Category Archives: Cellular Memory

Can Transplanted Organs Change You? Do Cells Have Memories?


birthmarks and scarsSince I started writing this blog in September of 2007 I have posted nearly 200 entries on a broad range of subjects related to organ donation and transplantation.  Among those blogs are several about a phenomenon called “Cellular Memory.” 

 Simply defined cellular memory is a theory that suggests certain cells of the human body can act like mini-brains and store information which can be passed on to other people via organ organ transplants.  The result, according to the theory, is that transplant recipients can and often do display many of the personality traits of their donors.

There are a lot of resources available should you choose to further explore this phenomenon and one is, the wise Geek (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-cellular-memory.htm).  Here’s what they have to say.

According to some theorists, the cells of the body retain memories independently from the brain. This phenomenon is known as “cellular memory,” and it has attracted a number of supporters in various communities around the world. Many scientific authorities dispute the concept of cellular memory, arguing that phenomena which are attributed to cellular memory probably have more prosaic explanations.

The idea behind cellular memory is that cells can store memories about experiences, sensations, taste, habits, and other core aspects of someone’s identity. Promoters of the theory believe that these memories are stored through the exchange of chemicals between cells, just as they are stored in the brain. Theorists believe that cells may also be able to store information related to traumatic experiences.

This idea was popularized as the result of a number of anecdotal stories involving organ transplants. All of these stories involved recipients who adopted new habits after transplant, or who claimed to remember experiences which had not actually happened. Some people suggested that these events could be explained by cellular memory, as a result of donor organs influencing their recipients. Others suggested that they might be the result of chemical changes in the body caused by transplant medications.

Like many theories which are largely dismissed by the conventional medical establishment, the idea of cellular memory has not been rigorously tested in controlled studies. Supporters of the theory often reject such studies because they argue that they are flawed because of their connection with “the establishment,” while many skeptics are unwilling to embark on studies to disprove a theory which they already think is wrong. This rather short-sighted attitude is unfortunate, as it might be interesting to conduct large scale scientific studies to get to the bottom of the claims.

My blogs on the subject have gotten scores of comments, here are but a few.  As the saying goes…”we report…you decide.”

Tina writes:

I had a Kidney transplant almost a year ago and though I did not know who my donor was I agree with the statement of it being highly probable “overhearing” information from Medical Staff right before and during surgery. However, I can tell myself time over time that I have not changed any since my transplant and I would be forced to call myself a liar as well. Why else would I be looking up cellular memory topics?

Truth is even though I feel like myself most of the time people I socialize with are continuing to tell me “I act different, my personality changed, and even I’ve noticed the difference in food diet, likes, and interest, but isn’t that true of anyone? Changing with age? I also can not say if I believe or not in cellular memory or if it’s a combination of other attributes or all of the above but I have changed a little, some think I’ve changed a lot.  That brings me back to my first reason of why this might be- even though I was not to have information about my donor not even their gender I did however overhear small bits of information about him enough to perform my own research into the local obituaries for that time frame and narrowing the search with those small details and turning up with a 87% probable match for the criteria. After-which considering the person I found could be my donor, I began looking up recipes and coneural imagesoking food that I think he would like…. And enjoying every last Bite.

Kay posted this comment;

I am a kidney transplant recipient. My donor loved wine. Now I love wine. Drink it every night the last three years since my transplant. Any thoughts? I’ve been seeking answers.

Another Tina writes this:

You can scratch your head all day wondering if it’s possible? But I can tell you it’s real!!! My husband had a heart transplant 5 years ago. I saw little changes and could tell something was bothering him. About a year after transplant he finally opened up and told me what was going on. He knows how his donor died, he saw what came for the man, and the demons still unnerve him today! He has horrible night mares reliving this creature coming for the donor. We do not know who the donor was, but I assure you I can tell you the names of his loved ones.

I know this is hard to believe , but when you are living it, you know how real it is. Sunday we will be married 34 years, I know this man and I know what he is experiencing is real!!

Here’s what subscriber Greg had to say:

Here’s an interesting excerpt you might find useful (or not) unfortunately scientists rarely research obscure things like this.

