Many of us have felt the tug on our “heart strings” when we see a newborn infant or recognize someone we love. And, most people have experienced heartache when someone they love is gone, but it’s actually the brain that stores the memories of such occurrences, right?
The question has been around for years: does the heart feel emotion or does the brain simply make it seem as though it does? The question arises anew after years of transplanting the heart or other organs into human beings and noticing some changes in the recipient. After having had heart or lung transplants some recipients have noticed profound changes in their personalities. For some, there is an overwhelming need to consume quantities of Mexican foods when that type of cuisine was never a favorite. For others, a sudden love for football, when sports were previously hated, comes into play.
How can these phenomena be explained? Can the heart actually feel, think, remember, care, hurt or hope? The answer could lie in the way the human body stores memories and feelings. Although some people scoff at the idea that the heart can carry forth memories of it’s previous owner to the recipient others think it could be possible, but can’t explain the phenomenon.
It becomes extremely technical to explain how the heart could possibly retain memories. Cells which hold memory and feeling find their way to the brain for storage but beforehand they pass throughout the body including the heart. Does a portion of the memories and feelings get first deposited into the heart?
Some studies have been done to try to resolve this phenomena without much satisfaction. Some experts claim that the reason the recipient begins displaying some personality traits of the deceased is that all live cells possess a memory function. As cells travel through the blood stream some deposit in various organs of the body. These cells, even after death and transplantation, recall certain aspects of human traits.
Since the recipients of heart and other organs are usually told very little about the deceased it’s unlikely that the recipient is experiencing sympathy reactions. Usually the patient is only told the age and sex of the person whose organ they have received. And, recipients of heart transplants experience the personality trait changes much more frequently than recipients of other organs.
But one has to wonder if the actual memories aren’t stored in the heart itself since rarely are other organ transplants credited with the personality traits experienced by those who receive heart transplantation.
Those who have given permission for the organs of their loved ones to live on in others are doing a wonderful service to mankind. It may make them feel even more like they’ve made the right decision when they read of these intriguing cases where it seems as though the deceased personality, indeed, does live on in someone else.