Researcher Nenad Sestan, who leads the team of scientists at Yale University, revealed the nature of the research at a meeting at the National Institutes of Health last month. The theme of his presentation was an attempt to discuss ethical concerns about further research into the human brain.
The researchers, in a nutshell, managed to cut the heads of the animals (pigs) and keep their brains alive without being connected to the body.
Through a delicate, complex process, they managed to keep the mind alive by connecting it to a closed system called "BrainEX." This system supplies artificial blood and oxygen to areas of the brain and thus keeps it alive.
The researchers reportedly intend to create a complete atlas of the connections between human brain cells, a very large business which has never been carried out to date. This could lead to the ultimate understanding of the human brain.
The research itself may be able to change everything. We may need to change the way we think about death, consciousness, souls, and even what it means to be human.
Sestan told the NIH that it is possible that brains could be kept alive indefinitely and that they could take steps to restore awareness. But he said it was "uncharted territory" at the moment.
Naturally in terms of ethics there are too many concerns.
What if someone wakes up in an environment of complete sensory deprivation? If scientists find that "normal" brain activity can continue except of body, will not it be a form of illegal imprisonment to keep someone "alive" in this situation?
So there are dozens of concerns that should be discussed before we start cutting people's heads to change their bodies, and rather the path to immortality should begin somewhere else.