Awareness continues for several minutes after brain dies
Southampton University has found evidence that consciousness continues for several minutes after clinical death. This was previously though impossible .
A study ‘AWARE – AWAreness during REsuscitation – A prospective study’ was published
A study ‘AWARE – AWAreness during REsuscitation – A prospective study’ was done at Southampton University and published in the Official Journal of European Resuscitation Council in 2014.
A multidisciplinary team did the study
A multidisciplinary team, with Sam Parnia as the lead, did the study at Southampton University.
More than 2,000 people in 15 hospitals and 3 countries were involved
The study was done on 2,060 persons who suffered a cardiac arrest and were resuscitated. The study was done in 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Austria.
Largest study of its kind to date employing rigorous methodology
This was the largest study of its kind to date which employed rigorous methodology. This methodology excluded all cases that could be based on individual impressions that are worthy but have no actual scientific interest.
Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation Journal, congratulated the team
Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation Journal, considered an authority on the subject, said of the research, ‘Dr. Parnia and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.’
40% of people were aware of their surroundings after being clinically dead
The study revealed that 40% of people who survived a cardiac arrest were aware during the time they were clinically dead and before their hearts were restarted. Other 60% may lose their memories either due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory recall. (See What does it feel like to die?)
Brain shuts down after 20-30 seconds after heart stops beating
After the heart stops beating, the brain stops functioning some 20-30 seconds later. The study showed how consciousness wasn’t annihilated together with the brain.
Near-death experiences were considered illusions previously
Near-death experiences were considered hallucinations or illusions, occurring before the heart stops or after the heart has been restarted.
Patitents reported unusual sense of peacefulness and other unusual events
1 in 5 felt an unusual sense of peacefulness, 1/3 said the time had slowed down or speeded up. Some have seen a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others had feelings of fear, drowning, or being in deep water. 13% were separated from their bodies and had heightened senses.
Dr. Parnia said death is a reversible process
Dr. Parnia said ‘Contrary to perception, death is not a specific moment, but a potentially reversible process that occurs after any severe illness or accident causes the heart, lungs, and brain to cease functioning.”
The study focused on objectively exploring near-death experiences
Dr. Parnia said ‘In this study, we wanted to go beyond the emotionally charged yet poorly defined term of ‘near-death experiences’ to explore objectively what happens when we die.’
2% of patients had full awareness
2% of patients had full awareness of events happening after being clinically dead.
Study confirms consciousness was present despite being clinically undetectable
The study supports other recent studies that have indicated consciousness may be present despite being clinically undetectable. (See What does death by hanging feel like?)
Study: Consciousness after clinical death
Life — after life: Does consciousness continue after our brain dies? Consciousness after clinical death.