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Scientists in China conduct 'successful' head transplant on rat

Scientists in China claim to have conducted a successful head transplant on a rat.

Controversial surgeon Sergio Canavero and colleague Xiaoping Ren attached the head of a smaller rat onto a larger one while maintaining the brain activity of the donor.

A third rat was used to keep up blood pressure on the rats being operated on, which otherwise would have been catastrophic and killed the animals.

The experiment was repeated on a number of other rats. Most only survived for around 36 hours after the procedure.

But it was hailed as a success by Dr Canavero because its goal was to avoid major blood loss.

Images of the rats appear to show the donor’s front paws and head stitched to the upper neck of the recipient rat.

Dr Canavero has previously conducted a similar experiment on a dog, in which its spinal cord was severed, but it is unknown how long it survived for.

Last year, he claimed to have successfully carried out a head transplant on a monkey, which survived for 20 hours before being euthanised for ethical reasons.

Despite the poor survival rate of the rats, Dr Canavero maintained the experiment was a crucial step forward towards head transplants on humans.

But other neurosurgeons have disputed this claim. Responding to the dog experiment, neuroscientist at Case Western Reserve University Jerry Silver told the New Scientist: “These papers do not support moving forward in humans.”

Dr Canavero has announced he and Dr Xiaoping will attempt to carry out the first head transplant later this year in Harbin, China.

He first announced his intention to carry out the procedure in 2013 and has been encouraged by his latest success.

A Russian man with the degenerative Werdnig-Hoffman's disease named Valery Spiridonov was going to undergo the procedure but Dr Canavero has now said a Chinese citizen will undergo the process.

In a statement, Dr Canavero said a “high number of volunteers from all over the world came forward”.

He added: “The final decision is only made immediately prior to the operation, as it also depends on the body donor, who has to be compatible with the receiver in many ways.”

Other scientists have strongly criticised the plan.

"I would not wish this on anyone," said Dr Hunt Batjer, the president of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, in 2015. "I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death."

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Men risk their lives in wars so women can enjoy societies where they can pursue feminist goals, such as punishing men for sexist language.

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Five types of orgasms you never knew women could have – and how to give them to her

While a man’s orgasm is pretty straight forward, a woman’s orgasm is complex in that it can be achieved in many different ways.

Five ways to be exact. There are five main types of orgasm for women, the main two being the clitoral and the vaginal (G-spot).

While we have previously explained the difference in feel between the vaginal and clitoral orgasms, there are several other kinds of orgasms that are different altogether.

Here’s how to give her five different kinds of orgasms – and blow her mind in the process.

1. A-spot

The A-spot, or the Anterior fornix erogenous zone, is located deep inside the vagina about two to three inches higher than the G-spot and behind the cervix.

If you manage to find this zone, it can lead to “overwhelming orgasms” that radiate across the pelvis and down the legs.

2. U-spot

The U in U-spot stands for urethral opening. If the area around a woman’s U-spot is gently caressed this can get them going.

The best way to go about this is with soft touches rather than strong pressure and when the area is well lubricated. Another way to stimulate this area is for the man to run the head of his penis from the entrance of the vagina up to the clitoris and back.

3. Eargasm

While this kind of orgasm isn’t genital-based, it is a real, tangible thing. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a sensation that spreads from the scalp down the back of the neck, across the shoulders and down the spine.

So how can you achieve this? By listening to certain soft, crackling sounds through headphones. A good place to start is on the WhispersRed ASMR channel on Youtube.

And here are some tips for the regualr orgasms:

4. Clitoral

This is the most common way for women to orgasm, the clitoris contains 8,000 nerve endings – twice that of a penis – and is actually nine centimetres long but only the tip is visible to the naked eye.

Some studies suggest 94% of women need clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, but direct contact can sometimes be uncomfortable so make sure to massage it and listen to her instructions as to what feels good.

5. Vaginal (G-spot)

To find the G-spot, you will need to look one to two inches inside the vagina on the front wall – towards the belly button.

In some women there will be a small patch of tissue there that feels rougher or puffier than the surrounding flesh.

This area responds to firm stimulation and motions and can be hit during intercourse.

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A woman tells her story: ‘Why did you cut my clitoris?’

Female genital mutilation is a widespread practice globally. One woman tells Rappler her experience and how she has never achieved an orgasm because of her circumcision.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – When Mary* was in elementary school, a male classmate was circumcised.

He received gifts from friends as a form of congratulations, prompting Mary to tell her mother when she got home, “I should get circumcised, Mom. I can get a lot of money.”

Her mother’s response was not what she expected.

“You’re already circumcised,” her mother said.

“I didn't know that. When?"

“When you were a newborn.”

Mary recalls walking away from that conversation thinking everyone got the procedure done – females at birth, males perhaps when they were a little older.

But it wasn’t until later that Mary understood the meaning of the conversation she had with her mother.

Mary is one of 200 million women worldwide who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). The number, according to a new report from UNICEF, is 70 million higher than what was reported in 2014.

