Brain Doctor: Near-Death Tales Are Just “Hollywood Jazz”

Brain may stay active for hours after death

| Ananya Mandal, MD, News-Medical.Net – A team of researchers has found that the brain works for a while after the heart has stopped.

The scientists from New York’s Stony Brook University of Medicine looked at patients with cardiac arrests in Europe and the US.

They noted that patients who were successfully resuscitated after their heart had stopped beating could recall the conversations around them between the healthcare personnel and were aware of their surroundings.

Study leader Dr. Sam Parnia explained that death is declared when the heart stops beating; as the heart stops beating, it stops pumping blood to the brain and slowly the brain begins to shut down.

He added that this process of the brain shutting down slowly may take hours and the person may be dead during this time but aware of their surroundings.

But when CPR is given and the heart is started again, so does the brain function. He said,

“If you manage to restart the heart, which is what CPR attempts to do, you’ll gradually start to get the brain functioning again. The longer you’re doing CPR, those brain cell death pathways are still happening — they’re just happening at a slightly slower rate. What tends to happen is that people who’ve had these very profound experiences may come back positively transformed. They become more altruistic, more engaged with helping others. They find a new meaning to life having had an encounter with death. But there isn’t like a sudden magical enhancement of their memories. That’s just Hollywood jazz.” Read more. 

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