Cellular Memory — Organ Recipients With Characteristics of Donor


“A 47-year-old Caucasian male received a heart from a 17-year-old African-American male. The recipient was surprised by his new-found love of classical music. What he discovered later was that the donor, who loved classical music and played the violin, had died in a drive-by shooting, clutching his violin case to his chest.”


“An eight-year-old girl received the heart of a ten-year-old girl who had been murdered. After the transplant, the recipient had horrifying nightmares of a man murdering her donor. The dreams were so traumatic that psychiatric help was sought. The girl’s images were so specific that the psychiatrist and the mother notified the police. According to the psychiatrist, “. . .using the description from the little girl, they found the murderer. He was easily convicted with the evidence the patient provided”


Some people, including prominent scientists and researchers believe that each cell in your body contains a “memory” of your personality, likes and dislikes and even emotions.  So far, it appears as though this “memory” has found itself primarily in heart transplant patients but there are reports of cell memory in other transplant patients as well.  The evidence manifests itself in the transplant patient taking on some of the characteristics of the donor.


As you may know, I had a heart transplant eight months ago and while I do not dismiss the possibility of Cellular Memory I believe I am the same person I was prior to the surgery.  Additionally, of all the transplant patients I know, I have not heard any of them suggest that they have changed or had feelings that did not belong to them.

The examples quoted above come from a paper written by Leslie A. Takeuchi, BA, PTA, a physical therapist assistant and currently a graduate student in Holistic Health Education at John. F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California.  To read the full text go to: http://www.med.unc.edu/wellness/main/links/cellular%20memory.htm

According to Ms.Takeuchi’s paper, “Medical opinion is skeptical over whether organ recipients can gain more than just a lifeline from their transplants. But Gary Schwartz, a professor of medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at the University of Arizona, says research by a team he leads has found definite links. He calls it ‘cellular memory’.


He has documented 70 cases where he believes transplant recipients have inherited the traits of their donors.  Prof Schwartz said, “When the organ is placed in the recipient, the information and energy stored in the organ is passed on to the recipient. The theory applies to any organ that has cells that are interconnected. They could be kidneys, liver and even muscles.”


I like to think I am a practical person but I am also open minded and while the idea of Cellular Memory sounds a little “out there” to me I would like to know more.  What are your experiences readers?  If you have been an organ recipient do you feel as though you are different?  Have you heard any stories from other transplant patients who feel “different” as a result of the surgery.  All of us here would sure like to hear from you. 


Please read and comment on my World Wide Issues  blogs on http://blogsbybob.wordpress.com.   Also…visit my Facebook site, Organ Transplant Patients, Friends and You at  http://tinyurl.com/225cfh  OR — my Facebook home page  http://www.facebook.com/home.php






About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on May 19, 2008, in Cellular Memory. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I received a bone marrow stem-cell transplant for leukemia two years ago and since have been thinking that I’m crazy…but since just learning about this tonight…it confirms the many changes I have experienced since transplant…I no longer have food or seasonal allergies, I crave seafood which I hated before, my taste in music has even change. My personality has changed , I become angrier quicker and can be very stubborn. This is very new to me and very interesting!!!

    I have a blog that I just wrote tonight…you can access my blog by going to …embracingmynewnormal.blogspot.com


  2. For those of you that believe the book , its said in Ezekiel36;26,. that God shall give us a new heart. I thank you so much for the contribution of the recipient inheriting the traits , character ,speech temperament etc of the donor! I think God was hinting to us how heart transplant in the natural represents this great phenomenal. Yes, what has changed me? my desires,traits and character? I received his heart transplant! He is the donor am the recipient.

    Thanks for the information its very illuminating even for us that are religious. Keep it real!


  3. Deborah Phillips

    I am very grateful for all your help will go onto the link and search the key words as you say.
    Kindest regards
    Thank you also Bob for facilitating this mediation


  4. Deborah Phillips

    Can you cite the referance you use for your cardiac and enteric brain traits you say recently (in the last 10 years) have become evidently (as mentioned in your first paragraph) communicating to the head brain. Doing an MSc dissertation on sensory sensative space and belive that this notion that the body is able to intelligently respond to the environment through the skin is reinforced by this kind of research.
    Cellular memory as experienced by organ recipient drew me to google this phenomina. A productively conjucive architectural space is all the more likely when this phenomina is given cridence, due consideration and ultimately full comprehension.


