Life really does flash before our eyes at point of death, landmark study suggests

A landmark study involving a dying person’s brain activity could provide an explanation for reports of people vividly recalling their lives in near-death experiences.

The study has revealed patterns around the time of death similar to those during dreaming and memory recall and challenge our understanding of when exactly life ends.

The findings, published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience, also raise important questions related to the timing of organ donation.

Neuroscientists, including Raul Vicente of the University of Tartu, Estonia, were initially studying the brain waves of an 87-year-old epilepsy patient for seizures using an electroencephalography (EEG) device, but in the middle of the study, the patient had a heart attack and died.

The EEG recording shed light on about 900 seconds of the person’s brain activity as they died, and the scientists attempted to investigate what specifically happened in the 30 seconds before and after the heart stopped beating.

The findings revealed that as the person was dying, there was an increase in brain waves known as gamma oscillations that typically occur during dreaming and memory retrieval, as well as others such as delta, theta, alpha, and beta oscillations.

Brain waves are rhythmic electrical activity in normal living human brains, and different types of these waves are linked to different states.

Citing an example, researchers said gamma oscillations are linked to high-cognitive functions like…

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