X-Message-Number: 12357
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: more on head transplants
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 23:14:10 +1000 (EST)

About body transplants:

First of all, the present situation in which a head cannot be wired to 
connect to a body may not last all that long. Repair of severed spinal
cords has been the subject of many studies (cf many issues of PERIASTRON).
Not only that, but recently 2 different methods were found to literally
glue together cut axons, thus avoiding the normal long times in which
healing of cut axons outside the brain occurs (cf last 2 issues of 

Second, by connecting the head of an older animal to a younger body,
we may have a decisive experiment on the center of aging. There are lots
of reasons to believe that aging goes with the brain, rather than with
the body: ie even the bodily signs of aging result from hormones or lack
of hormones coming from our BRAIN. One interesting experiment, the closest
to a head transplant study of this kind yet done, transplanted pineal
glands from old to young and vice versa. The pineal gland (which is in
our brain) of an old animal aged the young animal quite rapidly;
transplant of a young pineal gland to the aged animal caused an increase
in health, vigor, and longevity of the aged animals. This operation
actually worked much better than giving melatonin, a fact which needs
to be followed up. A partial explanation also comes from work by another
Russian researcher who has found that extracts of pineal gland also
increase longevity, even if melatonin has been removed from them.

Since such experiments deal with mice, there is no problem with immunity
at all (the mouse strains used were virtually identical in terms of immune
factors). A head transplant in mice, of course, might first require that
we learn more surgical technique, since mice are small.

			Best wishes and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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