A scientific study has found that the human mind continues to work even after a body shows no sign of life.
This means that scientists have basically found that a person’s consciousness continues to work after the body dies – meaning they have awareness of their own death.
A vast research by American scientists suggests that human consciousness does not ‘go out’ immediately after the heart stops, reports Live Science.
According to Sam Parnia, director of intensive care and resuscitation research at the NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York, in the vast majority of cases, doctors define death medically as soon as the heart stops beating.
“Technically speaking, this is how the moment of death is established: everything is based on the moment when the heart stops,” explained Parnia.
Once that happens, the blood stops flowing to the brain, which means that the brain function stops “almost instantaneously” and all the reflexes ruled by its stem are lost.
The cerebral cortex – the so-called thinking part – also slows down and the brain waves are no longer visible on an electric monitor.
This initiates a chain reaction of cellular processes that eventually results in the death of brain cells, but that can take hours after the heart has stopped, says the researcher.
Parnia points out that in the first phase of death, the person may still experience some form of consciousness.
Evidence of this would be in cases where, after the heart has stopped and shortly returns to function, patients are able to accurately describe what was happening around them at that time: doctors and nurses working, words which they exchanged between them, etc.
These are stories later confirmed by the medical staff present at the scene, who were surprised to hear that their patients, who were technically dead, could remember all those details.
Parnia also commented on the film Flatliners, which opens this week, where it is shown that death and subsequent resuscitation could improve normal brain activity.
The scientist indicated that in real life this is not so. „in the real world, a return ticket from death doesn’t include newly acquired cerebral superpowers — though it does frequently provide a new perspective on life, Parnia noted.”
“What tends to happen is that people who’ve had these very profound experiences may come back positively transformed — they become more altruistic, more engaged with helping others. They find a new meaning to life having had an encounter with death,” Parnia said.
“But there isn’t like a sudden magical enhancement of their memories,” he added. “That’s just Hollywood jazz.”