“All mental fluidal powers are stored as firm and remaining information in all cells of the body. The information of the mental-block is stored within seconds in all of the body’s organs and in the entire cell system, whereby an organic and a cellular memory is created. If an organ is used for transplant, then the entire cellular and organic memory is transplanted as well. This means that the transplanted organ transfers all of its mental vibrations, energies, powers and information into the recipient’s entire body — even into his or her brain and consciousness. This also means that characteristics, wishes, hopes, fears, fright, horror, panic, addictions, sympathy, joys, etc. as well as behaviors are transferred…”

Have you ever heard of the Placebo effect? I’m sure you have, it’s a real testable effect that the psyche has on the entire body. But if you think about it a little deeper than that the psyche actually affects every cell in your body, then the above excerpt doesn’t really sound all that crazy.

The opposite of the placebo effect is called the nocebo effect which has negative effects on the cell, and this is also based on people’s beliefs.

It’s really not that hard to believe that organic cells hold the memories of the people who they belong to. When you consider that cells respond to our beliefs, there’s no other way to describe that then as a form of cellular memory.

So far the placebo effect hasn’t been attributed to any quantum mechanical effects as far as I’ve read, but quantum mechanical effects are present everywhere and constantly even if they are imperceptible to us.

I do think that one’s beliefs can change the outcome of a transplant, how much someone is affected by the transplant probably has a lot to do with their personal beliefs and their sensitivity towards those mental fluidal powers.

From Sue:

I, too, can atest that after receiving a Kidney and a Pancreas Transplant 8 yrs ago at the age of 40, I have found that I have “inherited” many likes and dislikes from (my random) donor. Weird things like my donor must have not liked “mint” foods and could not stand the sight of raw meat. On the other hand she must have really liked “french-style” green beans…lol I am very interested in learning more about this phenomenom.

Donna wrote:

I had a liver transplant 2 1/2 years ago & live with the joy and intrigue of this phenomenon (sp?) daily. My changes are food preferences, greater – much greater love of children & music. I am far more talkative and rather quick to express my opnion which I would have kept private before surgery. But best of all the young woman whose beautiful smooth pink liver I received must have sincerely been a very joyful & positive woman. And I love her.

I have no info on her and did not hear back from her family so I can’t absolutely tie these changes to her or simply my jubilation to have been blessed with the miracle of her life-saving gift. Please inform your immediate families of your wish to donate should that decision have to be made.

thank you.

From Ang:

I had 2 kidney transplants. First was from a biker who died in a motorcycle accident but I grew up around bikes so it never occurred to me. This 2nd one however I am starting to wonder because my body is acting like I am the age of my donor (61). I have slowed down a lot, and hate pop and only drink warm drinks like hot tea. I hate ice cream and am no longer a huge chocolate fan like I used to be. I also am gaining a lot of weight not related to the medication like the first one as this is more like my body is slowing down on burning calories. No matter how well I eat I still am steadily gaining even with stopping Prednisone.. In one year I have went up 4 sizes.

For more information about Cellular memory you might find the Skeptics Dictionary an interesting resource.  http://www.skepdic.com/cellular.html

Have you had an experience with Cellular Memory?  We sure would like to hear about it.  Comment here or send it to me bob@baronson.org.

 

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs.  This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed. 

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

En Espanol

Puede comentar en el espacio proporcionado o por correo electrónico sus pensamientos a mí en bob@baronson.org. Y – por favor, difundir la palabra acerca de la necesidad inmediata de más donantes de órganos. No hay nada que puedas hacer lo que es de mayor importancia. Si usted convence a una persona de ser donante de órganos y tejidos puede salvar o afectar positivamente a más de 60 vidas. Algunas de esas vidas pueden ser personas que conoces y amas.

Por favor, consulte nuestro nuevo video musical “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs YouTube. Este video es libre para cualquier persona que quiera usarlo y no se necesita permiso.

Si quieres correr la voz acerca de la donación de órganos personalmente, tenemos otra presentación de PowerPoint para su uso libre y sin permiso. Sólo tienes que ir a http://www.organti.org y haga clic en “Life Pass It On” en el lado izquierdo de la pantalla y luego sólo tienes que seguir las instrucciones. Esto no es un espectáculo independiente, sino que necesita un presentador pero es profesionalmente producida y sonido hechos. Si usted decide usar el programa le enviaré una copia gratuita de mi libro electrónico, “Cómo obtener un pie” O “que le ayudará con habilidades de presentación. Sólo tiene que escribir a bob@baronson.org y por lo general usted recibirá una copia del mismo día.

