Scientists say you're "alive" for a few seconds after the heart stops beating as the brain is still functioning
The human body is nothing short of a miracle in itself, and for years, scientists have been trying to solve the numerous puzzles it contains and poses. And as per a new report, scientists have discovered that for seconds after the heart stops, the brain still functions, meaning that you are aware of being dead.
It is further believed that for a short period of time, after death, the person would be "trapped" inside their dead body with the brain still functioning.
The new study by Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York further revealed that people who survived heart attacks were aware of what was going on around them while they were clinically 'dead' i.e their hearts have stopped beating.
The researchers have also claimed that some patients could even hear the doctors pronouncing them dead after their hearts stopped beating because of the activities going on in their brain.
It was Dr. Sam Parnia and his team from the Stony Brook University School of Medicine who examined consciousness after death by researching cardiac arrest cases in Europe and the US.
Dr. Parnia said that when a person is resuscitated they do not return with a "magical enhancement" of their memories, adding, "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."
"It [the time a patient is declared dead] is all based on the moment when the heart stops. Technically speaking, that's how you get the time of death. Doctors pronounce the time of death when the heart stops and when this happens, brain function halts almost instantly," Dr Parnia added.
He added: "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."
Concluding, he said, "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."
The aim of Dr. Parnia's research is to find out and improve the quality of resuscitation and prevent brain injuries while restarting the heart when the patient goes into cardiac arrest.