The relentless march of science

Professor Sergio-Canavero
Professor Sergio-Canavero is hoping to carry out the first head transplant. Is he a crackpot or a great innovator and visionary?

It has been a busy few weeks in the science arena. In the shadow of NASA’s announcement on the “Earth-like” planets around other stars, we heard that we no longer need to have our five portions of fruit and veg a day. We should now be aiming for 10 portions a day. The more, the merrier if you want to significantly reduce your chances of getting heart disease, stroke and cancer. In China significant inroads have been taken on the road to clean nuclear fusion, with a major breakthrough in burning hydrogen at a temperature hotter than our sun for well over a minute. This is one of the key requirements for a fusion reactor, which would offer unlimited clean energy and a move away from fossil fuels.

Scientists, might also have got a breakthrough in fighting the common cold. They now think they have a good grasp on the mechanism by which the cold virus replicates and are now working on a procedure to interrupt this mechanism

Reports on the story of a successful face transplant illustrates the tremendous progress made in this field, since the first full face transplant was performed in 2010. Before the end of 2017, if we are to believe the reports, a professor Sergio Canavero will attempt to perform the first head transplant. His partner / patient in this endeavour is Valery Spiridonov, a 31 year old suffering from Werdnig-Hoffman’s – a muscle-wasting disease which has left him confined to a wheelchair. A lot of the medical profession are sceptical to say the least and do not believe that medicine has advanced enough to allow for a successful surgery. Professor Canavero on the other hand is 100 % confident that the he can do it, and all going well expects Valery to be up and about having a chat shortly after the operation.

Whether he is a crackpot or not remains to be seen, but one thing he does have in common with great scientific revolutionaries like Darwin and Galileo is that their revolutionary ideas were also initially met with raised eyebrows and criticisms.