Además … hay más información sobre este sitio de blogs sobre otros donación / trasplante temas. Además nos encantaría que te unas a nuestro grupo de Facebook, la Iniciativa de Trasplante de Órganos Cuantos más miembros que obtenemos mayor será nuestra influencia con los tomadores de decisiones.

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Does An Organ Transplant also Transplant Donor Memories?


I have researched and published several blogs on  cellular memory and am doing it again because in the five years I have been writing the Bob’s Newheart column it is clearly the most popular topic.   It has had thousands and thousands of hits from all over the world.

Personally I am a cellular memory skeptic  in that I had a heart transplant in 2007 and developed no new habits or tastes.  I am pretty much who I always was.  Having said that I do not discount the experience of others who feel their lives, habits and even personalities have changed and in some cases the changes, they say, are dramatic.   Who am I to say that their experiences are not real?

Because of the popularity of the subject matter I embarked on another search to see if there was any new information since my last blog on the issue a couple of years ago.  I found this piece to be so complete I decided that rather than paraphrase or lift quotes from it I would just post the entire document.  Published originally by the Skeptics Dictionary, it covers just about every aspect of this most interesting phenomenon.  The Skeptic’s Dictionary calls itself “A Collection of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions and dangerous delusions.” and you can find it here http://www.skepdic.com/cellular.html

Cellular Memory

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

“The idea that transplanting organs transfers the coding of life experiences is unimaginable.”  –Dr. John Schroeder,  Stanford Medical Center

Cellular memory is the speculative notion that human body cells contain clues to our personalities, tastes, and histories, independently of either genetic codes or brain cells. The magical thinking of our ancestors may account for the first beliefs in something like cellular memory. Eating the heart of a courageous enemy killed in battle would give one strength. The practice of eating various animal organs associated with different virtues such as longevity or sexual prowess* is one of the more common forms of magical thinking among our earliest ancestors. Even today, some people think that eating brains will make them smarter.

The idea of cellular memory has been used in several films. For example, Les Mains d’Orlac (1920) by Maurice Renard  (1875-1939) is built around a story of a concert pianist who loses his hands in an accident and is given the hands of a murderer in a transplant operation. The pianist then develops an urge to kill. Several variations of Renard’s story have made it into film, including Orlacs Hände, a 1924 silent Austrian film, Mad Love (1935), Les Mains D’Orlac (1960), and Hands of a Stranger (1962). A similar story is told by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (authors of Vertigo) in et mon tout est un homme (1965), which was made into the film Body Parts in 1991. A prison psychiatrist loses an arm in an accident and is given the arm of an executed psycho-killer. The arm then develops a mind of its own. In the film Brian’s Song, the 26-year old Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan) is dying of cancer when Gayle Sayers (played by Billy Dee Williams), his friend and Chicago Bears teammate, visits him in the hospital. Piccolo had been given a transfusion and he asks Sayers if he had donated any blood. When Sayers says yes, Piccolo remarks that that explains his craving for chitlins.

In real life, Claire Sylvia, a heart-lung transplant recipient, explained her sudden craving for beer by noting that her donor was an 18-year-old male who died in a motorcycle accident. She’s even written a book about it (A Change of Heart), which was made into a movie for television in 2002 called “Heart of a Stranger,” starring Jane Seymour.

Dr. Larry Dossey doesn’t accept the cellular memory explanation for Claire Sylvia’s sudden craving for beer. He thinks that the most likely explanation “is that the consciousness of the donor had fundamentally united with the consciousness of the recipient enabling the recipient to gain information from the donor.” Perhaps, he mused, organ recipients enter into a realm of consciousness where information about another person can be accessed through the Universal Mind.* Perhaps, but is there a simpler explanation?

James Van Praagh, on the other hand, is quoted by Claire Sylvia as saying: “Donated organs often come from young people who were killed in car or motorcycle accidents, and who died quickly. Because their spirits often feel they haven’t completed their time on earth, they sometimes attach themselves to another person. There may be things that your donor hadn’t completed in the physical world, which his spirit still wanted to experience.”* James claims to get his information from the spirit world. Unfortunately, we have no way of validating his claims.

Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of The Pleasure Prescription and The Heart’s Code,  goes much further in his speculations than that certain cravings are passed from donor to recipient in organ transplants. Pearsall claims that “the heart has a coded subtle knowledge connecting us to everything and everyone around us. That aggregate knowledge is our spirit and soul. . . .The heart is a sentient, thinking, feeling, communicating organ.” He claims “donated cells remained energetically and nonlocally connected with their donor.” How he knows this is anybody’s guess.

Sylvia Browne teaches a course for alternative education programs Healing Your Body, Mind & Soul. In one two-hour session Ms. Browne will teach anyone “how to directly access the genetic code within each cell, manipulate that code and reprogram the body to a state of normalcy.” Anyone with a little bit of knowledge of genetics would recognize that these claims are preposterous, yet when the course was offered in Sacramento, it was sold out.

L. Ron Hubbard speculated in Dianetics that cellular memory might explain how engrams work.

Dr. Candace Pert, a professor in the department of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University, believes “the mind is not just in the brain, but also exists throughout the body.”  Dr. Pert is an expert in peptide pharmacology. “The mind and body communicate with each other through chemicals known as peptides,” she claims. “These peptides are found in the brain as well as in the stomach, muscles and all of our major organs. I believe that memory can be accessed anywhere in the peptide/receptor network. For instance, a memory associated with food may be linked to the pancreas or liver, and such associations can be transplanted from one person to another.”* The evidence for these claims has yet to be produced and Pert’s notions have not found favor with neuroscientists who study the nature of memory. I especially await the evidence for the holographic mind that exists throughout the body. How does she know that it doesn’t extend beyond the body? Perhaps it goes all the way out to Larry Dossey’s Universal Mind. It’s not at all clear what Pert means by ‘mind’. In any case, Dr. Pert doesn’t explain why we don’t seem to be affected by the memories of the animals we eat. Perhaps their peptides get destroyed by cooking.

Attilio D’Alberto has found that he can easily reconcile traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), cellular memory, and quantum physics in one holistic metaphysical hodgepodge. You’ve got your yin organs and your yang organs, your E=mc2, your sympathetic magic (each organ has an associated emotion, spirit, planet, etc.), your quantum level of subatomic particles and frozen energy fields with their different frequencies. “If a heart is transplanted, the memory at the cellular level and at the spiritual level, the Shen, will be moved with the donated organ.” However, it seems clear that he is just guessing.

Gary Schwartz claims that he has 70 cases where he believes transplant recipients have inherited the traits of their donors. He believes this because the “stories are compelling and consistent.”* He also believes he understands the mechanism by which cellular memory works:

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.

How he knows this is a mystery. If it is true that donors pass on personality traits and personal tastes, then it might be unwise for people to get organ transplants from other species, such as the baboon. Again, if all cells are carrying information that can be passed on in transplant, why wouldn’t this information be transferred when we eat fruits, vegetables, or any other living thing. Shouldn’t we be releasing into our bloodstream the magic of a living thing’s history with each bite we take? Schwartz calls his belief a “theory,” but it is not a theory in the sense that scientists use the term.* It would be more accurate to call it an untestable speculative model.

An organ transplant is a life-altering experience, literally. In many cases, it might well be compared to the near-death experience since many transplants are done only if death is imminent. It should not be surprising to find that many transplant recipients change significantly. Some of these changes might easily be interpreted as being consistent with the donor’s likes and dislikes or behaviors. Recipients would want to know about their donor and might consciously or unconsciously be influenced by stories about the person who now “lives inside them.”

Collecting stories to validate a hypothesis is a risky business. Stories of transplant recipients that don’t seem to exhibit memories from their donor don’t prove that they aren’t there but those stories are selected out anyway. Stories that do seem to exhibit donor memories don’t prove cellular memory but collecting a bunch of them could lead one to see a pattern that isn’t really there. Collecting such stories may simply prove that the researcher is good at confirming his or her bias. The validation process becomes more complicated when one considers that many organ recipients will give in to magical thinking and “feel” the presence of the deceased donor within them. The recipient’s subjective validation may be driven by a desire to prove the belief or to please the donor’s family, the doctor, or a medical attendant who may encourage the belief. Furthermore, now that the idea of cellular memory is being promoted in books and on television (the Discovery Health Channel, for example), there will be a problem of making sure that stories aren’t contaminated.

