It may seem like it’s impossible to know what happens to our brains after we die, but luckily, there is one way we can find out. Doctors have long been studying the phenomenon of near-death experiences to find out what happens to our brains when we’re close to dying. It’s taken years of examination to discover hard evidence for what could happen. Many people who have an NDE claim that they see their loved ones ready to greet them, or a light at the end of the tunnel guiding them towards their fate. But what is happening to the brain during our final moments, and even after death?
OUR BODIES DIE, BUT OUR BRAINS LIVE ON
This is where things get a little crazy. Despite our bodies being completely inactive, it’s thought that the brain still has consciousness after death. A piece of research carried out at NYU Langone School of Medicine studied those who had suffered cardiac arrest, but survived, even after technically dying and then being resuscitated.
The research is calling for the meaning of death to be refined to when the heart stops. That is the point at which our other functions begin to fail too, including brain activity. However, there is evidence gleaned from this study that suggests our brains have a burst of energy delivered just before death. It allowed their minds to remain active, and participants were able to remember things such as conversations between the doctors, even though technically, they were dead.
The evidence doesn’t end there. Another study was carried out at a Canadian intensive care unit, where four terminal patients were removed from their life support machines. Despite one of the patients being declared dead, they persisted to show signs of brain activity for a further ten minutes afterward. There were no physical signs of life, with unresponsive pupils and no pulse to speak of, the patient’s brain was still producing brain waves – the same sort built during a period of profound sleep.
DYING IS A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE
According to Dr. Parnia and other near-death experience studies, dying naturally is not painful or scary, but rather, an enjoyable experience. His studies have found that people who have a near-death experience often feel a warm, welcoming light, inviting them to go into death peacefully. The studies he did commonly observe that the participant was so comfortable in the experience, that they usually didn’t want to come back to life.