Life flashes before our eyes: study charts brain activity in a man’s last moments Science and technology news
Scientists have accidentally recorded the most complex human organ as it shuts down – giving a glimpse of what might be happening in the moments before we die.
A study published in Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience focused on an 87-year-old man being treated for epilepsy.
The man was hooked up to an electroencephalogram, which records brain activity, when he had a sudden heart attack and died.
But the electroencephalogram continued to record his brain activity, even during the 15 minutes surrounding his death.
Scientists saw that in the 30 seconds on either side of the man’s last heartbeat, a certain type of brainwave increased.
These brainwaves – gamma waves – are associated with more sophisticated cognitive functions and are particularly active when we are concentrating, dreaming, meditating, recalling memories and processing information.
The recorded brainwaves — known as gamma oscillations — suggest that we experience the same neural activity when dying as we do when dreaming, recalling memories, or meditating.
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It raises the question of whether our lives really “flash before our eyes” in our final moments.
dr Ajmal Zemmar, a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville who led the study, told ZME Science, “These findings challenge our understanding of exactly when life ends and raise important subsequent questions, such as those related.” with the time of organ donation.”
He added, “As a neurosurgeon, I deal with losses at times.
“Bringing the news of death to a distressed family member is incredibly difficult.
“Something we can learn from this research is that even though our loved ones have their eyes closed and are willing to let us rest, their brains may be repeating some of the most beautiful moments they’ve experienced in their lives.”
The researchers warned that the study was the first of its kind and involved a brain that had already been damaged by epilepsy.
However, it could pave the way for further research and a deeper understanding of what goes through our minds in our final moments.