet. 1998. 351: 499-500
7. Finger S, Piccolino M.editorsThe shocking history of electric fish. New York: Oxford University Press; 2011. p.
8. Finger S.editorsOrigins of neuroscience. New York: Oxford university Press; 1994. p.
9. Gjedde A.editorsBrain energetics: integration of molecular and cellular processes. New York: Springer; 2007. p. 351-3
10. Hossmann KA.editors. Post-ischemic resuscitation of the brain: Selective vulnerability versus global resistance. Prog Brain Res. 1985. 63: 3-17
11. Kim CYPEG-assisted reconstruction of the cervical spinal cord in rat: Effects on motor conduction at 1 hour. Spinal Cord 2016. p.
12. Kirino T. Delayed neuronal death in the gerbil hippocampus following ischemia. Brain Res. 1982. 239: 57-69
13. Kirino T. Delayed neuronal death. Neuropathology. 2000. 20: S95-7
14. Lancaster MA, Renner M, Martin CA, Wenzel D, Bicknell LS, Hurles ME. Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly. Nature. 2013. 501: 373-9
15. Lipton P. Ischemic cell death in brain neurons. Physiol Rev. 1999. 79: 1431-568
16. Love S, Barber R, Wilcock GK. Neuronal death in brain infarcts in man. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2000. 26: 55-66
17. Mottelay PF.editorsBibliographical history of electricity and magnetism. London: C. Griffin and Co; 1922. p.
18. Parent A. Giovanni aldini: From animal electricity to human brain stimulation. Can J Neurol Sci. 2004. 31: 576-84
19. Pulsinelli WA, Brierly JB, Plum F. Temporal profile of neuronal damage in a model of transient forebrain ischemia. Ann Neurol. 1982. 11: 491-8
20. Siemkowicz E, Hansen AJ. Brain extracellular ion composition and EEG activity following 10 minutes ischemia in normo- and hyperglycemic rats. Stroke. 1981. 12: 236-40
21. Verwer RW, Hermens WT, Dijkhuizen PA, ter Brake O, baker RE, Salehi A. Cells in human postmortem brain tissue slices remain alive for several weeks in culture. FASEB J. 2002. 16: 54-60
22. Ye Y, Kim CY, Ren XP, Miao Q. Fusogen-assisted rapid reconstitution of anatomo-physiologic continuity of the transacted spinal cord. Focus on cephalosomatic anastomosis. Surgery. 2016. 160: 20-5
23. Zandt BJ, ten Haken B, van Dijk JG, van Putten MJ. Neural Dynamics during Anoxia and the “Wave of Death”. PLoS ONE. 2011. 6: e22127-