New Research Suggests That, In Addition To Receiving A New Organ, Transplant Recipients Could Also Potentially Inherit Their Donor’s Personality Traits

N Lawrenson/ - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Picture waking up from an organ transplant surgery with a new craving for chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla or feeling overwhelmed with emotions that you’ve never felt before.

According to a new study, organ transplant recipients may receive more than simply a new organ. Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine have actually found that many of these patients could potentially inherit their organ donor’s personality traits as well.

The team aimed to determine if people undergoing organ transplants experience personality changes, as well as how prevalent these changes are.

So, they conducted a cross-sectional study with 47 organ transplant recipients. The study participants also took an online survey in which they detailed their experiences both before and after their transplant.

It may come as a shock that 89% of respondents said they experienced some changes in their personality after their transplant. The shifts included everything from changes in temperament and mood to changes in physical activity levels or food preferences.

Additionally, the type of organ transplanted appeared to be less significant than previously believed. There have been historical anecdotes connecting heart transplants with major personality changes. However, this study showed that heart transplant recipients experienced changes comparable to those receiving other types of organs.

The reported changes extended beyond new food preferences or hobbies as well. Certain changes were much more profound, impacting social behaviors, emotional states, and spiritual beliefs. Some organ recipients observed increased social interactions and a more positive overall outlook; meanwhile, others faced challenges such as depression, anxiety, or mood swings.

As for what might explain these changes, the research team had several theories – one of which is known as the “cellular memory” hypothesis.

This hypothesis suggests that donor organs may actually carry personality traits, personal preferences, and memories from the donor in “cellular memories.” Then, these traits could be transferred to an organ recipient.

N Lawrenson/ – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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