this is a warning! i dont want anyone to be hurt or offended by the contents of this entry. i myself am not for animal testing and i do not entirely agree with everything that happened in this report. PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION!!************

    Rachel Lepard
    Mr. Katt
    English 11B
    3 April 2008

    It was a cold February morning in Russia, 1954. Journalist, accompanied by heavily armed guards, were chauffeured through Moscow to a medical research lab hidden deep in the forest. They arrived perplexed, not knowing what awaited them behind the doors of the lab. Minutes later, the journalist are confronted by the most bizarre creature they had ever seen. On the end of its creators leash, the first man-made two-headed dog is lead through the doors of the lab. The dog had been created by joining the head and upper body of a puppy to the neck of an older dog. The journalist watched in terror and curiosity as the dog displayed clear cognitive abilities such as drinking and responding to touch and sound. Soon enough the whole world was informed of the strange dog hybrid (1).
    At the height of the cold war, Russia had executed many experiments involving the transplantation of organs. One of the forerunners of these experiments was Vladimir Demikhov. Demikhov was a skilled surgeon who experimented almost exclusively on dogs. His notable endeavors included the isolation and transplantation of dog hearts and lungs. He was able to isolate hearts and lungs from the body by means of life support machinery for days. He was also able to successfully transplant these organs into bodies of other dogs (3). Because of this success, Demikhov decided to go a little further. He figured, if hearts and lungs can be isolated from the body, cant the same be said for heads?
    Demikhov then removed the head of a dog and kept it alive with life support machinery. The dog could hear, smell, taste, see and move the muscles in its head. From this, Demikhov decided to go further still. He attached the head and upper body of a puppy to the windpipe and blood vessels of an older dog. Unfortunately, the hybrid dogs rarely lasted more than a week (1). Because of fervent Russian propaganda, the US soon learned of Demikhov’s creations (3)
    Around the same time, Robert White, a talented neurosurgeon, was working on isolating the brain. In 1962 he transplanted the brain of a dog to the neck of another, connecting the blood vessels. The two brained dog lived for days, but the experiment posed one problem: “if the brain is alive, is it conscious? (qtd. in 3)”. White realized he had no way of proving the brain still had thought or function. It seemed as if he had hit a dead end until he heard of Demikhov’s dog head transplant (3).
    On march 14, 1970, after three years of extensive study and planning, the worlds first true head transplant proved to be a success. The transplant was preformed upon two rhesus monkeys called monkey A and B. he first had to sever the heads of both monkeys. He then connected the blood vessels of A’s head to B’s body in order to keep the head alive by transfusing the blood. After hours of tedious work, the job was done. The only thing they had to do now was wait for the anesthesia to wear off. They waited in anticipation as the monkey slowly regained consciousness. One of the surgeons made the mistake of putting his finger in the dazed monkeys mouth and was bitten, thus showing the first signs of cognitive ability. Because White had to sever the spinal cord in order to switch the heads, the monkey couldn’t move any of the muscles in its new body (1).
    White went public with his discovery two years after it initially happened. Instead of being praised for his accomplishment, he was shunned and threatened by many different groups such as various religious affiliates and anti-vivisectionist. White had also suggested that people who suffer with debilitating degenerative diseases that destroy the body could benefit from this procedure. “People are dying today who, if they had body transplants,…would remain alive.”(qtd in 6).
    With the recent interest in stem cell research, transplanting a head onto another body could be a possibility. Some scientist believe that stem cells could create a link between broken nerve endings. If this is so then the transplantee could have the ability to move its new body. Of course, in doing so there would have to be an extended period of physical therapy. As well as stem cells, there’s also the development of immunosuppressants. Immunosuppressants do what the name implies, suppress the immune system. By suppressing the immune system the body has a lesser chance of rejecting foreign bodies like transplanted organs. Immunosuppressants could greatly improve the success rate and the longevity of patients who’ve received head transplants.
    Vladimir Demikhov died in November of 1998, but Robert White is still campaigning the first human head transplant. He even found a volunteer to be the first to have his head transplanted, Craig Vetovitz, a near quadriplegic. The public is still largely against the idea, but White doesn’t seem to be taking no for an answer. Perhaps, sometime in the future, head transplants will be as common as heart or kidney transplants.

    Works Cited

    1) “#11 Monkey Head transplant.” museumofhoaxes.com 17 March 2008 <museumofhoaxes.com>.
    2) “Awesome or Off-Putting: Dr. Whites Monkey Head Transplant.” hecklerspray.com 17 March 2008 <hecklerspray.com>.
    3) “First Head Transplant.” mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk 17 March 2008 <mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk >.
    4) “Frankenstein Fears After Head Transplant.” BBC News 17 March 2008 <news.bbc.co.uk>
    5) “TV Programme Reveals the REAL Frankensteins.” dailymail.co.uk 17 March 2008 <dailymail.co.uk>
    6) “Vladimir P. Demikhov, 82, Pioneer in Transplants, Dies.” query.nytimes.com 17 march 2008 <query.nytimes.com>