CLEVELAND — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous story.
On this edition of "Health Yeah! With Monica Robins," Monica speaks with author Dr. Brandy Schillace. She writes non fiction on death and dying, the history of science and steampunk.
Dr. Schillace just released a new book, titled 'Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher' A Monkey’s Head, the Pope’s Neuroscientist and the Quest to Transplant the Soul." It's about well-known Cleveland neuroscientist and surgeon Dr. Robert White and his efforts to transplant the human brain/head. From publisher Simon & Schuster:
"In the early days of the Cold War, a spirit of desperate scientific rivalry birthed a different kind of space race: not the race to outer space that we all know, but a race to master the inner space of the human body. While surgeons on either side of the Iron Curtain competed to become the first to transplant organs like the kidney and heart, a young American neurosurgeon had an even more ambitious thought: Why not transplant the brain?
"Dr. Robert White was a friend to two popes and a founder of the Vatican’s Commission on Bioethics. He developed lifesaving neurosurgical techniques still used in hospitals today and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. But like Dr. Jekyll before him, Dr. White had another identity. In his lab, he was waging a battle against the limits of science, and against mortality itself—working to perfect a surgery that would allow the soul to live on after the human body had died.
"Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher follows his decades-long quest into tangled matters of science, global politics, and faith, revealing the complex (and often murky) ethics of experimentation and remarkable innovations that today save patients from certain death. It’s an enthralling tale that offers a window into our greatest fears and our greatest hopes—and the long, strange journey from science fiction to science fact."
3News Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins had the privilege of knowing Dr. White, who passed away in 2010.
Dr. White did succeed in transplanting the head of a primate that then lived for nine days. But that's just one part of Dr. White's storied career that's captured in Dr. Schillace's book. Dr. White's science is weaved through some of the biggest turning points in history, not just medical history.
Dr. Schillace's books have been reviewed in Science Magazine, New York Times, Boston Globe, New Yorker and Wall street journal. She’s also the 2018 winner of the Arthur P. Sloan Science Foundation award and has appeared on Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the museum and NPR’s Here and Now. She’s also editor in chief of BMJ’s Medical Humanities Journal.