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A recent study from the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine suggests that organ transplant recipients might adopt the personality traits of their donors, going beyond receiving just physical organs like hearts or kidneys.

Organ transplant can lead to changes post-surgery

Organ transplant recipients often undergo unexpected changes post-surgery, such as newfound food preferences or heightened emotions, resembling a scene from a sci-fi film. These experiences, though surreal, are a genuine occurrence for many recipients, leaving them puzzled.

Researchers investigated personality changes in individuals who underwent organ transplants through a cross-sectional study involving 47 participants who received various organ transplants. Participants completed pre- and post-procedure online surveys to assess any observed alterations in their personalities.

About 89% of transplant recipients experienced personality changes post-surgery, ranging from mood swings to changes in food preferences and physical activity levels. Surprisingly, the type of organ transplanted didn’t significantly impact these changes, with heart transplant recipients showing similar shifts to those receiving other organs.

The reported changes encompassed more than just preferences; they included emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. Recipients experienced varied effects, from heightened positivity and social engagement to struggles like anxiety or mood swings. The concept suggests that donated organs may retain memories, traits, and preferences of the original donor, known as “cellular memories.” When transplanted, these characteristics could transfer to the recipient akin to acquiring a new operating system.

Organ transplants affect one’s emotions and mental state

The heart contains a complex nervous system referred to as a “heart brain,” which may retain information from the organ donor. Additionally, cellular memories could be transmitted through conventional processes such as epigenetics, DNA, RNA, or proteins. For instance, a transplant recipient reported experiencing vivid dreams resembling events from the donor’s life, including being shot.

Major medical procedures like organ transplants can profoundly affect a person’s mental state, emotions, and sense of self. Recipients may unconsciously adopt new interests or traits as a way to integrate the donor’s life and identity into their own. These psychological adjustments are common as recipients grapple with inheriting an organ from a stranger.