In order to find out what happens after being declared clinically dead, the researchers continued to monitor four patients who had died in the Intensive Care Unit.
(Photo : Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
Is life after death possible? A recent study conducted by Canadian doctors from the University of Western Ontario revealed that brain activity continues for minutes after «death.»
IFL Science notes that typically, a patient is considered dead when their heart is registering no activity on an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor. In order to find out what happens after being declared clinically dead, the researchers continued to monitor four patients who had died in the Intensive Care Unit.
After life support machines were turned off, the researchers measured their frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. While there was already no heartbeat or pulse, brain waves activity showed «delta wave bursts» — an activity that indicates that a person is in a «deep sleep.»
However, delta wave bursts were not seen across the four patients. Inquirer notes that the patients’ brains had less similar reactions minutes after death. In fact, the brain waves indicating deep sleep were only detected in one patient, and mysteriously lasted for at least 10 minutes.
This just implies that the process of death is not the same for everyone.
Two studies last year revealed that genes continue to function, in some cases more vigorously, days after people die. Still, most studies had led scientists to believe that brain activity usually ends the after one final surge.
Meanwhile, Business Insider notes that while the findings could definitely challenge our previous scientific and ethical beliefs, the researchers mentioned that the case study is too small to conclude too much.
In addition, the researchers say the scan could be the result of some kind of a machine error at the time of recording. However, the medical equipment showed no signs of malfunction. In short, they are plainly left with no biological explanation for what they have observed.
«It is difficult to posit a physiological basis for this EEG activity given that it occurs after a prolonged loss of circulation,» the researchers wrote. «These waveform bursts could, therefore, be artefactual [human error] in nature, although an artefactual source could not be identified.»
The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.