1960s dog brain transplant was not followed by human studies

Researcher who did canine work went on to transplant monkey head

brain schematic

BRAIN SCHEMATIC  A 1975 schematic shows how neuroscientist Robert J. White kept a donor monkey brain “alive” while connected to a recipient’s body.

R.J. White/Resuscitation 1975

Dog brain transplanted  Dog brains have been successfully transplanted for the first time in medical history. Dr. Robert J. White and his team of scientists at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital … believe this accomplishment has opened the way to treatment of brain tumors, cancerous growths and a better knowledge of the cause and treatment of multiple sclerosis.The transplant … acted as a second brain in the animal’s neck. — Science News Letter, November 13, 1965


In 1970, White transplanted a rhesus monkey’s head onto a decapitated body, but the animal did not survive long. The problem of how to reconnect severed spinal cords remains a major hurdle to brain transplant­ation. In 2013, an Italian neuroscientist proposed a full head transplant, but many neuroscientists consider the idea technically and ethically out of bounds. Recently, special glues have shown promise in fusing severed nerve tissues. Most of today’s above-the-neck transplant research focuses on faces rather than brains or heads.

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