Brain scans of a dying man suggest that a “summary” of life at the point of death may well flow before our eyes.
An international team of scientists has discovered unusual brain activity in an 87-year-old man on the verge of death from a heart attack that occurred after a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a fall.
Scientists have detected changes in some types of brain waves, including alpha and gamma brain waves, in EEG recordings in the 30 seconds before and after the heart stops beating. This suggests that brain wave reactions continue even after blood flow to the brain has stopped.
“Given that cross-coupling of alpha and gamma activity is implicated in cognitive processes and memory retrieval in healthy subjects, it is interesting to hypothesize that this activity may support the final ‘call of life’, which can occur in the antenatal period,” so the team in the magazine Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
However, unfortunately, these findings are based only on EEG recordings of a single person, as well as brain complications, and this prompts researchers to be cautious.
“I don’t think we can assume that this is a representative example of how the human brain behaves on the verge of death,” says Dr. Steve Taylor, a psychologist at Leeds Beckett University, adding however: “A life review can actually happen. When people are not near death Physiologically, there are many cases of reviewing life during a fall, for example.”
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