Scientists Just Transplanted Small Rat Heads Onto Bigger Rats

Researches successfully avoided brain-damaging blood loss while the donor head was being attached to the recipient rat.

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Apr 27 2017, 1:00pm

The world has been gifted, or maybe cursed, with the latest iteration of creepy head transplant experiments.

In a new study published in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, researchers in China grafted the heads of smaller rats onto the necks of larger rats because we all know that rats with two heads are better than rats with one.

Image: CNS

These experiments harken back to the two-headed dog experiments of the early 1900s and 1950s as well as the two-headed monkey experiments of the 1970s. Some already claim to have successfully completed full head transplants, but how successful those experiments have been is unclear. 

The goal of this particular version was to avoid brain-damaging blood loss while the donor head was being attached to the recipient rat—an issue we'll have to figure out if head transplants actually become a thing. One scientist, not affiliated with the rat transplant, is currently working towards the first human head transplant, so figuring out these logistics isn't just for kicks.

Image: CNS

The way these researchers tackled this problem was by attaching the blood vessels of the donor rat's head to the blood vessels of a third rat whose circulation kept blood flowing continuously to the donor rat's brain. Once the new rat head was all settled on the recipient rat's body, the donor head's blood vessels were then attached to the recipient's. No damaging blood loss was detected on the EEGs monitoring the donor rat's brain activity throughout the transplanting procedure.

Great news for anyone hoping for a head transplant in the future.

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