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Over his forty-year career, Dr. Robert White founded a brain research laboratory, published hundreds of articles, participated in work that was nominated for the Nobel Prize, visited Russia in the midst of the Cold War and handled Lenin’s brain, advised multiple Popes on scientific ethics, became a target of animal rights activists, and raised ten children. Oh yeah, and he also transplanted a monkey’s head to another monkey’s body.
When Vladimir Demikhov unveiled his two-headed dogs in 1954, it inspired a strange kind of surgical arms race (or rather, head race) between the two superpowers. Eager to prove that its surgeons were actually the best in the world, the American government began funding the work of Robert White, who then embarked on a series of experimental surgeries, performed at his brain research center in Cleveland, Ohio, resulting in the world's first successful monkey-head transplant.
The head transplant occurred on March 14, 1970. It took White and his assistants hours to perform the carefully choreographed operation, separating a monkey's head from its body and reattaching it to a new body. When the monkey woke and found that its body had been switched for a new one, it angrily tracked White with its eyes and snapped at him with its teeth. The monkey survived a day and a half before succumbing to complications from the surgery. As bad as it was for the monkey, it could have been worse. White noted that, from a surgical point of view, it would have been easier to put the monkey's head on backwards.
Originally posted by sty
very interesting video, however I am not sure if the monkey survived very long - if you look at the video, the nose and the mouth of the monkey was seriously bleeding etc.
None of the monkeys lived more than a week after the operation - their faces swelled and bled as rejection set in.
Originally posted by Denied
However this procedure, would work with today's technology, only the spinal cord issue to overcome if you wanted full movement.
Today's catch is a 16-year-old female that has been caught and X-rayed five times since she first reproduced in 1996. Some of the turtles that show up at the shed are much older; although tagged as adults in the 1950s, they are still healthy and fertile. They're also the key to Congdon's groundbreaking discovery: Blanding's and perhaps also Midland Painted turtles don't senesce—deteriorate physically—as they grow old. They simply don't age. And Congdon says the females actually produce more eggs as they grow older: "They're crankin' compared to the young ones." When they do die, the cause is often an attack—hit by a car or mauled by a raccoon—or one of a number of infectious diseases that kill these turtles at all ages in seemingly equal proportions. While certain ailments, such as cancer and heart disease, strike older humans more often than they do younger ones, Congdon's animals don't seem to become more vulnerable to disease as they grow older.
The findings are turning the discussion of aging in mammals upside down. "His work is a sharp challenge to a theory that has been taken at face value—that senescence is inevitable," says Caleb Finch, professor of biological sciences and gerontology at the University of Southern California. "Here you have a vertebrate turtle that shows no increase in mortality and no loss of reproductive capacity at ages where mammals, including humans, will shut down totally." Other species with long life spans include sharks, tarantulas, and rockfish, and human gerontologists are starting to pay close attention. As Huber Warner, associate director of the Biology of Aging Program at the National Institute of Aging, says, "If we knew what regulates life span in turtles, that might be useful in figuring out how humans age and how to intervene."
There is an Emerging Area of Aging Research: Long-lived Animals with "Negligible Senescence". Scientists have found that in some animals their aging process is so slow that it is either nonexistent or too slow to be measured reliably in the laboratory. Negligible Senescence is what Caleb Finch, a scientist at USC studying this process, has decided to call this slow-aging or non-aging process. The animals, that exhibit Negligible Senescence, don’t have a finite life span like other animals. Which means they don’t have a maximum age of life where they would die of old age. They also seem to resist the diseases of old age. They have a life expectancy, or live to an age to which they die of disease, predators, or starvation- but not old age. In this sense, these animals can be considered immortal.
A German research group found that lobsters produce lots of telomerase and show few signs of aging during their long lives. Telomerase prevents the decay of Telomeres, which caps on the end of chromosomes. Normally, human cells divide about 75 times over a lifetime. Each time a cell divides, the telemere erodes. When this happens, the cell can no longer divide and eventually dies. These scientists believe telomerase has some kind of anti-aging property by protecting cells.