    • Hi Deborah, check out http://www.heartmath.org/research/overview.html for numerous studies and papers, both published and unpublished that examine the links between the heartbrain and headbrain. There is also a load of information on the enteric brain and its communication pathways via the vagus nerve, available on the web with lots of references and citations. Unfortunately I do not have to hand a detailed bibliography of all the references, articles and papers I’ve read over the last few years.

      all the best with your research,
      cheers, Grant


  5. Bob, it has recently (in last 10 or so years) been shown that we have both a cardiac brain (approx. 40,000 neurons) and an enteric [gut] brain (approx. 100 Million neurons). These large chunks of neural tissue apparently constitute functional brains in their own right and communicate via the vagus nerve to the head brain.

    It is highly possible that when a heart/lung transplant occurs, that after some months, the brain in the transplanted organ begins to reconnect and send signals to the nervous system. It’s also possible that the heart brain may communicate via hormones, cytokines and other messenger molecules.

    This may help explain why in certain cases, where some sort of connection has managed to occur via neurogenesis, there is evidence of emerging donor personality traits and memories.

    Indeed, we know from folk wisdom, that the heart is the seat of values, appreciation and a certain level of intelligence. So the heart brain may well be a key component controlling and mediating preferences and desires.

    best wishes, Grant


  6. Hello . my sister just received bone marrow from my other sister a month ago .Both are very differant in personalities.Im seeing a big difference in personallity of sis with lukema who got transplant .Is it possable the transplant gave her traits of other sister too ? thank you


    • It is possible but there doesn’t seem to be much medical evidence that so called “cellular memory” is real. There are several reported individual cases of this happening but medical professionals are skeptical about it.


  7. I believe this is true. Some of my friends who’ve had transplants do mention that from time to time they felt differently and acted more like their donors. I would think it happens to a percentage of people.

    For me, not really. Don’t think I got any of my donor’s traits, at least not that I or he can tell.


  8. Hi congrats on the heart transplant, last November I donated a kidney to my mother. Since then my mother has complained that she has inherited a couple of my annoying habits such as waking up early (which she never did)and a physical habit of tapping her foot (which she used to always tell me irritated her). Myself and the whole family have noticed it and can’t believe it.


  9. Don Samarasingha

    What an open minded blog. Congratulations. Sorry to say i know of no evidence to support either side of the quest. But I have a VERY VAGUE feeling that blood transfusions affect personality very slightly. But I am sure it is so transient, no body notices it. Then again, there is nothing paranormal there. Many other proteins apart from cells get into you through transfusion – such as antibodies, cytokines, and loads of bits of hormones, neural transmitters etc. which sure affect the recipient. But this will never make you see the world in a different light or gain new likes and dislikes. Its just a body response to received chemicals and will fade away before anyone notices it. Hope this helps.


  10. greetings,
    first of all congrats on the transplant..
    i was wondering if you have any more information regarding how recipients would feel after transplants or even blood transfusions..
    i am very interested in the matter


  11. I am very impressed with your website. Congratulations on your Heart Transplant.

    I had a double lung transplant on 9/30/05. I can offer two things that have changed since the transplant. For one thing I used to be a big coffee lover, our huge coffee pot was always on, 24/7.

    Since my transplant all I really drink is water. I can’t stand drinking coffee. I like the smell, but I have never been able to drink a whole cup, so I don’t try.

    The other thing is a little one, but after transplant when our kids were visiting I asked if anyone would like a soda. My kids turned to me and asked, “since when did you start say soda?” I don’t know it just came out so easily. In Pittsburgh we say Pop, not soda. My donor is from Charleston, WV. I don’t know if that means anything at all. I know the organs came from Charleston, but I don’t really know just where he is from.

    I’m new to blogging, so my site will get going as soon as I learn how to do some things.



    • They say POP in WV as well. My family is from there.


    • When I was 60 yrs. old, I received a kidney, and pancreas from a 38 year old woman who died of a stroke. I was a very disciplined, strong personality male, with a slight amount of sympathy, and reserved emotions. I was an ex. Marine, and was a very private person. After my transplant, I became very kind, soft hearted, and emotional. I cried at the movies with women, and loved chocolate.
      I shared this with other organ recipients who all reported they had similar experiences. It is almost 6 1/2 years later, still the same person, with some additional personality traits I did not have before.


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