What people on the verge of death really feel: scientists reveal the secret
People who are on the verge of death are likely to retain the ability to hear, understand, and even in a sense see what is happening around them even when their hearts have already stopped. Instead, the perception that people seem to be flying out of their bodies at this point is misleading.
This is stated in the research of scientists who studied how the brain works after the heart is no longer able to pump blood, and also talked to people who had near-death experiences.
According to Popular Science, the main problem with researching what exactly happens to people after death is that we are not able to talk to the dead, so we have to look for other approaches to studying this situation.
This is especially true given that people who have been rescued from death talk about similar experiences, so it cannot simply be written off as delusions. People who have had a close "encounter" with death often recall seeing a bright light, their lives flashing before their eyes, or their deceased loved ones. Some even claim to have seen a figure that they took to be Death itself.
Kevin Nelson, a professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky (USA), notes that this is a rather paradoxical situation, as there is a common vision, such as a bright light, but there is also a unique experience of near-death experiences.
To better understand these states, scientists have studied the brains of people who were on the verge of death and allowed scientists to track what exactly happens afterwards. And the research, according to medical experts, confirms that near-death experiences are not a figment of the imagination.
Jimo Bordjigin, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School, explains that such research will allow scientists to better understand how cardiac arrest occurs.
"This research not only helps us to better understand consciousness, but also to realize the importance of the heart, lungs, and brain in our daily physiology," she explained.
Surveys of people who were on the verge of death have shown that, in fact, 1 in 10 people talk about heightened sensations, slowing down of time, out-of-body sensations, or other signs associated with the near-death experience. Researchers divide near-death experiences into four types: emotional, cognitive, spiritual and religious, and supernatural.
According to scientists, supernatural experiences are a false awareness of what is happening to the body. We are talking about the statements of people who felt as if they were detached from their physical body. And these are not isolated statements, as 76% of respondents say so.
However, scientists are convinced that this is a sensory deception caused by the brain. A similar condition was reproduced in sleeping people. It turned out that direct electrical stimulation of a brain area that is usually inactive during REM sleep can trigger an out-of-body experience.
Often, people who have been rescued from cardiac arrest also recall the experiences they had on the verge of life and death. And, as Bordzhygin notes, this is no longer an illusion.
She explains that cardiac arrest leads to the body's inability to pump blood, and thus vital oxygen. As a result, the brain reacts to the lack of oxygen and undergoes certain changes that contribute to the distortion of the perception of reality.
Tests were conducted on four people who were in critical condition and subsequently disconnected from life support. In two of them, electroencephalography (EEG) recorded a surge in gamma brain waves that occurred when the bodies began to shut down. Gamma brain waves are usually a sign of consciousness because they are most active when a person is awake.
Bordzhigin said that the increase in gamma waves occurred in the area of the brain that is responsible for combining information from our senses, including touch, movement, and vision, into consciousness. Scientists were unable to find out what exactly people saw or felt at that moment, because, unfortunately, both patients died. But the scientist suggests that the activation of this area may mean that people can probably pick up sounds and understand speech.
"They can hear and perceive the conversation around them and form a visual image in their brain, even when their eyes are closed," Bordzhigin said.
Another study, which was conducted in 2017-2020 and tracked 567 people, also recorded a surge in brain activity in dying people. The international team of doctors who worked on it believes that this is a manifestation of latent consciousness.
In the study, people who were brought back to life by cardiopulmonary resuscitation after cardiac arrest were able to have memories and remember conversations that took place when they were seemingly unconscious.
They found that people who were successfully resuscitated were able to recall what happened after their death. During resuscitation, they were also played a recording that repeated the names of fruits, and some people were also able to recall the names of the fruits they heard.
The study also showed that the brain deprived of oxygen remains alive not only for five to ten minutes, as is believed, but much longer, but scientists are not sure whether doctors can save people who have already been declared dead.
"These patients were actually alive on the inside, as evidenced by positive EEG waves, but they were dead on the outside," said Chinwe Ogedegbe, co-author of the study and head of the Emergency Trauma Center.
Scientists also suggest that it may not be about the brain's ability to survive without oxygen, but about the existence of an "inhibitory system" that can explain the distorted perception of consciousness. This system, as explained by scientists, filters and inhibits unnecessary information when a person is awake. However, in the unconscious state, it is absent and this can allow dormant brain pathways to activate and access a deeper realm of consciousness that contains all your memory, thoughts, and actions.
"Rather than being a hallucination, illusion, or delusion, it seems to contribute to a clear understanding of new dimensions of reality," the researchers believe.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL also told about scientists who discovered that after death, zombie genes wake up in people's brains.