July 2, 2022

Scientists discover what happens in the brain before a person dies

Published on 02/23/2022 19:39

(credit: reproduction)

By observing an 87-year-old patient who died of a heart attack, a group of neuroscientists discovered how the human brain behaves before death. They concluded that memories are saved at the last minute.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience It has been shown that the rhythmic brain wave patterns before death are similar to those recorded during sleep or meditation.

During the study, the observation was only possible because doctors used continuous electroencephalography (EEG), which was intended to detect seizures and treat a patient with epilepsy. However, during this process the old man had a heart attack and died.

The patient’s death allowed scientists to record human brain activity for the first time in the moments before his death.

Ajmal Zammar, a University of Louisville neurosurgeon, one of the study’s organizers, said they measured 900 seconds of brain activity at the time of death. So the researchers focused on what happened in the 30 seconds before and after the exact time the heart stopped beating.

Ajmal explained: “Shortly before and after the heart stopped working, we saw changes in a certain range of neuronal oscillations, the so-called gamma oscillations, but also in other oscillations, such as delta, theta, alpha and beta.”

Brain oscillations or brain waves are patterns of rhythmic brain activity. For gamma, for example, there are cognitive functions such as concentration, dreaming, meditation and memory retrieval, which are associated with memory retrieval. Zammar continues, “The brain may reproduce a last memory of important life events just before we die, similar to those reported in near-death experiences.”

This discovery is the result of a single experiment on the brain of a single patient. However, Zammar and other researchers plan to investigate more cases and verify the results.

* Trainee under the supervision of Pedro Gregory