The reported cellular memory in organ transplants points to the presence of combinatorial nerve cell memories in those organs. Numerous organ transplant receivers have reported a change in their personalities by seemingly acquiring the memories, experiences and emotions of their deceased donors. There is evidence that organs in the nervous system do store memories through combinatorial coding by nerve cells. Such coded memories have been reported to enable the olfactory system to recognize odors (Nobel Prize 2004).
major organs, such as the heart, kidney and liver are known to
contain large populations of neurons. Inherited and acquired
combinatorial memories in these networks could enable transferred
organs to recognize and respond to patterns familiar to the original
donors. Behaviors and emotions are known to be modulated by the
interactive communications between these organs and the sympathetic
and parasympathetic systems. The changes in the behaviors and
outlooks of transplant recipients may be triggered by the emotional
signals fed back to the limbic system from these transferred
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – The Evidence
While proposing the presence of a cellular memory, Gary Schwartz, has documented the cases of 74 patients, 23 of whom were heart transplant recipients. These patients are reported to have acquired some traits of their donors. For Schwartz, the concept of a cellular memory applies to any organ, which has interconnected cells, including hearts, kidneys, liver and even muscles. These cases indicate transfers from donors to recipients of clear recollections of people, events and places, their likes and dislikes and behavioral tendencies:
An eight-year-old girl, who received the heart of a murdered ten-year-old girl, began having vivid and recurring nightmares about the murder. The detailed descriptions of the murderer given by the recipient to the police were used to find and convict the man, who had murdered the donor. “The time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore, what the little girl he killed had said to him... everything the little heart transplant recipient reported was completely accurate.” While such claims may appear to be outlandish, there may be a reasonable explanation for them.
In her book, A Change of Heart, Claire Sylvia writes of identifying a man named Tim, whose heart she had received. She reportedly acquired his love for chicken nuggets, green peppers and beer. Sylvia found herself drawn toward cool colors and no longer dressed in the bright reds and oranges she used to prefer. She became more aggressive and impetuous, in a manner resembling the personality of her donor.
Another young man came out of his transplant surgery and said to his mother, "everything is copasetic." It was later discovered that the word had been a signal, used by the donor and his wife, whenever they made up, following an argument. The last argument just before the donor's fatal accident and had not been settled.
A forty seven-year-old Caucasian male, who received a heart from an African-American teenager, was reported to have acquired a taste for classical music. The donor had been an avid violin player. In another case, William Sheridan, a retired catering manager with poor drawing skills, suddenly developed artistic talents after a heart transplant operation. He discovered that the man who donated his new heart had been a keen artist.
Donna B. Doey, a liver transplant patient, reports changes in food preferences and greater love for children & music. She became more talkative and quicker to express her opinions, which she would have kept private before surgery. Another liver transplant patient dreamed of happy childhood experiences of a young girl on a farm playing on a swing with her father. She discovered that those were the actual experiences of the donor. In another case, a kidney transplant patient reported an interest in new hobbies and a craving for new foods – changes linked to the preferences of the donor.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – Combinatorial Logic
Science has discovered links between nerve cell memories and the control of bodily functions. The olfactory process identifies millions of volatile chemical compounds in the air. To identify each smell, the brain must store a specific memory for that smell. Such massive memories are stored as combinatorial codes. When a particular molecule binds to a specific olfactory receptor cell, it fires an impulse, which becomes a single firing element in a geographically arranged array of olfactory cell addresses. Combinatorial memories match the firing patterns in such arrays to identify breathed in molecules. Remembered combinatorial codes exist for each one of the millions of molecules identified by the brain.
Researchers announced (Nobel Prize 2004) that the chemical octanol was found to be recognized by a combination of four different glomeruli. As against this, octanic acid, in which the hydroxyl group of octanol is replaced by a carboxyl group, was recognized by a different combination. While they have only small molecular differences, octanol has an orangy rose-like scent, octanic acid smells like sweaty feet. Combinatorial memories enable the olfactory system to identify an infinite number of such chemical compounds in the air at very low concentrations.
This website suggests that pattern recognition and combinatorial memories enable various neural organs to perform their unique functions. These memories enable an intricate network of several types of neurons, transmitters, proteins, and support cells to transmit precise event recognition and motor control messages. Ordinary cell memories do not convey such extensive information.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – Not Cellular Memories
Transfers of memories have not been widely reported in simpler transplant cases. People who receive donated corneas have not reported any such side-effects. It is evident that ordinary cells in our body do not carry such extensive behavior changing memories. Only the assembled combinatorial memories of a large population of neurons, as in the case of the heart, have caused noticeable memory transfer events to take place. The most significant changes in behaviors and emotions have been reported in the case of heart transplants. Dr. Andrew Armour a pioneer in neurocardiology suggests that the brain has two way communication links with the “little brain in the heart.” The intelligence of neural brains in organs depend on memories stored in nerve cells.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – The Brains In Organs
The heart and brain communicate with each other via nerve fibers running through the spinal column. However, in a heart transplant, these nerve connections are severed and do not reconnect for an extended period of time, if at all. The transplanted heart functions in its new body using its own intact, intrinsic nervous system. An intricate network of several types of neurons, transmitters, proteins, and support cells allow it to function as an independent organ. The combinatorial memories from the donor in these nerve cells operate independently and send its neurological impulses to the brain through various alternate pathways. These impulses reach the medulla, located in the brain stem, where they have a regulatory role over many of the blood vessels, glands and organs. Those impulses exercise new controls over the emotions experienced by the heart transplant recipient.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – Emotions Control
Viewing the brain as a pattern recognition network, this website suggests that emotional signals control the behavior and the memories of the system. A series of special purpose organs linked to your limbic system, including the amygdala, the hypothalamus, the insula and the prefrontal regions recognize and respond to the patterns of events in your life. Their signals trigger emotions, which instantly decide your attitudes and modify your behavior. Aroused emotions trigger restlessness, excitation, and agitation, preparing you for action. The nervous systems in the heart, kidneys and liver trigger signals, which have impact on emotions. Anger and fear contextually record the memories of significant events in your life. A raised heartbeat can trigger anxiety in the system and store memories of events causing the stress.