Science should be moving us forward, bringing about a better understanding of how phenomena work. Scientists like Gary Schwartz and Paul Pearsall introduce mysticism and magical thinking into the mix, which is very attractive to many New Age healers because it supports their spiritual leanings. However, such thinking does not advance science; it takes it back to an earlier time, a time when the world was dominated by magical powers. It dresses that world in scientific-sounding jargon about energies and quantum physics, but it does little to advance our understanding of anything and it will continue to fail to convince the scientific community at large, which has a higher standard of evidence, of its speculations.

Here is what Jeff Punch, M.D., has to say about cellular memory:

There are several possible logical explanations for why people might assume characteristics of their donors: Side effects of transplant medications may make people feel weird and different from before the transplant. For example, prednisone makes people hungry:

The recipient of an organ transplant develops a love of pastry and finds out the person that donated their organ loved pastry as well. They think there is a connection, but really it is just the prednisone making their body crave sweets.

It could also be pure coincidence:

The patient watches a TV show while recovering from a transplant that shows older adults rollerblading and decides that it looks like fun, but doesn’t make a conscious decision to do anything about it because they are still recovering from the transplant. Months later they are shopping and they see rollerblades and decide to give it a try since it was something they were incapable of doing for heath reasons before the transplant. They like it and get good at it. Later they find out that the donor was a young person that liked to rollerblade. It is easy to understand how the patient and family might believe that the new organ had something to do with Mom’s new-found love of rollerblading. In actuality, the only thing the new organ gave her was the health to try rollerblades. The idea came from a TV show she forgot she ever saw.

A transplant is a profound experience and the human mind is very suggestible. Medically speaking, there is no evidence that these reports are anything more than fantasy.

Even so, the stories are intriguing and may lead to some serious scientific investigation at some time in the future.

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

Can Cellular Memory Cause Transplant Recipients to Act Like Their Donors?


I have been writing these blogs for almost five years.  All of them are related to organ and tissue transplants and they range from how alcohol and drugs affect your organs to eating disorders, post transplant depression, mandatory donation and the Vice President Cheney Heart Transplant.  None of them, though, have gotten anywhere near the response of the posts I’ve written about Cellular memory, the theory that certain cells in the body have memories of their own and that when transplanted into another person become the new person’s memories as well.

Personally I don’t  put much stock in the claims of cellular memory but a  lot of people do so who am I to say they are wrong especially when I get so many requests for more information on the subject … so here’s the latest I could dig up.

While many scientists will tell you that cellular memory is impossible there really isn’t very much science on the subject.  Studies have been small and rare so while there is a lot of scientific doubt there is no absolute proof that the phenomenon does not exist.

Most doctors attribute the sometimes seismic personality changes after a transplant to radical health improvements, heavy doses of anesthesia and anti-rejection medications and psychological factors.

Like others University of Arizona psychologist Gary Schwartz has little real evidence to back up his theory that since every cell in the body contains a complete set of genetic material, transplant patients inherit DNA from their donors that determines, in part, how a person thinks, behaves and even eats. “Hearts can have memory, as brains do,” says Schwartz. Most doctors, however, say that’s the stuff of the Sci-Fi Channel and note that Schwartz based his theory on a study of just 10 transplant patients. “There is no evidence of clinical findings to suggest that [cellular memory exists],” says Dr. Tracy Stevens, medical director of the cardiac transplant program at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. You can read more here http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20147267,00.html

While medical and other scientific researchers will tell you that a truly scientific study would take years among perhaps hundreds of people there are some unexplainable individual cases.  One of which is the story of Claire Sylvia who got a heart and lung transplant in the 1970s from an eighteen year old male who had died in a  motorcycle accident.  Ms. Sylvia knew oone of this information but claimed upon awakening that she had a new and intense craving for beer, chicken nuggets, and green peppers, all food she didn’t enjoy prior to the surgery. A change in food preferences is probably the most noted in heart transplant patients. Sylvia wrote a book about her experiences after learning the identity of her donor called A Change of Hear.  You can watch her video here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIDwRnBcrGw

And…if the Claire Sylvia story is not enough, here is yet another about a young woman, Julie Shambra in England  who after suffering from diabetes for many years got a life saving transplant from a young man that changed her life and many of her habits and tastes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVVk3zAz8Qo&feature=related

The most stunning example of cellular memory was found in an eight year old girl who received the heart of a ten year old girl. The recipient was plagued after surgery with vivid nightmares about an attacker and a girl being murdered. After being brought to a psychiatrist her nightmares proved to be so vivid and real that the psychiatrist believed them to be genuine memories. As it turns out the ten year old whose heart she had just received was murdered and due to the recipients violent reoccurring dreams she was able to describe the events of that horrible encounter and the murderer so well that police soon apprehended, arrested, and convicted the killer.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find out where or when this happened so there is no real proof that the story is anything more than an urban myth.

