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Awareness despite cardiac arrest
For some time now, scientists and doctors have been trying to figure out what happens to a person after death. It is not uncommon for patients who have been clinically dead for a short period of time and who have been retrieved to report that they have seen “a light at the end of the tunnel”. Renowned researchers from the University of Southampton have now found that consciousness lives on after a cardiac arrest. They have now presented their phenomenal results to a broader public.
Consciousness active up to three minutes after death
A study with more than 2,000 subjects examined whether there really is an afterlife for us humans. Scientists at the University of Southampton confirmed that our consciousness remains active for up to three minutes after cardiac arrest. Therefore, one could say that afterlife was actually confirmed. Interestingly, another recent study from Washington University in Seattle found that some genes in our bodies only become active after death.
False belief: no switching off of consciousness 30 seconds after death
Originally, experts believed that about 30 seconds after our heart stopped beating, our blood stopped flowing through the body and our consciousness stopped working. But the results of the University of Southampton study prove the opposite. We humans are still conscious for up to three minutes after cardiological death has already occurred.
Death is a potentially reversible process
Contrary to general perception, death is not a specific moment, the scientists explain. Death appears to be more of a potentially reversible process that occurs after serious illnesses or accidents that cause the heart, lungs, and brain to stop working. If it is possible to break through this process, the condition is called temporary cardiac arrest. If all attempts fail, however, the condition can be described as death, the doctors add.
40 percent of the respondents remembered a kind of awareness
Of the 2,060 subjects surveyed who had survived past cardiac arrest, 40 percent said they were able to remember some type of consciousness even though they were actually clinically dead at that moment, the author explains Dr. Sam Parnia from University of Southampton. Two percent of those affected described this experience as a so-called out-of-body experience. The subjects surveyed came from Austria, America and Great Britain.
Sufferers can usually not remember any mental activity after recovery
The results suggest that people initially have mental activity after their death, but later - in the event of recovery - lose their memories, explains Dr. Parnia. This happens either due to the effects of brain damage or the effects of sedatives, the expert continues.
Patient remembers details even though he was dead
Perhaps one of the key findings of the study was the testimony of a 57-year-old man. He was the first to report on his out-of-body experience. The patient had suffered a cardiac arrest, and yet he could remember with incredible accuracy what was going on around him after he temporarily died, the researchers say. This is of great importance because it is often assumed that experiences related to death are probably only hallucinations or illusions. So far, there have been no experiences that correspond to real events when the heart stops beating, says Dr. Parnia.
The dead man's memories coincided with proven events
In the case of the subject, however, consciousness was still present for a period of about three minutes, even though there was no heartbeat. "This is paradoxical because, as a rule, the brain does not function for more than 20 to 30 seconds after the heart stops," the authors say. It only begins to work again after the heart has been restarted with medical help. "In addition, the detailed memories of visual awareness in this case were consistent with proven events," added Dr. Parnia added. (as)