The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 24, 1998 · Page 51
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 51

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 24, 1998
Page 51
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Do cells remember? USA WEEKEND HEALTH Can donated organs pass on to others our tastes and interests? A psychologist and a mystery writer probe the spooky possibilities in their new books. BY RAM JANIS Some say the heart Is like a floppy disk, with years of programming that can be transferred. W HEN REPORTERS ASKED Claire Sylvia, a heart-lung transplant recipient, after surgery what she most wanted, she replied, "Actually, I'm dying for a beer right now." No one was more surprised at her answer than Sylvia: She'd never liked beer. Or green peppers. Or chicken nuggets. Over time, though, she discovered that Tim, the 18-year-old male motorcyclist whose organs she had received, had loved the foods she now craved. Strange coincidence? Or tastes she knew, literally, by heart? The idea that body cells contain clues to our personalities, tastes and histories, along with our genetic data codes, is subdividing everywhere in our culture. Sylvia's story is a new paperback, Change of Heart (WARNER BOOKS, $6.50), and soon will be a movie starring Sally Field. Author Edna Buchanan's new thriller, Pulse, is the story of a heart transplant recipient led to learn the mysterious circumstances of his donor's death (AVON, $23). And psychologist Paul Pearsall, himself a bone marrow transplant recipient and bone cancer survivor, argues in May's The Heart's Code (BROADWAY, $25) that hearts are loaded with information that our brains shouldn't dismiss. "The brain has lost its mind," says Pearsall, 55, author of the popular The Pleasure Principle. "It's so busy that it doesn't really connect with the energy we know to be ancient, spiritual and intuitive. The heart has a coded, subtle knowledge connecting us to everything and everyone around us. That aggregate knowledge is our spirit and soul." SCIENCE DOESNT BUY THE IDEA A study shows that 3 in 4 Americans would 12 USA WEEKEND • May 22-24,1BBB accept a transplant and that 1 in 3 — including some murderers on death row — would be willing donors. As the buzzword "cellular memory" sweeps the national mindscape, it's controversial whether donor-friendly people should take the idea to heart. Science says no. "The idea that transplanting organs transfers the coding of life experiences is unimaginable," says John Schroeder, a cardiologist and professor at Stanford Medical Center, at which about 900 heart transplants have been performed since the first one there in 1968. "Most scientists believe psychological experience is stored in the brain. This is just not something the [medical transplant world] accepts." Schroeder and social workers who work with transplant patients say that medication can alter tastes for food and that feelings of relief and hope at having another chance for life explain why some patients change habits and interests. "I adore the rigor and cynicism of science," says Pearsall, "but Western science is 'either-or.' The science of other cultures is 'and.' And the heart is a sentient, thinking, feeling, communicating organ." A MYSTERY WRITER ASKS "WHAT IF?" Buchanan first heard about cellular memory from a friend who works with the organ transplant teams at a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital — it's her friend's job to urge families to donate their loved ones' organs. The idea drives her new fiction, Pulse. "It all sounds very cosmic," says the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, "but doctors don't know everything. Fifty years ago, people laughed at the idea of genetic codes in saliva. Who would have believed that could be important to a criminal investigation? "What if? What if? What if? That's what fiction is. In this case, what if the soul is contained in DNA? What if DNA is contained in the soul?" ca AMES Boone, Ames, Story City ... offering Iowa's finest summer adventure. Catch the train, stroll the gardens, spin on the carousel. Call for FREE visitors Information. 800-288-7470 BOONE & SCENIC VALLEY RAILROAD Catch the tralnl Scenic, historic, thrilling train rides through beautiful Iowa countryside. Free museum, large gift shop, snack bar. May to October. Call for information. 800-626-0319 IOWA YOU MAKE ME SMILE! IOWA YOU MAKE ME SMILE! 6. 1998 IOWA CAMPINB AND OUTDOOR GUIDE The most complete guide to Iowa outdoor fun includes a comprehensive listing of public and private campgrounds, golf courses and trails. Special sections for enthusiasts of hunting, fishing, skiing and boating. 800-345-IOWA, Ext. 324 7. OKOBOJI TOURISM Iowa's vacation destination I More than 30 resorts, Inns and campgrounds. Three amusement parks, seven golf courses, fishing, restaurants and shopping. Call the Blue Waters of Lake Okoboji. 800-270-2574 IOWA YOU MAKE ME SMILE! IOWA YOU MAKE ME SMILE! CENTRAL IOWA 13. CENTRAL IOWA Miles of smilesl Free visitors guide to award-winning attractions, historic sites, fun-filled festivals, exciting entertainment and more. 800-283-5842 14. GROTTO OF THE REDEMPTION Often called The Eighth Wonder of the World." Depicts the life of Christ In stone. Represents the largest collection of minerals and petriflcatlon In any one spot in the world. Visit our Web site at grotto. 515-887-2371

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