Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Your ticker does more than you know

Maybe you have read about heart transplant patients who after surgery report radically different preferences in the foods they crave, the music they are drawn to, hobbies they suddenly love and other idiosyncratic preferences of daily life. The families of the donors have solved the mystery by confirming that those preferences and tastes were those of the deceased person who donated the heart.

Now research on the heart reveals a big clue as to why someone with a heart transplant might take on the habits and tastes of the organ donor. Scientists have identified something called multi-functional sensory neurites in in the heart, which are responsible for memories originating in the heart. From a purely physiological point of view, some of the memories stored in the organ donor's heart become transferred to the recipient of the transplant.

Also, scientists at the Heart Math Institute in California have determined that the heart sends more information and commands to the brain than the brain does to the heart. The heart informs the brain what biochemistry to release into the body. This adds more evidence that the heart has its own intelligence, which may be transferred to a transplant recipient.

Anne's true story

Here is a true example of post-transplant change of tastes:

Anne had been a strict vegetarian for years before her heart transplant. It came as a total shock to her, that after recovering from her surgery, she was craving burgers and all she wanted was burgers from McDonald's. The parents of the young man whose heart Anne received did confirm that his favorite go-to food was McDonald's hamburgers.

Donor heart solves a crime

From the metaphysical perspective the heart is what links our human selves to our soul. Therefore it is possible that information from the soul of the donor can also be transferred to the recipient via the transplanted heart.

One example of this is described by best selling author of "The Heart's Code," Dr. Paul Piersall. After one of his lectures, a mother and her young daughter who had a heart transplant came up to introduce themselves. The mother was concerned her child was hallucinating, and the mother wanted to ask Piersall if the child needed medical attention.

On meeting Dr. Piersall the young girl blurted out, "Hi, my name is Jodi, and I was killed behind the church by a man named George." The mother was totally embarrassed and explained that her daughter's name is not Jodi, and this is what she'd been repeating non-stop since the heart surgery.

Dr. Piersall listened with a different ear. Sometime later it was confirmed that Jodi was the name of the heart donor. And an unknown assailant had murdered her behind a church. Thanks to the new information transferred from the donor's heart, they now had the name of the killer and he was eventually caught. PJH