Apparently Your Brain Still Works After You Die, And You Know When You’re Dead
We’ve all contemplated what happens when we die, and researchers think they’re closer to some solid answers. It’s all pretty creepy, however.
It turns out that although we mark the moment of death by when the heart stops beating, the loss of the ticker doesn’t necessarily mean the brain is done.
A team of scientists at NYU have been looking at what happened with patients who died and were brought back to life.
It’s kind of like a real-life Flatliners scenario, and it’s shedding light on that darkest secret of life. Looking at cases from the US and Europe, the team has seen some profoundly weird things.
Even though the brain starts to die almost immediately after the heart stops pumping, people often remain somewhat conscious.
According to Dr. Sam Parnia, brain cell death starts within seconds, and CPR only slows it down. But there are stories from patients who have been brought back that suggest the brain is still going, and studies have shown that death can be accompanied by a surge in brain activity. At least in rats, anyway.
The strange part is that the patients who were successfully brought back could provide details about what was happening in the room while they were clinically dead.
“They’ll describe watching doctors and nurses working; they’ll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them,” Dr. Parnia said, adding that the staff could verify that the patients’ details were correct.
Dr. Parnia and his team aren’t too sure why it happens that way, but it’s given them some direction for further study.
The one common thread about people coming back from clinical death is that it often gives them a new appreciation for life. “They become more altruistic, more engaged with helping others. They find a new meaning to life having had an encounter with death,” Dr. Parnia said.
What do you think of this research? Let us know in the comments!