Life after death


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outofbody.jpg

I'm sure you have heard stories of people on their death bed who have come back to life after being proclaimed dead, describe images of a bright light or an out of body experience. For years it was thought that when your EEG(test to measure brain activity) went flat, you were considered dead. Well, recent studies are now saying otherwise.

At the University of Michigan, several scientists conducted a study on 9 lab rats to determine if there is in fact brain activity after the brain is considered "dead".  They "anesthetized and then subjected to induced cardiac arrest as part of the experiment"(News.Discovery.com). What they found was shocking. "In the first 30 seconds after their hearts were stopped, they all showed a surge of brain activity, observed in electroencephalograms (EEGs) that indicated highly aroused mental states"(News.discovery.com). This is only the beginning to potentially answering the many questions as to why "about 20 percent of people who survive cardiac arrest report having had visions during a period known to doctors as clinical death"(News.Discovery.com). Although this study has promising results, how much can we conclude from an experiment from only 9 lab rats? The experiment was well conducted but we need to question the fact that different species may psychologically experience different death like states.

A similar study was also done on 26 lab cats in the Universite de Montreal. "The study came after Romanian doctors noticed odd electroencephalogram (EEG) activity in a patient who had lapsed into a coma while under the influence of anti-seizure medication"(Articles.LAtimes.com) They found, like the previous study on lab rats, a "ripple event" in the hippocampus after the EEG went flat. These studies could change the rules for determining whether a person is brain dead or not. "Researchers said their findings suggest that the brain can survive an extremely deep coma and that inducing such a state could help preserve some brain function that otherwise might cease, causing the brain to atrophy"(Articles.LAtimes.com). More studies need to be conducted, but if this holds to be true, the rule of thumb for declaring a person brain dead may be changed for the better.

 

Works Cited:

http://news.discovery.com/human/health/brain-activity-shows-basis-of-near-death-experience-130813.htm?SSFEAT=1400DNEWSOGRecs-1367966217880&SREF=CustomerSite&SFBState=Unknown

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/18/science/la-sci-sn-brain-activity-death-20130918

 

           


3 Comments

The brain functioning on deeper levels after death, at least for a short period, is a frightening thought. Considering that organ donors are tended to quickly after they expire, it's scary to think that they might not be entirely dead before the first incision. But in what state of consciousness does a recently deceased human being dwell? I'm reminded of the well known quote by Shakespeare:
"To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub. For in that sleep of death what dreams may come."
In dreams, time is often dilated. Who knows how long a dead person dreams, if at all. It's an interesting query, and not one that is easily (or ethically) answered.

I have heard similar things in a documentary that I watched the other day. They were saying that when you die your body releases a chemical called DMT. Apparently your body also releases the same chemical when you dream, so this could explain the brain activity that you are talking about. The documentary was called DMT: the spirit molecule

Taylor,

I also know about the chemical called DMT. I recently watched the movie called "Enter The Void", in which a man takes DMT, but as the movie unfolds its unsure whether he took the drug or it's all apart of a trip hes having from his apparent death. Really good movie which I recommend. Anyways, I believe that the chemical is definitely involved when the brain goes through an active state after you are considered dead. It could even be possible that all of the brain activity shown is created from that chemical reaction in the brain. Hopefully as we learn more about the brain we'll discover more about what occurs in this state of mind.

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