By: April Carson
According to a recent scientific "accident," life may actually flash before our eyes as we die. The revelation was made when a group of European researchers were studying the brains of patients who had recently died.
An 87-year-old guy with epilepsy was the focus of a study to assess his brainwaves. But while performing a neurological recording, he suffered a fatal heart attack - giving researchers an unexpected glimpse into a human's last moments on earth.
The findings suggest that the man's brainwaves changed during REM sleep, leading him to believe he was dreaming. The study revealed that the man's brainwaves followed similar patterns to those seen in dreams or recollecting memories for 30 seconds before and after.
This particular type of brain activity might suggest that a person's last moments may be their final opportunity to recall life, according to the researchers.
Dr. Ajmal Zemmar, one of the researchers, said that the team's accidental discovery was the first-ever video record of a brain as it died.
"It was actually totally by chance," he explains. "We did not plan to do this study or record these signals."
The study, which was published in the journal Neurology, used electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor the brain activity of rats as they were euthanized.
Will we get to see glimpses of the past, with loved ones and other joyful memories? According to Dr Zemmar, it's difficult to say.
"If I were to go into the speculative realm, I'd guess that if your brain had a flashback, it would want to remind you of nice things rather than unpleasant ones," he added.
"But what's memorable to one person might be completely different from another."
Dr Zemmar, who is now a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville, said in the last 30 seconds before the patient's heart stopped providing blood to the brain, his brainwaves mirrored those seen during high-cognitive demanding activities such as focusing, dreaming, or remembering memories.
It went on for a full 30 seconds after the heart had stopped beating, which is when a patient is generally declared dead.
"It might be the last recall of memories we've ever had, and they rerun in our minds just before we die. "
The research also raises questions about when exactly life ends, whether it's because the heart stops beating or the brain shuts down.
"This is an interesting study because it provides a potential window into what might be happening in the brain in the moments immediately preceding death," said Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical-care physician and director of resuscitation research at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York.
Dr Zemmar and his staff stressed that a study of one cannot provide sweeping judgments. The fact that the patient was epileptic, with a bleeding and swollen brain, adds to the uncertainty.
Dr Zemmar stated, "I've never felt comfortable reporting just one case." He sought additional similar incidents to help strengthen the analysis for many years after the initial recording in 2016, but he was unable to do so.
A 2013 study, however, may provide a hint.
During the scanning, US researchers discovered high amounts of brainwaves in the dying rats' brains until 30 seconds after their hearts stopped beating, just as Dr Zemmar's epileptic patient reported.
The researchers now hope that the publication of this one human case will provide the starting point for further research on deathbed experiences.
"I believe something mystical and spiritual exists about this entire near-death experience," said Dr Zemmar. "And there are things like this, which are a researcher's dream: findings such as these."
Near-death experiences (NDEs) have been reported by individuals who have been on the verge of death, but scientists have disputed whether they are genuine or simply the consequence of a dying brain. After all, it appears that life may flash before your eyes at the moment of death.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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