Here’s a sobering thought. New research suggests that when you’re dead – you’ll know it.
According to Dr. Sam Parnia, we know we are dead when we die because our brains keep working to make us aware of what’s happening around us, his haunting new research suggests.
Parnia and his team of researchers from the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, examined consciousness after death by researching cardiac arrest cases in Europe and the US. His study, which was published in the Official Journal of European Resuscitation Council, suggests your consciousness carries on functioning after your heart stops beating and your body movements fail.
This means you are essentially “trapped” inside of your dead body, with your brain still working, fully aware that you have died, if only for a short time.
According to Parnia, survivors of cardiac arrest were aware of what was going on around them while they were “dead” before being “brought back to life.”
More surprising still, Parnia says that there is evidence to suggest the deceased may even hear themselves being pronounced dead by doctors. In an interview with London newspaper The Daily Mail, Dr. Parnia said, “The evidence thus far suggests that in the first few minutes after death, consciousness is not annihilated.”
People Eerily Know What Is Going on Around Them
Parnia told The Mail that people who have survived cardiac arrest later accurately described what was happening around them after their hearts stopped beating.
He said, “They’ll describe watching doctors and nurses working, they’ll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them.”
Explaining how and when a patient is officially declared dead, he said, “It’s all based on the moment when the heart stops. “Technically speaking, that’s how you get the time of death.”
Doctors pronounce the time of death when the heart stops, and when this happens, brain function halts “almost instantly,” thereafter, Dr Parnia added. But he also claims that his research suggests that the brain’s cerebral cortex, known as the “thinking part,” where consciousness resides, slows down to an eventual halt at the time of death, but the brain cells can still be active even hours after the heart has stopped beating. How much consciousness remains in those active brain cells for hours, is anyone’s guess, because to this point, no one who has ever been “clinically dead” for that long has ever been brought back.
Parnia said the study found people often change when they have had this “after-death” experience and become more willing to help others. But unlike the plot in the movie Flatliners, which saw medical students carry out experiments by resuscitating themselves after stopping their hearts, “the person does not come back to life with memories, visions, or other magical abilities,” Dr. Parnia added.
Dr. Parnia was not attempting to prove life after death, or explain near-death experiences with his research, rather his goal was to determine just how long consciousness, and therefore the brain, remains viable after cardiac arrest, to improve the techniques and chances of resuscitation.