New Study: You Know You’re Dead After You Pass Because Brain Keeps Working

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Death is a mystery. What happens after you die? Are you aware of your own death? These are questions that science has had a hard time answering. Previously researchers have speculated as to what might be happening after death, but there has been little research as to how the brain responds to death — until now.

In a recent study conducted by top medical experts, they discovered that the brain keeps working for a short period of time even after the heart stops beating, which essentially means a person is “trapped” in their dead body still aware of their surroundings for a few seconds.

To conduct this research, experts spoke to people who have technically died and “come back to life.” To qualify for this, patients had to have been reported dead, which is “all based on the moment when the heart stops,” according to Dr. Sam Parnia.

Parnia, who has studied consciousness after death in Europe and the United States, looked at multiple cardiac arrest cases where the patients died and were resuscitated. He explained that this subjects in this research often reported bright lights at the time of  their death.

During his research, he found individuals, more often than not, were able to see and hear things going on around them, even though they were technically dead.

“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.”

Using anecdotal reports, Parnia, who works at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York, says these accounts of hearing conversation after death were verified by doctors and nurse who were present at the time of death. After being resuscitated, they recited what they heard around them, MSN reported.

Parnia spoke with LiveScience about how he is looking to minimize brain injuries after restarting the heart. “We also study the human mind and consciousness in the context of death, to understand whether consciousness becomes annihilated or whether it continues after you’ve died for some period of time — and how that relates to what’s happening inside the brain in real time.”