Thinking with your heart (literally) - It's Woo don't worry ;)

i-75fa6f7cebb4145668724f37f5a52b36-steve_icon_medium.jpgA number of people have noticed that after getting transplants their personality changes - and not only that- their personality changes to reflect the donors personality.
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...though she was born and raised in Tucson, she never liked Mexican food. She craved Italian and was a pasta junkie. But three years ago, all that changed for Jaime Sherman, 28, when she underwent a heart transplant at University Medical Center, after battling a heart defect since birth. "Now I love football, baseball, basketball. You name it, I follow it," said Sherman, a psychology student at Arizona State University. "And Mexican food is by far my favorite."
There is the 8-year-old girl who got the heart of a 10-year-old murder victim, according to medical reports. Plagued by nightmares of the crime after her transplant, the girl used the images in her dreams to help locate and convict her donor's killer.
That's when she learned 29-year-old Scott Phillips - who died of a head injury after a fight at a Phoenix bar - was a sports fan who loved Mexican food. He played on several teams at Kansas State University and followed college and pro sports. Sherman's metamorphosis from nonfan to superfan occurred well before she knew anything about her donor, though her obsession with Kansas State began after she met his family.

Woah.... amazing! Although...I wasn't totally convinced that hearts passed on memories until I saw this article today from MSNBC. Luckily they didn't propose the cellular memory hypothesis (more to come on this later).

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - A man who received a heart transplant 12 years ago and later married the donor's widow died the same way the donor did, authorities said: of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

These stories go on and on - but what really gets me is the absolutely insane explanations as to why this is happening...

Perhaps most controversial is the theory of "cellular memory" or "systemic memory" - the idea that cells, or even atoms and molecules, contain the living being's memory and energy, which are transferred in a donated organ. Proposed by University of Arizona psychologists - who also have studied near-death experiences and spiritual mediums - the theory was developed after studying 10 heart transplant patients who reported donor-related changes, including a male UMC patient who got a woman's heart, and soon was bothered by his new preference for the color pink and desire to wear perfumes. "What happens to these patients is not just a personality change, but a targeted personality change," said Dr. Gary Schwartz, a psychology professor and director of UA's Human Energy Systems Laboratory.

I also remember hearing that the reason this happens is that there is an "excess" of neurons attached to the heart that get taken along with it when it goes into the new body. The original article published in some arizona newspaper has disappeared but it seems that this, perhaps less than, trustworthy source has much the same information.

-Some of this was previously published on my old blog Omni Brain-

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There was something similar in the Washington Post recently, about a man who supposedly felt no emotions since he had a pacemaker installed.

We have several brains, not just the one located in our head.
In the 1990s a nervous system in the heart was discovered, which interacts with the brain and cal even induce autonomous decisional processes. I wrote recently about our brains and the opportunity to use them as decision makers in http://www.indranet.org/brains/

Blame Hollywood. I know there have been at least a few horror movies along these lines that take "cellular memory" as a proven fact. It's apparently a given that gaining the body part of a serial killer will make you extremely dangerous to be around. Be warned!

Ivo Quartiroli,

From your link: "The heart has a limited number of neurons, but has an electromagnetic field which is 5,000 times stronger than the field generated by the brain. It is assumed that this field could transmit information which could be received by other people."

I am certain that SOME people make this assumption. It's not a good assumption to make (though it is hilarious, thanks!), and you'd probably have to cite some research from the last 17 years to support it (instead of a book from 1991).

Also, the nerves that woo-merchants claim could explain these post-transplant differences cannot possibly be an explanation: they are REMOVED from the heart prior to transplant.

Also, if you receive the transplanted hand of a murderer, the hand may try to murder you or other people; even it's been severed again, it will still come after you, crawling like some nightmare sea creature, until you can throw it back into the grave of its original owner. Just a head's up.

By NoOneYouKnow (not verified) on 18 Apr 2008 #permalink

I have a heart transplant in 2002 and I still have nightmares theres a person always watching me and following me in the dreams but I cant see there face, and I ask in my dreams to let me see him,or her but never happens. I think is very true about people with heart transplant have this nightmares