By: April Carson
When you pass away, your life might actually flash before your eyes — or at least that's what several researchers believe, according to a new first-of-its kind paper that revealed the brain activity of a dying individual.
The researchers were examining the brain waves of an 87-year-old epilepsy sufferer with an electroencephalography (EEG) device for seizures, according to a study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. While the patient was clinically brain dead and had no heartbeat, the EEG showed "clear" brain waves.
"We were surprised to find such a clear pattern of brain waves coming from the cortex of a person who was clinically dead," said study author Dr. Jens Dreier, a neurologist at Medical School Hanover in Germany.
However, during the study, the participant had a heart attack and died. This provided the researchers with an unusual chance to analyze 15 minutes of brain activity from a dying individual.
The researchers discovered an increase in gamma brain waves, which are typically seen during dreaming and memory retrieval, as well as theta oscillations, which are linked with meditation. As a result, they argued that when a person is dying, he or she may see snippets of their past life flashing before them.
"The brain may be playing a final recall of vital life experiences just before we die, similar to those reported in near-death experiences, through generating oscillations involved in memory retrieval," according to Dr. Ajmal Zemmar at the University of Louisville, one of the study's authors.
By delving into the medical records of organ donors and their families, researchers are looking at how surgeons handle end-of-life decisions outside of a hospital setting. There also could be benefits to “focusing on past outcomes rather than current symptoms," according to Zemmar. This not only illuminates an unfathomable and frightening moment that we will all face eventually, but it may also aid in the understanding of "the timing of organ donation."
The doctor continued, “These results challenge our understanding of when life ends.”
Of course, there are certain limitations. One is that the study only looked at one patient. For another thing, the patient had a prior history of seizures and brain edema, which might have affected the results.
The study's lead author, Dr. Sam Parnia, commented on the potential implications of the findings: "We know the brain can't function when the heart stops beating. But in this case, a person's thoughts may have continued for up to five minutes after their heart stopped."
However, this could be explained by similar gamma activity in previous studies of dying rats' brains. This may suggest that this is a natural occurrence across various species, according to past research into the brain activity of dying rats.
The long-term benefits of cannabis treatments are yet to be studied, but clinicians say that the data collected from patients might provide some comfort and closure to families dealing with a loved one's death. Dr. Zemmar said that while more study is required, the findings obtained from the patient might offer some hope and resolution to relatives who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
“We may learn something from this study: even though our loved ones are closing their eyes and preparing to depart us to relax, their brains may be replaying some of the nicest times they've ever had in their lives.” Zemmar added.
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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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