I read a great news of head transplant to be done by Dr Sergio Canavero and his team. Mr. Alery Spiridonov, a wheel chair user, is hoped to be the first person to undergo a head transplant. But, more than the news the title grabbed my attention. Is it truly a head transplant or a body? The definition of “Transplant” given by oxford dictionary seems to be different from my opinion. It says “Take (living tissue or an organ) and implant it in another part of the body or in another body.” Also, the word “head transplant” ignores the value of identity. For me, it is a body transplant as the body is being donated for the head also after the operation it is the body that gets new identity not the head.
In the definition, if we consider the term “body” as the major or an important part instead of the body of a living being than it turns out to be a body transplant. As undoubtedly the major part is brain. It can be argued that our physical body contains all the important parts to generate energy and power our brain. But, how many of us know that Medulla Oblongata (Medulla) is responsible for the functioning of our repertory system. Therefore, any body part out of the reach of the brain will not function. The brain via spinal cord controls our entire body as results we are able to breathe eat, move, talk, and walk and so on. Then how can it be a head transplant just because our physical body is larger that our head.
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We don’t yet know whose body it is until the successful operation of body transplant. Or let’s say it does not even matter. Let there be two person “A” and “B”. If they decide to exchange their body such that person “A” gets the body of person “B” and vice versa. Now will the person “A” still be known as “A”? The answer is “YES”. The major reason is Person “A” is recognized from his head and more importantly he recognizes himself as “A”.
In this case body doesn’t matter for the identity, what matters is the recognition or ourselves. Similarly, in the case of Mr. Alery Spiridonov, he is receiving a new body so that he can overcome his limited physical activity. This will not change his identity he will still be known as Mr. Alery Spiridonov.
Therefore, if kidney is donated and implanted in new body then it is called kidney transplant, accordingly heart transplant, liver transplant, lungs transplant and so on. Than when the body is donated how it can be a “head transplant?” I believe even while defining the term” transplant” they didn’t even realized even an entire body can be transplanted. Even now we are curiously waiting to witness the historic moment with best wishes to Mr. Alery Spiridonov, Dr Sergio Canavero and his team.