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Brain vs. heart: Personality traits and organ transplants

  1. Jun 12, 2009 #1


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    this may not be the right forum, but I guessed so, reading the thread posted by Rex S titled as “Can there be Artificial Consciousness and Emotion? ” reminds me of an article I read last year, it was about heart transplant, I was thinking of it a couple of weeks ago, and thought I would’ve post it here but I was doubtful about it, but seriously have a look at it, here’s the link

    it basically shows that transplant patient change their personality and start to act like the donor, taking on some of their characteristics.

    [edit by Ivan: Fringe pseudoscience deleted]

    my question here is;
    does the consciousness [the mind] connected most to the brain or the heart?

    is there any other studies done on this? and what do you guys think!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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  3. Jun 12, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: brain vs. heart

    The only way to properly address this claim here is to ask if there is any reliable evidence that transplant patients take on characterstics asociated with the organ donors.

    It would not be appropriate to speculate about mechanisms to account for a claim without first showing the claim to be legitimate. In other words: No theories allowed. Only anecdotal reports from respectable sources, or related studies found in published journals, are appropriate.
  4. Jun 12, 2009 #3


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    Re: brain vs. heart

    I'm not sure if you read it all, but the link I post has these other links [two cases];



    also from the last one;

    I would also like to see if there are other cases. and Ivan Seeking, I really wanna understand this and how could the mind be attached to the heart or you could say controled by the heart holding the memories and other belongs of a person's personality..I'm sure there are studies on this and theories, won't you think so?
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  5. Jun 12, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    The daily mail is a marginal source at best. If anyone can find the documented cases indicated, feel free to post them. However, we can only address the question of evidence. Any theories will have to wait.
  6. Jun 15, 2009 #5


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    1) The heart is a pump. That's it.
    2) Organ donations are anonymous, so how would one know if the recipient's personality matched that of the donor?
    3) Some change in personality might be expected, since recipients of transplants are saved from the brink of death, and just might choose to live their lives differently after the transplant than before.
  7. Jun 15, 2009 #6


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    we all know that, [despite (that's it), we don't really know yet, it might be a multi
    functional organ!!]

    did you read the previous links [the two cases]?

    you mean in a way that looks like the donor's personality!?
  8. Jul 2, 2009 #7


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    Several books and movies used this idea. Return to Me with David Duchovny and Minnie Drver tels the story of a widower that falls in love with the woman, who received his dead wife's heart.
    Transplant recipients, that know those fiction stories may be influenced by them and change their personalities to match that of the donors.
  9. Mar 5, 2011 #8
    There would almost certainly be some transfer of traits. Suppose Bob is a gifted athlete, his genetics make him that way, as a result of his genetics and his lifestyle he has a strong heart. He gets hit by a bus.

    Ed is a lazy bum. He eats too much junk food and eventually has a heart attack. He gets Bob's heart. Now that he has a geneticly superior pump in his chest he has more energy. This causes him to have more ambition and he becomes a hard working and successful business man.

    His friends and family percieve a complete change iin personality.
  10. Mar 5, 2011 #9


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  11. Mar 5, 2011 #10
  12. Mar 5, 2011 #11
    This... is... a... myth...

    Which has actually been adressed in a previous thread, although I forget the name.

    Beyond that, what Moonbear said. Sorry Drizzle, I just don't buy this, which seems to be a matter of supersitition and uncertainty as to the role of organs.

    To her list I'd add: your heart is transplanted... meaning your heart is STOPPED, and mechanically bypassed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postperfusion_syndrome
  13. Mar 7, 2011 #12
    It was a common belief in ancient times that emotions and personality come from the heart and we see this transferred into modern culture with terms such as "I feel it in my heart" or how we use a heart as a symbol for love...things like that, it doesn't surprise me that a few people might be biased into thinking this way when someone gets a heart transplant.
  14. Mar 8, 2011 #13
    statistically speaking having a hundred or so of these transplant patients show some kind of personality change isnt shocking if you consider the thousands of patients that get transplants each week. the probability of the patient changing to be more like the donor would be more of an outlier than anything else. in my opinion its just a coincidence that hasn't been statistically backed up.

    i would assume the person willing to give up their organs would be more selfless than someone who wouldn't. and i assume someone who has just gotten a second chance at life would live a little more selfless also.
  15. Mar 8, 2011 #14
    I was with you until the last paragraph... I don't know that it's selfless if, like me, you see your dead body as a husk. It can be a non-decision for some, and agonizing for others... quite a range.

    Still, I vote for "pump head" and stress/trauma before an "infestation by devils!"
  16. Mar 8, 2011 #15
    the last paragraph is just an instance where a correlation might occur. its just chance but there are people who might see something else in it.
  17. Mar 8, 2011 #16
    Fair enough.
  18. Mar 9, 2011 #17


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    Personality changes are sequelae that arise from both social pressures and the biological stress on the system; your body has to spend resources integrating a new heart into the signaling chain.

    Psychiatric aspects of heart transplantation
    Br J Psychiatry. 1993 Sep ;163 :285-92 8401955 Cit:47
    FM Mai
    Department of Psychiatry, Ottawa General Hospital, Ontario, Canada.

    The occurence of mood and anxiety disorders in heart transplant recipients.
    Transplant Proc. 2009 Oct;41(8):3214-8.
    Pudlo R, Piegza M, Zakliczyński M, Zembala M.
    Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Silesia, Poland ul Pyskowicka 49, 42-612

    Social Adaptation After Cardiothoracic Transplantation: A Review of the Literature
    Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing:
    September/October 2005 - Volume 20 - Issue 5S - p S67-S73
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