A new study has suggested that the mind can still be active even after the body stops showing signs of life.
The research, which was led by Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, involved investigating patients who had suffered a cardiac arrest and had ‘died’ but who had then been successfully resuscitated by doctors.
The team found accounts of patients who recalled being aware of entire conversations being carried out in the room even after they had been pronounced dead. By cross-referencing these accounts with medical staff present at the time, it was possible to verify that what they had heard was real.
Some of the patients had even managed to see things happening around them during this time.
Death is typically defined as the point at which the heart has stopped and blood is no longer flowing to the brain, however now it seems as though a person’s mind can still remain active after this time.
“Technically, that’s how you get the time of death – it’s all based on the moment when the heart stops,” said Dr Parnia. “Once that happens, blood no longer circulates to the brain, which means brain function halts almost instantaneously.”
“You lose all your brain stem reflexes – your gag reflex, your pupil reflex, all that is gone.”
Back in 2013, researchers at the University of Michigan determined that the brain may enter in to a “hyper-alerted state” for a short period of time after clinical death.
Could this be the point at which near-death experiences occur ?
The search for answers continues.