The fact that Canavero has gone public with the latest results before the papers are published has raised eyebrows. “It’s science through public relations,” says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University School of Medicine. “When it gets published in a peer-reviewed journal I’ll be interested. I think the rest of it is BS.”

Thomas Cochrane, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School’s Centre for Bioethics, agrees that Canavero’s premature disclosure is unorthodox. “It’s frowned upon for good reason,” he says. “It generates excitement before excitement is warranted. It distracts people from actual work that everyone can agree has a valid foundation. As far as I can tell, that operation has mostly been about publicity rather than the production of good science.”