The brain is an absolutely amazing organ. There is still so much to learn about it, and it seems like every day scientists are figuring out more about its unique capabilities.
Now, new research from the NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City suggests that the human brain still works after the heart stops.
Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research, is leading the study and has spent years studying the human brain. He’s done the largest study on the topic of near-death experiences and is now looking into how the brain functions after death.
Dr. Parnia and his team talked with cardiac arrest patients as well as doctors and nurses and found that the patients who flatlined still had brain function even after being declared dead.
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Right Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / NIH
New research is suggesting that the human brain still works after death. That’s right, the brain may still function even after someone has passed away — crazy, right?
The new research comes from the NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City. It is led by Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research.
Dr. Parnia has done a lot of research on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, human consciousness, and near-death experiences. His research is absolutely fascinating and could have serious implications on how we understand life and death.
According to Dr. Parnia, the brain is still active after death. During the study, Dr. Parnia and his team studied cardiac arrest patients.
“Technically speaking, that’s how you get the time of death — it’s all based on the moment when the heart stops,” Dr. Parnia told Live Science. But that’s not necessarily when the brain stops.
What Dr. Parnia found was that the brain wasn’t completely “shut off” when the heart stopped. In fact, the brain keeps working well after the heart stops beating — so even if you’re officially “dead,” your brain may still be functioning.
After talking to patients, Dr. Parnia found that many of them could recall conversations that the doctors and nurses were having in the room even after their heart stopped beating. Even though these patients were technically considered “dead,” their brains still processed information they were hearing.
“They’ll describe watching doctors and nurses working; they’ll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them,” he explained.
How crazy is that?! With this new research, Dr. Parnia suggests that not only does the brain work after death, a person may know that they died because their brain is still functioning after their heart stops.
“We’re trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we’re all going to have when we die,” he said.
Dr. Parnia and his team will continue their research and monitor the brain from “beyond the threshold of death” in order to better aid resuscitation.
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