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The methods described in pages are a theoretical discussion ONLY. Methods are discussed in only the broadest terms and I hold no qualifications in the fields discussed.
Because a method is listed here does not indicate that I approve or recommend it. In some cases, I definitely don't!

It's an amusing idea in tf fiction of the mad-scientist-experiments-on-hapless-victim type to surgically transplant the brain of the subject into the body of an animal. Now, let me say from the outset that my major objection to this technique would be: where is the donor body coming from? Take a healthy horse and remove its brain? I don't think so! NEXT!

Okay, but back up a bit: is that the end of the discussion? Science Fiction author Robert Heinlein wrote about the extension of human life by creating an artificial clone of the subject in vitro: the clone is genetically identical to the subject, but has no fore-brain. The brain is transplanted from the elderly subject into the new youthful body. Suppose we could grow an equine body in the same way?

Technically there are then two issues: a brain is a very complex organ, with millions of nerve connections: how could such a transplant be achieved practically? Secondly, what about tissue rejection; the bane of all transplant procedures?

Well, as to the first problem, leading research suggests that knitting nerves in large numbers might be surprisingly easy. There is a suggestion that nerves are a body's USB connections: they aren't specific to a task. A nerve which once carried optical information can just as happily carry tactile or olfactory data. The brain accepts all signals, and after a reorientation period, adapts itself and provides the conscious mind with the reprocessed information. There is already experimentation with the implantation of cybernetic devices such as cameras for the blind, and early findings suggest that the brain is not overly picky about where the input is connected. That's vastly over-simplifying things, but the point is that nerve "Alpha-635938745" does not have to be linked precisely to the corresponding nerve in the body. And as to the sheer quantity of connections to be made, nanotechnology might well offer a way forward here: microscopic self-replicating machines capable of knitting nerve fibres may well help.

The second problem might be tackled by the creation of a chimera host-body. Chimeras exist today. Human stem cells are injected into a gestating foetus at a certain stage. The result is an animal that looks normal but in fact has a large proportion of human and human-animal-hybrid cells. This is being investigated as an option for human transplant operations. Sounds gross? Well, it is an ethical mine-field, but is there a difference between growing an animal for meat and growing one for transplant? And if you disagree with that argument, how about growing a host-body in vitro: artificially growing a body in a lab environment. Rather Frankensteinian, yes, but creating a body tailored to be a receptical for a donor brain does sidestep the moral issue about who donates the body.

Another option here is the cyborg. Suppose a sophisticated android body could be built with an artificial life-support chamber capable of supporting a human brain indefinitely. A large animal body is much more plausible than a human android: much more room for bulky power supplies and equipment. The brain need not be housed in the head for instance: a nice armoured unit in the chest would make more sense. Robotics is some way off from such a creation yet, but there is nothing theoretically impossible about it. The idea of housing a brain in a machine has been mooted for the exploration of hostile environments such as space or the deep sea.

Technology needs to advance a long way yet, but there is intense research going into all the aspects required to make this somewhat macabre scenario a reality.

Wikipedia Whole-body Transplant: an article on brain transplantation.
Wikipedia Entry on cloning.

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