You’ll know when you’re dead

A New York doctor claims that, when you die, your mind lives on – meaning you could be aware that you’re dead because your consciousness continues to function after dying.

Dr Sam Parnia, Director of Critical Care and Resuscitation Research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, along with his team, has been studying people who suffered cardiac arrest and were later revived.

Some of these patients claimed that, even though they were technically dead, they could still hear entire conversations and could see things happening around them.

Their claims were verified by the staff present at the time.

A person is technically dead when their heart stops and blood ceases flowing to the brain.

According to Dr Parnia: “Technically, that’s how you get the time of death – it’s all based on the moment when the heart stops. Once that happens, blood no longer circulates to the brain, which means brain function halts almost instantaneously.

“You lose all your brain stem reflexes – your gag reflex, your pupil reflex, all that is gone.”

But evidence exists that, when someone dies, there is a burst of brain energy. This is backed up by University of Michigan research, which monitored electrical signals in the brain that occur after death. This research revealed energy patterns linked to a hyper-alerted state for a short period after death.

Dr Parnia hopes that his research will unveil the “universal experience we’re all going to have when we die”.

Did death just become a little scarier? Or do you take comfort knowing that you’ll know when you’re dead?

Related articles:
What kind of death do you want?
The death test
Risk of death doubles at night

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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