General Question

TROLL's avatar

When it becomes possible to transplant every part of the human body,is it beyond the realms of possibility to keep a person/persons alive forever?

Asked by TROLL (378points) May 13th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

14 Answers

TaoSan's avatar

Question is, would it be the same person?

Dog's avatar

Shilolo had a really brilliant answer to a question similar to this that delved into the topic at a cellular level.

If I can find it I will post.

Resonantscythe's avatar

In order to still be you, the brain would have to remain. Therefore you can age to 90, switch out all the other internal organs with ones that are as healthy as a 20 year old that properly eats and exercises, but you would still die from brain aging.
The answer “switch the brain too” is no good because now you’ve taken away the only part that defines a person. since that is where the consciousness is held, you cannot claim that person is one and the same with who you started out with.
Even if you were to clone the person and try to insert that brain, it’s not the same person anymore, it’s this clone that will develop it’s own personality and identity.

Crusader's avatar

The brain stem contain 100’s of millions of nerve endings,
Sure transplantation is possible, as a quadrapalegic,
Brain transplants have been successful in monkeys, with the above results.

richardhenry's avatar

@TaoSan Assuming they kept the brain, I’d say so.

oratio's avatar

Mmm, growing body parts and repairing brain tissue from stem cells might make it possible. But transplants from other people and all that anti-rejection medication, seems like a dead end. But I guess the real key is to re-engineer the dna and cells to not grow old. I read that turtles – or some turtle specie – don’t die from old age. We seem to be “wired” to die.

TaoSan's avatar


Exactly, therein lies the crux. Even if you replace everything else, you still have the problem of “personality/memory” transfer.

Tobotron's avatar

well I read about a year ago that within the decade they expect to have a PC with the same computational power of the human brain, they then said they had enough storage available to them now to store the equivalent in tera bytes or whatever of the human brain…so in theory if you downloaded the brain to this computer shouldn’t it be able to process and function as before!? Philosophical one for you there, scary too huh…

oratio's avatar

@Tobotron Yeah, a bit weird and scary. It’s probably going to happen sooner or later. Later though, much later. Since they still don’t understand how the brain works really, it’s difficult to imagine that they would be able to say that a computer could match a brain with certainty. I think that most things in sci-fi can be done. I don’t see much practical use of a light saber for real though.

Crusader's avatar

Positronic brain matrixes operate with tera-byte capacity and even greater, this is in processing speed, not memory, memory would by in a factor of 10 the the 50 power. We are No Where Near that now, perhaps nano tech will expedite the process, but who knows for sure?

and @oratio, light sabers are plenty useful, just use the force…plus the ability to defend oneself from energy weapons is always a plus, not to mention the fact that metal sculptures would be much more efficient.

Tobotron's avatar

@Crusader I know where not there now thats why I said within the next 10yrs…I’m only going by some article in New Scientist or equivalent…still its inevitable eventually…

oratio's avatar

@Crusader Hehe. Yup. :p

Demonacle's avatar

I would replace everything but my brain and dick.

food's avatar

I think it is…
I think the purpose of transplanting is to have a normal life…
I probably shouldn´t answer this, as it´s a philosophical question and I have a vested current practical interest in this topic right now.

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