The topic of “What happens to our brain when we die?” has baffled scientists. But this issue interests more than just scientists. Even philosophers and poets ponder on this. What actually happens right before it shuts off and dies? Well, earlier studies among animals have shown that gamma waves observe an increase as they enter a cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest. Gamma waves are produced during conscious perception and are associated with memory processing in the brain. A recent study showed that dying individuals may experience increased brain activity for up to 30 minutes after their hearts have stopped beating.
This new study has thrown some light on this unexplained process. But what does this indicate? Does it represent the brain’s final act or is it something else entirely?
So What Exactly Went Down?
Researchers from the University of Michigan in the US studied the electroencephalogram (EEG: used to monitor the functioning of the brain) and electrocardiogram (ECG: used to check the condition of the heart) signals in four terminally ill patients before and after the removal of ventilatory support in order to gain a better understanding of what takes place in the brain during the final moments of a person’s life. The four patients were in a coma, the researchers discovered that in two of the patients, hypoxia (dropping levels of oxygen in the brain) was accompanied by an increase in gamma activity.
But why might there be such an elevation? The authors of the study argue that it might be the outcome of the brain’s struggle to survive while the body is perishing. The brain’s final surge of activity before it permanently shuts down, the brain’s release of particular chemicals at the moment of death, or both, may account for the occurrence. Researchers have come close, but there is no apparent answer.
According to a study, people who had been declared clinically dead and then brought back to life usually reported seeing bright lights or familiar faces. This suggests that near-death experiences may involve subjective perceptions that differ from ordinary waking consciousness. This shows that even when individuals are dying, their brains can still process internal visions. Researchers are still unsure as to whether the dying human brain stimulates the posterior cortical areas, which are located in the back of the head and are in charge of processing visual data. The hot zone of the brain is where the gamma wave was first discovered. This region of the brain is crucial for processing conscious information, according to experts.
Looking At the Bigger Picture!
Whatever the cause, these discoveries have a significant impact on how we understand the process of dying. They also bring up major concerns regarding how we treat people who are nearing the end of their life. The active voice form of the sentence is, “Even if the dying brain can continue to operate, we need to thoroughly explore the processes and physiological significance of these results. Additionally, we recommend reexamining how the brain works during cardiac arrest.