Your brain will stay conscious for a few minutes after your death, a top neuroscientist has warned.
Researchers in New York discovered that brain function can continue after the heart stops – meaning that you could know you’re dying after you’ve technically died.
Scientists discovered that brain function continues in the cerebrum, the part that keeps you conscious, after the heart has stopped.
Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at New York University Langone Medical Center, claimed that brain cells can take days to die.
He told Newsweek: “What’s fascinating is that there is a time, only after you and I die, that the cells inside our bodies start to gradually go toward their own process of death.
“The cells don’t instantly switch from alive to dead. Actually, the cells are much more resilient to the heart stopping – to the person dying – than we used to understand.”
In 2016 scientists from the University of Western Ontario examined the bodies of four people whose life support machines had been switched off.
In three cases brain activity ceased after heart failure.
But in one, a patient’s brain waves continued despite being declared dead.
Ordinarily these brain waves only occur during sleep.
Doctors described their findings as “extraordinary” and “unexplained”.
The research paper, published in the Canadian Journal for Neurological Science, reads: “In one patient, single delta wave bursts persisted following the cessation of both the cardiac rhythm and arterial blood pressure (ABP).
“It is difficult to posit a physiological basis for this EEG [brain] activity given that it occurs after a prolonged loss of circulation.”
The life after death theory was blown wide open by another study which found certain genes actually kick into life after a person dies.
The study tested zebrafish and mice but the experts believe the phenomena occurs in humans too.
Senior author Peter Noble, of the University of Washington and Alabama State University, said: “Not all cells are ‘dead’ when an organism dies.”