A RUSSIAN man who volunteered to be a guinea pig for the world’s first head transplant has instead found himself head-over-heels in love with his glamorous new wife and their “miracle” baby son.
Severely handicapped Valery Spiridonov, 33, was ready to have his neck severed by Professor Sergio Canavero – dubbed ‘Dr Frankenstein’ – and attached to a new, healthy body in experimental surgery.
In the event, the controversial Italian medic is now working in China where he has received funding for his research while the Russian, who became world famous for his readiness to be decapitated for science, has found his own extraordinary new life.
Valery, a computer expert, had worked for two years with Dr Canavero but now accepts that the doctor’s first attempts at the futuristic surgery will now be on Chinese volunteers rather than him.
But he also revealed his suspicion s that something has gone “wrong” with head transplantation plans that mainstream medicine has decried as currently scientifically impossible.
The Russian, meanwhile, has moved to America to the University of Florida where he is studying the computer analysis of emotions.
In a recent posting he revealed that with him in America are his bride Anastasia Panfilova – in her early 30s – and the couple’s recently-born son.
A picture shows the proud father – who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman disease, a form of spinal muscular atrophy often leading to low life expectancy – holding his baby.
His baby – the boy’s name has not been revealed – was born six weeks ago and is healthy which Valery sees as a “miracle” since the condition can be inherited.
Anastasia, who has a masters degree in chemical technology and previously studied in Italy, underwent tests during pregnancy.
The couple are not seen in pictures together but she explained online her love of a man in a wheelchair.
“Such people are much deeper, feeling, faithful, kind-hearted, and also they are usually very smart… isn’t that the main thing?”
Valery said: “We lived in the same city, and often met on professional matters and soon realised that we felt really good together.
“She has several degrees… We got married a little over one year ago in Moscow.”
Valery is plainly happy with the way his life turned out — but he has challenged Dr Canavero to come clean on his work in China amid a suspicion that the Italian encountered problems with his techniques after carrying out a test transplant on two dead bodies.
“I understood that it was a great risk, that it had never been done before,” he told Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“But what did I have to lose?
“I could not lose just a tiny chance to walk normally”.
He claimed there is a lack of information from Dr Canavero on his experimental work in China.
“I do not regret it that Canavero did not reach the final goal – or did reach it, and failed,” he said.
“This was just a normal working process. The only thing we lack from him is more publicity.
“Everybody would have benefited from information about what went wrong in China and why.
“I don’t have such information today and it does not help the further research.
“I do hope Canavero will publish it in detail one day.”
Instead of becoming a guinea pig, Valery has designed a “smart” wheelchair operated by voice, and is working on consultancy projects.
Valery said of the doctor: “I am deeply grateful to Canavero.
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“Thanks to our joint efforts, a lot is changing for the better, and for me too.”
He admitted: “I feel a weight lifted off my chest.
“I never had a vain motive to become the first (head transplant).
“I gave two years of my life to this project.
“I will be glad to see it happening (with someone else).”