Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cellular Memory

Cellular memory is the hypothesis that such things as memories, habits, interests, and tastes may somehow be stored in all the cells of human bodies, i.e. not only in the brain. The suggestion arose following a number of organ transplants in which the recipient was reported to have developed the memories.

An article, "Changes in Heart Transplant Recipients That Parallel the Personalities of Their Donors", published in the Spring 2002 issue of the Journal of Near-Death Studies without peer review, sources or evidence, reported anecdotes in which recipients "inherited" a love for classical music, a change of sexual orientation, changes in diet and vocabulary, and in one case an identification of the donor's murderer.

The academic organ transplant community accepts this notion as pseudoscientific and absurd, as it has never been demonstrated in a scientific manner. There is also the fear that such notions may hinder organ donation.

The 2008 film The Eye is about a character named Sydney, a young, blind violinist who is given the chance to see for the first time since childhood through a miraculous corneal transplant.

As Sydney adjusts to a dizzying new world of colors and shapes, she is haunted by frightening visions of death itself capturing the doomed and dragging them away from the world of the living and is an example of cellular memory portrayed in the media.

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