A study of the dying brain shows that the line between life and death can become very blurred.

A study of the dying brain shows that the line between life and death can become very blurred.

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Study: The line between life and death may be less clear than previously thought

A new study of the dying brain suggests that the line between life and death may be less clear than previously thought. Researchers studied several patients who were taken off life support.

For several years, Jimoh Borjigin, a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan, has been concerned with the question of what happens to us when we die.

Evidence is already emerging that even complete brain death may someday be reversible. In 2019, Yale University scientists extracted the brains of pigs that had been beheaded at a commercial slaughterhouse four hours earlier. They then perfused the brain with a special cocktail of drugs and synthetic blood for six hours. Amazingly, some brain cells began to show metabolic activity again, and some synapses even began to fire.

Scans of the pigs’ brains did not reveal the widespread electrical activity we typically associate with sensation or consciousness. But the fact that there was any activity at all suggests that the boundaries of life may one day extend much further into the realm of death than most scientists currently realize.

Other major areas of research into near-death experiences are ongoing. Scientists are working on many questions related to near-death experiences. One is whether people with a history of trauma or those with more creative thinking have these experiences more often than the general population. The other is about the evolutionary biology of near-death experiences. Researchers speculate that this may be a form of a phenomenon known as thanatosis, in which creatures across the animal kingdom feign death to avoid mortal danger.

Other researchers have suggested that the burst of electrical activity in the moments after cardiac arrest is just the last fit of a dying brain, or have hypothesized that it is the brain’s last attempt to restart itself, like starting an engine while running. Writes about this Guardian.

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