Information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through various pathways. These impulses reach the medulla, located in the brain stem, where they have a regulatory role over many of the blood vessels, glands and organs. They reach higher centers of the brain, where they influence “perception, decision making and other cognitive processes”
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – Only Emotional Responses
Dr. J. Andrew Armour suggests that the elaborate neural circuitry in the heart enables it to act independently of the cranial brain – to learn, remember, and even feel and sense. Leopold Auerbach discovered a complex network of neurons in the intestines. Professor Wolfgang Prinz suggested that these neurons may save information on physical reactions to mental processes and feed back signals to influence subsequent decisions - an intelligence, we refer to as “gut feel.”
This website suggests that the remembered responses of the transferred organs to the newly recognized people and events can influence the experiences of the recipient. But, these organs cannot store visual memories, because such memories have been reported to be triggered from the visual regions. But association regions of the brain recognize patterns in the environment and send recognition messages through a few dedicated channels. Scientists have identified individual neurons, which fire, when a particular person has been recognized.
Thus, when a recipient's brain analyzes the features of a person, who significantly impressed the donor, the donated organ may feed back powerful emotional messages, which signal recognition of the individual. Such feedback messages occur within milliseconds and the recipient will believe that she knows the person. The emotional responses of the transplanted organs to the recipient's experiences can subconsciously change every kind of behavior, including the addition of aggressive tendencies, or of a love for music, or art.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – The Hospital Grapevine
A significant amount of information can be transferred from the donor to the recipient through emotion signals. Hospitals do not disclose donor information to recipients in order to protect the family members on both sides. The Hospital Grapevine Theory suggest that patients may be able to piece together information about the donor, when they overhear discussions by the health-care staff around them. Such discussions may have taken place, while the patient was anesthetized. Emotional messages fed back from the transplanted organs could create new patterns of familiarity around any newly recognized personality, or event.
The transfer of data from the donor organ would be transparent to the recipient. If a recipient sees a person familiar to the donor, the transplanted organ would send back strong emotional messages to the brain. These neurochemical messages would instantly imprint the emotion around the received details about the person. Subsequently, the recipient would consider that person to be an intimately known person, recalling the initially received details as known details.
Even descriptions of events would ring a bell, causing the recipient to believe that the event was personally experienced, because of the repeating and self reinforcing re-entrant emotional loops from the transplanted organs. Most recognition processes occur in less than 300 milliseconds. With minimal sensory inputs, a recipient could come to believe that a scene familiar to the donor was familiar to the recipient, enabling the identification of the murderer by the recipient, as reported above.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – Immunosuppressive Drugs
Dr. Paul Pearsall has studied the relationship between the brain, immune system, and an individual’s life experiences. Immunosuppressive drugs minimize the chances of rejection of the new, foreign heart by suppressing the recipient’s immune system. Pearsall suggested that these drugs could bring associations to donor experiences in recipients. Scientists believe these drugs could act as psychotropic stimulants that lower the patient’s “thresholds for accessibility” and enhance their perception, allowing them to recall memories they may have long forgotten.
Pearsall suggests that the recipients are only recalling their own “forgotten” memories. But, the changes in behavior and a new sense of familiarity with people and places are not “forgotten,” but reported donor memories. Combinatorial memories in transplanted organs can feed back the donor's emotional signals, causing the recipient to change behaviors and memories.
Cellular Memory In Organ Transplants – Molecules of Emotion
Candace Pert discovered that amino acid chains, known as neuropeptides, which function as keys that fit into specific types of receptors located on the surface of the heart. Such neuropeptide chains and their receptors transmit messages between neural organs all over the body. Suggesting that these are “Molecules of emotion,” Pert suggests these amino acids carry emotion signals generated by many organs, including the amygdala, the insula, the hypothalamus and the heart. These signals are responses by such organs to perceived patterns in the environment.
Nerve links from the cranium through the spinal cord are severed for a heart transplant, even preventing a patient from feeling chest pain. Emotion signals are processed by the heart, based on its perceptions. The peptides carry messages, but do not generate them. Emotional messages from the donor's heart may be transmitted back to the brain through these amino acid chains. Pert suggests that the amino acid receptors in the brain may function better for more sensitive recipients, making them better sense the signals from the donor hearts.
A study in this field may reveal many new aspects of pattern recognition by neural organs. The percentage of transplant recipients, who actually do not feel any changes will indicate the limiting conditions, which prevent the transfer of information from the donor to the recipient. Since most reported cases of cellular memories in organs report some changes in food or color preferences, it is suggested that the more primitive feelings are transmitted by all the transplanted organs. But cases of recognizing events and people may be more in the case of heart transplants, since larger combinatorial memories are transferred with the organ.
This page was last updated on 31-Dec-2013
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