Can a New Heart Give You a New Personality?
Yes, but don't expect Dick Cheney to turn Democrat
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 11:27 AM CDT
Dick Cheney: new heart, new personality?   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(Newser) – Dick Cheney officially has a new heart, and the jokes are rolling in (most recently, compliments of Jon Stewart). No big surprise that many of them are of the "maybe he'll wake up a Democrat" ilk. Which leads Slate to ponder: "Could a heart transplant actually lead to a change of heart?" In a word, yes. Just don't expect Cheney to cast a vote for Obama come November. Among the "significant physiological and psychological changes" that can occur post-transplant: Not so surprisingly, people can become happier, generally thanks to the fact that they should live longer than they expected to.

But that happiness can also stem from the fact that they can eat foods that were previously off-limits, and they typically have more energy. But patients can also suffer from psychological issues brought on as a result of the heart being temporarily replaced by a machine during the operation: This has the potential to cause "transient depression," possibly due to a decrease in oxygen to the brain or the effect of blood cells touching the machine's surfaces. Slate notes that there have been anecdotes of new-heart recipients who say they start behaving like their donor did, though cardiologists typically pooh-pooh this; click to read about one professional dancer who says it happened to her.

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
Lester11
Mar 29, 2012 10:04 AM CDT
Hopefully in his case it can!
SynicinSF
Mar 27, 2012 11:22 PM CDT
What caused the death of the previous owner of the heart. Without knowing that and knowing Cheney.....
carson
Mar 27, 2012 10:24 PM CDT
i hope the new heart does him some good...its kind of like giving crosby a new liver i guess...i have a clinton like appreciation cheney...my distrust for them is equal...my respect for him is slightly higher...they both have somewhere close to the same amount of money and they got it the same way...they were both president too...dick cheney for about two hours and ten minutes june 29th 2002