Type A personality?
Some blood transfusion recipients have reported changes in their mood, behavior and even memories after undergoing the procedure.
Researchers from the University of Geneva noted that six of seven study participants “acknowledged the possibility that transfusions might induce changes in behavior or values.”
“Three patients acknowledged that their transfusion might have changed their own behavior or values,” the scientists wrote in their 2018 article, published in the International Journal of Clinical Transfusion Medicine.
“This study shows that patients might feel that transfusions could modify their behavior or values and that certain personality traits of the donor could be transmitted.”
A 2013 University of Michigan study found that “there’s a persistent belief that individuals’ internal parts have causal powers, and so — if they are mixed — can make a recipient take on some of the donor’s characteristics.”
“Even though science doesn’t support the possibility, people still believe that transplants can result in personality changes,” Sarah-Jane Leslie, a professor of philosophy at Princeton University and one of the study’s co-authors, said in a statement at the time.
The potential effects of blood transfusions were recently laid bare in a new study that tied spontaneous brain hemorrhages to the procedure in rare cases.
Transfusion patients whose blood came from people who later suffered brain hemorrhages were, themselves, twice as likely to suffer one as well, according to research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and other institutions.
There is fear that the vascular disease cerebral amyloid angiopathy — which causes proteins to build up in the brain’s blood vessels — could be spread through transfusion, thus causing hemorrhages.
If the phenomenon is confirmed — these experts, who were published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, say more research is needed — it still remains quite rare, as only 0.1% of studied donors showed recurring hemorrhages.
“Blood transfusions are relatively common, which makes possible negative effects an important public health issue,” lead study author Gustaf Edgren said in a statement. “However, in this case, it’s very unlikely that you’d suffer a brain hemorrhage from something transmitted through a transfusion.”
More exploration of the theory that a blood transfusion can change the recipient’s personality is also warranted, the University of Geneva researchers argued.
“[Our] study shows that patients might feel that transfusions could modify their behavior or values and that certain personality traits of the donor could be transmitted,” they wrote.
“Further research in a larger population is warranted to evaluate the incidence of a perceived changed in behavior or values after a blood transfusion, which would then lead to changes in the way information is provided to future patients requiring transfusions.”