heart transplant

David Waters received the heart from Kaden Delaney (top right). He now craves Burger Rings – one of Kaden’s favorite snacks.

A heart transplant patient is craving the food his donor used to eat, prompting questions over whether the organ has a ‘memory’ of its own.


David Waters cannot stop eating an Australian-made snack food called Burger Rings, and he has now found out that the teenager whose heart he received was always eating the same snack.

The curious case adds weight to a theory that the brain is not the only organ to store memories or personality traits.

Some researchers believe that a memory process can develop in other parts of the body, such as the heart, a phenomenon known as ‘cellular memory’.

In an earlier reported case, American Claire Sylvia, who received a new heart and lung, found she developed a sudden craving for beer, chicken nuggets and green peppers.

Her donor was an 18-year-old male who had died in a motorbike accident.

Now the case of Mr Waters, of Adelaide, and his New South Wales donor Kaden Delaney has drawn the attention of researchers looking into the heart’s possible memory attributes.

Kaden was left brain dead following a car crash and his parents agreed his heart could be donated.

When they learned it had saved the life of a young Adelaide man, they spent two years trying to track down the recipient.

They finally tracked down Mr Waters, who had previously been suffering from a stiffening of the heart ventricles and been given only a few months to live.

When they began email contact, Mr Waters asked: ‘Did Kaden like Burger Rings? That’s all I seemed to want to eat after my surgery.’

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Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported that Mrs Delaney replied: ‘I have been informed by a reliable source – Talby (Kaden’s brother) – that Kaden loved Burger Rings.’

Mr Waters replied: ‘I certainly think I have got some traits from him – Burger Rings right after the op, I never used to eat them before.’

Despite the belief of both Mr Waters and Kaden’s parents that Mr Waters might have ‘caught’ Kaden’s craving for the snack food, a transplant expert said such a phenomenon had not been proven.

Mr Jeremy Chapman, Sydney-based president of the International Transplantation Society, said: ‘There is no scientific basis of such a claim. There’s so much fiction around transplants.’

But Mr Waters remains convinced there is a ‘craving link’ between him and Kaden.

He has since met the Delaney family and been photographed with Kaden’s baby sister, Kyeema, whose mother was pregnant with her at the time of Kaden’s accident three years ago.

Via Daily Mail