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Medical A person with no body

  1. Nov 10, 2008 #1
    This may be an absurd question partially due to the fact that I don't know a lot about biology. But is it possible to sustain life for a person who lost his head. What I mean, is a machine that pumps blood and supplies the head with everything it needs to keep surviving. From the top of my head, I can only thing of blood and information from the nervous system as being an input to the head from the body.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2008 #2
    I don't think with present technology we can interface a head to a machine. But if you duplicate the necessary conditions as provided by rest of the body, then I don't see why not.
  4. Nov 13, 2008 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    The brain (medulla oblongata) controls blood pressure, respirations and heartbeat, for example. The headless body will not survive long.

    Keeping bodies alive when there is absolutely no way to "wake them" violates medical ethics, anyway.
  5. Nov 15, 2008 #4
    Brain-death means dead.
  6. Nov 16, 2008 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think bassplayer is asking if a head can be kept alive, not the body.

    There is an old scifi classic that played with this idea: The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Now public domain.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6660611491774828467 [Broken]

    That movie scared the bejeesuz out of me when I was a kid. :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  7. Nov 16, 2008 #6
    Yes I did mean the head being alive and not the body. I realize its not possible but thought it would be interesting if someday it would be.
  8. Nov 16, 2008 #7


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    Dearly Missed

    You may read Roald Dahl's classic short story on that theme..
  9. Nov 16, 2008 #8


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    I see absolutely nothing unethical (in principle) in maintaining an individual's mental existence beyond the duration of his or her body's existence (for example, transferring the thoughts etc onto artificial circuits, creating a soul-bank).

    It MIGHT be unethical to demand of others to pay the upkeep of such machinery if the disembodied souls would not be able to provide services of various kinds to those others.
  10. Jan 10, 2009 #9

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