The first-ever recording of a dying brain has revealed insight into what could happen in the final minutes of our lives.
Scientists filmed the most sophisticated human organ as it shut down by mistake, giving an amazing glimpse into death.
Electroencephalography (EEG) was being used by neuroscientists to identify and treat seizures in an 87-year-old patient.
The guy, who was being treated for epilepsy, was linked up to an electroencephalogram, which measures brain activity, when he collapsed and died.
The electroencephalogram, on the other hand, continued to monitor his brain activity, including the 15 minutes before his death.
Scientists observed a rise in a certain sort of brain wave in the 30 seconds preceding the patient’s final pulse.
These waves, known as gamma oscillations, are related with more complex cognitive tasks and are most active when dreaming, meditating, or focusing.
The waves are also associated with memory recall and information processing.
The recording implies that when we die, we have the same cerebral activity as when we dream, recollect memories, or meditate.
It also begs the issue of whether we could witness a flood of our fondest memories in those dying minutes, implying that our lives might “flash before our eyes” as a result of “memory retrieval.”
Alternatively, we may just enter a meditative-like dreamy condition.
The study’s findings, which were published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, suggest that our brains may stay active and coordinated throughout and after death.
“We measured 900 seconds of brain activity around the time of death and set a specific focus to investigate what happened in the 30 seconds before and after the heart stopped beating,” Dr Ajmal Zemmar, a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville and the study’s organizer, told Frontiers Science News.
“We saw changes in a specific band of neural oscillations, so-called gamma oscillations, but also in others like delta, theta, alpha, and beta oscillations, just before and after the heart stopped working.” The brain may be performing a final recall of crucial life events soon before we die by generating memory retrieval oscillations, similar to those recorded in near-death experiences.
While the ground breaking research is based on a single example involving a patient with epilepsy and edema, Dr. Zemmar said he intends to look into more cases in the future.
He went on to say that the findings give neuroscientists hope for a better understanding of the “life recall” phenomena that people who have had near-death experiences frequently claim.