What happens just before death? A study on brain activity

Home What happens just before death? A study on brain activity
Written by Doug Hampton

Light, floating sensation… Why are the accounts of people who have had a near-death experience similar?

We have all read, even heard, stories of imminent death. And it is clear that they are similar on many points. But precisely, how to explain these common points, whether it is about light at the end of a tunnel or life which parades?

Researchers at the University of Michigan recorded spikes in brain activity in two dying patients.

A study with unprecedented precision

Admittedly, this is not the first study on the subject. But Jimo Borjigin, main author of the one in question here and whose results appeared in the journal PNAS, told AFP that she is “more detailed than any before”.

The scientists analyzed the records of four patients who died of cardiac arrest while their brain activity was measured by electroencephalography (EEG). They were in a coma and their doctors had decided to stop treatment because they could not be saved.

A peak of waves associated with consciousness

It turns out that two of the people (two women aged 24 and 77) saw their heart rates increase when the life support devices stopped working. And a spike in gamma waves, related to consciousness, was also recorded.

Jimo Borjigin indicates, in support of these results obtained after observing a posterior area of ​​the brain associated with consciousness:

If this part of the brain is stimulated, it means the patient is seeing something, can hear something, and can potentially feel sensations outside of their body.

She specifies that this specific area was “in fire”.

A history of seizures

But how to explain that these data could not be found in the other two people in the study? The mystery remains, although the specialist suggests that their history of seizures could have had an impact.

Moreover, the scientists are well aware that the small sample studied is a serious limit to their study.

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