But then there are these stories:

Bill Wohl was a hard-driving self-described type A executive until cardiac disease nearly killed him in 2000. A heart transplant at the University of Arizona medical center saved his life—and transformed it in ways he could never have imagined. Weeks after his operation, Wohl, now 58, heard a song on the radio by the British vocalist Sade. “I just started crying and rocking,” he recalls. Odd, since before the surgery, Wohl hadn’t heard of Sade and was not the type to mist up over a torch song. Later he contacted the family of organ donor Michael Brady, the 36-year-old Hollywood stuntman whose heart he had received, and made an intriguing discovery. Sade was one of Brady’s favorite singers. “It was,” says Wohl, “really, really freaky.”

And then there is Paul Oldam, a corporate executive in a Milwaukee law firm, received the heart of a 14-year-old boy who had been killed in a truck accident in 1993. On Oldam’s first post-surgery shopping trip, his wife, Peggy, was taken aback when he wandered into the candy aisle and started loading the basket with Snickers bars. “He never liked candy before that,” Peggy says other husband, now 70. Bill also became an avid outdoorsman, given to kayaking, cross-country skiing and cycling 25 miles at a stretch. “I wouldn’t be surprised,” says Peggy, 69, “if he wanted to try parachuting next year.”

How Cellular Memory Might Work

It is thought that cellular memory might be possible since the discovery that neuropeptides exist not only in the brain as once thought but in all the tissues of the body. These neuropeptides are a way for the brain to “speak” to other bodily organs and for the organs to rely information back. However it is unknown if these newly found circuits could indeed store memories as the brain does in different organs. Due to the amount of peptides in the heart this organ is seen to have special potential in the study of this phenomena. However many answers still remain. Why don’t all transplant recipients have these experiences? It’s been theorized this may be due to the fact not all of them are in tune with their body as some other individuals may be. Perhaps the explanation lies with the sensitivity of the individual.

According to a story in Hub Pages which is not exactly a respected medical journal there are three possible explanations for cellular memory http://theophanes.hubpages.com/hub/Cellular-Memories-in-Organ-Transplant-Recipients

  • The Hospital Grapevine Theory: The hospital grapevine theory is the simplest alternate explanation, stating that patients may be influenced due to information they hear from nurses talking to each other or their surgeons while they are under anesthesia. Although it’s forbidden to tell a transplant recipients the identity of the donor or any personal information there’s no such rule that prevents hospital staff from talking amongst themselves. Could all these coincidences be a placebo effect given to the highly suggestible?
  • The Quantum Theory: this theory claims that the answers may lie in a world we are as of yet are very ill-equipped to prove, in the wonderfully strange world of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics tries to explain mathematically events that occur with atoms and the particles which may make up atoms. This is world where regular physics comes to die and can be used loosely to explain virtually anything that can’t be explained otherwise. It’s tempting but I’ll leave this one up to the mathematicians to toy with. As of yet I haven’t heard of any of them proposing this theory, it seems to be something thrown out there by laymen.
  • The Drug Theory: It is the body’s duty to protect itself from foreign objects and that is generally what it does when it receives organs that weren’t grown in it from conception. This is why patients have to receive immunosuppressant drugs to stop their own bodies from attacking the new organ. There have only been a small handful of cases of people who have lived without these drugs, and they have done so on their own against the advice of doctors. this theory states that these drugs can be the cause of the changes in personality. Perhaps in some strange way these drugs can be psychoactive as well as immunosuppressive. This theory probably chalks up the specific nature of the said changes in personality to coincidence.

There is no definitive evidence one way or another that cellular memory exists.  I can only speak for myself but I had a heart transplant almost five years ago and have absolutely no change in my personality or lifestyle at all.  I am more appreciative of life than ever before but I think that might be true of anyone who was dying and had their life saved by a total stranger.

