February 28, 2018
A wave of electrical activity in our brains called ‘spreading depression’ appears to mark the final moment before death, researchers have found.
Experts examining brain activity in dying patients observed a flurry of activity that appears to precede the fatal shutdown of our most vital organ.
The finding suggests that consciousness may still be present for many minutes after the rest of the body has stopped showing signs of life.
A team of neurologists, including from the Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, continuously monitored electrical signals in the brains of of nine people as they died.
Each of the patients – from Berlin, Germany, and Cincinnati, Ohio – had received fatal brain injuries and had ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.
Experts hoped that, by implanting electrodes in the brains of their test subjects, they could uncover the mechanisms and timing of events during the process of dying.
They found that even five minutes after a person’s heart stops beating their brain cells, or neurons, may still function.
This article was posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8:45 am