World’s first scan of dying brain reveals final moments — Analysis

A new study revealed that scientists had recorded the brain activity of a dying individual for the very first time. It showed similar patterns to those observed during memory recall, meditation and dreams.

Findings published in journal Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience on Tuesday showed the recording of the activity in an 87-year-old patient who had been connected to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine to detect seizures and treat the patient, when he suddenly had a heart attack and passed away.

The 900 seconds of brain activity that were measured around the time of the patient’s death were described as being similar to “life recall.” The experience, which has been likened to what happens around a near-death experience, potentially answers a question about brain activity in these moments which has puzzled neuroscientists.

“Through generating oscillations involved in memory retrieval, the brain may be playing a last recall of important life events just before we die,”The study was organized by Dr Ajmal Zemmar (a US neurosurgeon)

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According to scientists, the results could indicate that even though a person dies, their brains remain active and well-coordinated. Zemmar said that “these findings challenge our understanding of when exactly life ends and generate important subsequent questions, such as those related to the timing of organ donation.”

This is the first study to look at live brain activity in a dead person. It also follows similar oscillations that have been observed in rats kept in controlled conditions. The patient suffered from brain swelling and seizures in the past. Zemmar acknowledged that the data was complicated. He plans to continue his investigation.

“Something we may learn from this research is: although our loved ones have their eyes closed and are ready to leave us to rest, their brains may be replaying some of the nicest moments they experienced in their lives,”Zemmar offered hope for families who have lost loved ones

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