So we’ll close with the now well-known line, “We report… you decide.

Bob Aronson is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s 1700 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the writer of these donation/transplantation blogs on Bob’s Newheart.  

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

 Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have a PowerPoint slide show for your use free and for use without permission.  Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions.  This is NOT a stand-alone show, it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

More On Cellular Memory. New Heart, New Personality, Too?


I have been writing this blog for over a year, and it is with great interest that I watch which of my posts gets the most attention.  Cellular Memory – Organ Recipients with Characteristics of Donorsis far and away the most popular of all the columns I have written by a factor of over two to one.  Why is that?  Why are so many people so interested in the possibility of adopting the characteristics of a total stranger?  I had a heart transplant eighteen months ago and have adopted no new characteristics but apparently that’s not true of all organ recipients.  Heart transplant patients lead the way in saying they have changed — taken on some of the characteristics of their donors and some of their stories are compelling.

I am not here to promote nor deny the existence of cellular memory I just find the topic fascinating especially because so many of my readers do.  Not long ago The Discovery Health Channel aired a program titled “Transplanting Memories.”  http://dsc.discovery.com/  In the show experts explained why they believe in the concept.   Georgetown University Professor, Dr. Candace Pert, said she believes the mind is not just in the brain, but also exists throughout the body. “The mind and body communicate with each other through chemicals known as peptides,” she said. “These peptides are found in the brain as well as in the stomach, muscles and all of our major organs. I believe that memory can be accessed anywhere in the peptide/receptor network. For instance, a memory associated with food may be linked to the pancreas or liver and such associations can be transplanted from one person to another.”

Another expert, German neurologist, Leopold Auerbach, discovered over a century ago that a complex network of nerve cells, like those of the human brain, exist in the intestines.  And — Professor Wolfgang Prinz, of the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich, discussed the “second brain” in Geo, a German science magazine.  Prinz said the digestive track is made up of a knot of about 100 billion brain nerve cells, more than found in the spinal cord. The article suggested the cells may save information on physical reactions to mental processes and give out signals to influence later decisions. It may also be involved in emotional reactions to events.

Perhaps all of this explains the many stories on the internet of transplant patients taking on the personalities of their donors.

If you really want to explore this phenomenon I strongly encourage you to read Knowing By Heart: Cellular Memory in Heart Transplants by Kate Ruth Linton in the MONTGOMERY COLLEGE STUDENT JOURNAL OF SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS

Volume 2 September 2003, http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/StudentJournal/volume2/kate.pdf.  

Ms. Linton writes:  “On May 29, 1988, a woman named Claire Sylvia received the heart of an 18-year-old male who had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Soon after the operation, Sylvia noticed some distinct changes in her attitudes, habits, and tastes. She found herself acting more masculine, strutting down the street (which, being a dancer, was not her usual manner of walking). She began craving foods, such as green peppers and beer, which she had always disliked before. Sylvia even began having recurring dreams about a mystery man named Tim L., who she had a feeling was her donor.

As it turns out, he was. Upon meeting the “family of her heart” as she put it, Sylvia discovered that her donor’s name was, in fact, Tim L., and that all the changes she had been experiencing in her attitudes, tastes, and habits closely mirrored that of Tim’s.”  Several transplant surgeons have contributed to a theory for cellular memory essentially based on psychological and metaphysical conditions, which Dr. Paul Pearsall has pieced together. Pearsall is a psychoneuroimmunologist, or a licensed psychologist who studies the relationship between the brain, immune system, and an individual’s life experiences.   Pearsall calls this theory the “Lowered Recall Threshold” Basically, it suggests that the immunosuppressive drugs that transplant recipients must take are what bring about associations to donor experiences in recipients. Immunosuppressive drugs minimize the chances of rejection of the new, foreign heart by suppressing the recipient’s immune system. Scientists believe these drugs could also possibly act as psychotropic, meaning “acting on the mind.”

There are many interesting passages in this treatise but you should read it for yourself — in its entirety.  If nothing else you will find it very, very thought provoking.  There’s a lot of information on this subject on the internet.  You might also be interested in: http://medhum.blogspot.com/2006/06/mindshock-transplanting-memories.html  

Please comment in the space below or email your thoughts to  me at bob@baronson.org

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

Cellular Memory — Organ Recipients With Characteristics of Donor


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“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’.

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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. 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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