Could a brain be kept alive independently of a body?

Humanity is inching ever closer to Futurama-esque heads-in-jars. 

2nd January 2013
Could a brain be kept alive independently of a body? (iStock)

Asked by: Jackie McLean, Glasgow

Gruesomely, the answer is yes – at least for a while. As long ago as 1925, Dr Sergei Briukhonenko of the Chemical-Pharmaceutical Institute in Moscow showed that the severed heads of animals could be kept alive for several hours if connected up to a crude version of what became the life-saving heart-lung machine.

 


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