While the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of FGM from 2004-2015 is in Africa, the data shows that the increase is partly due to population growth and new data collected in Indonesia.

Indonesia, with its population of 250 million people, is one of 3 countries that account for half of all FGM victims in the world, along with Egypt and Ethiopia.

Cutting the clitoris

It was in junior high school when Mary first realized that female circumcision was not a regular practice.

In conversation with her girl friends, Mary learned that not everyone had undergone the procedure as a baby – even if all of them were Muslim.

First, she started to argue about how it was an obligation in their religion, as she had always thought it was, but becoming more curious, decided to read more on the matter.

She started reading books on sexual and reproductive health, studying photos of vaginas. She learned about the clitoris – and realized she didn’t have one.

Soon after, she read a book about female circumcision in Arab culture, including books by Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi, which thoroughly addressed and denounced female circumcision.

“I read the book and learned that the practice was one of many ways to control women. One way was through circumcision,” she told Rappler.

According to UNICEF, FGM includes all procedures “that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.” It is a practice recognized internationally as a violation of human rights of girls and women, with February 6 being the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Even within Indonesia, the practice differs in various regions.

Secretary General of the Women's Coalition Dian Kartika Sari said the culture of female circumcision in each region is different.

"There is not just one cut," she told Rappler on Friday, January 8.

In the island of Madura for example, the clitoris is cut. In other regions, the feeling on the clitoris is “killed” by slicing off a small part, but it is not completely cut off. He also said it is still practiced in some urban areas.

In 2010, the Ministry of Health released a regulation that authorized certain medical professionals, such as doctors, midwives and nurses, to perform circumcision on female patients. The technical details of circumcision was even mentioned in the regulations: "Make a scratch on the skin that covers the front of the clitoris by using the tip of a disposable sterile needle, measuring 20G-22G of the mucosa toward the skin without injuring the clitoris” said article 4, paragraph 2.

The regulation was repealed by the Deputy Minister of Health Ali Ghufron Mukti soon after.

Because while FGM is widely practiced in Indonesia, many others in the country do denounce FGM as a violation of rights. According to UNICEF, FGM violates women’s and girls’ “right to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.”

What orgasm?

For Mary, one of the rights taken from her was her sexual rights – at 33, Mary has never experienced an orgasm in her life.

She was first sexually active in college and is now married. But without a clitoris, Mary said she has never experienced an orgasm, a feeling her friends describe as “much like flying.”

“I can never relate when they talk about it,” she said. “It makes me sad.”

Mary said the books she read said women find it difficult to enjoy sex without a clitoris, admitting that she is unsure if her problem is psychological or physical.

Mary said the problem has caused stress for not just herself but for her husband, who for 5 years tried various ways to help her orgasm – but to no avail. She said she views sex now, as “just a waste of time,” describing her sex as “mediocre.”

There are two main reasons parents have their daughters undergo FGM in Indonesia: the first is religious, as many Muslims here believe that female circumcision is an Islamic requirement, or at the very least, is highly recommended in Islam. This is despite the fact that no formal links between Islam and FGM exist, and that no Islamic laws or Quranic verses speak of FGM, let alone make it a requirement.

Even Fatayat NU, the women's division of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, have acknowledged that FGM is not mentioned in the Quran and is simply a cultural product.

The second reason FGM is popular in Indonesia is because it is believed to reduce women's sexual desire and libido.

This belief is widely held. All parents obviously want their children to live the best lives possible, and for most Indonesian parents, this includes no sex before marriage. In today's hypersexualized world, Indonesian parents would do all they could to ensure their children are safe from the risks of “seks bebas” or premarital sex.

Female genital cutting is believed by some to be one way of achieving this. Without it, it is thought, girls will become sexually aggressive and will actively pursue “undesirable” sexual relationships.

‘Never again’

Previously furious at her parents who asked that doctors circumcise her and her sister upon birth, Mary has since accepted her fate – and the fact that the effects of FGM is something she will have to live with for the rest of her life.

Mary said her parents were apologetic when she first confronted them about it, saying she was born in an Islamic hospital where it was common practice. Her parents, she told Rappler, didn’t know better.

UNICEF data shows Mary’s experience is not that unique. Data shows that parents are the ones who ask for circumcision for their children the most, followed by religious leaders, relatives, and community leaders.

Even today, many in Indonesia think FGM is still a necessity. Sari said many community leaders still preach FGM which is one reason why the practice still exists in Indonesia. It is also still a widespread myth that FGM has health benefits.

However there is no evidence that FGM affects cleanliness or vaginal health. Claims that urine and genital secretions accumulate and fester in the vulva, vagina or urethra have no medical backing. FGM does not reduce chances of urinary tract infections or infections of the reproductive system. Instead, data shows FGM causes risks to health.

Research reveals that FGM is carried out mostly on young girls between infancy and age 15. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and health issues like cysts, infections, infertility and complications in childbirth, with the increased risk of newborn deaths.

Mary, who now understands that FGM has had zero positive impact on her life, now advocates against the practice. She tells colleagues and other women to avoid the practice in their daughters.

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