What happens after we die is an age-old question that no one – for sure – really knows the answer to. Though, after a recent study published in the medical journal Resuscitation, the world might officially be one step closer.
In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at the University of Southampton England inspected more than 2,000 cases of cardiac arrest from 15 hospitals across the United Kingdom, the United States, and Austria. Out of the many cases, they concluded that 40 percent out of 360 people who had been revived after undergoing heart failure had experienced some kind of “awareness” during the seconds they had been declared “clinically dead.”
If that’s not enough to spark some goosebumps, this might be: One individual’s memory of what he encountered “after death” meticulously described what occurred throughout his resuscitation. The 57-year-old man disclosed hearing two beeps come from a machine every three minutes, meaning that his conscious experience continued for around three minutes, even without a heartbeat. According to the study’s organizers, the social worker’s recounts suggest that his brain function may have not shut down completely following his heart’s stoppage.
“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” explains study-leader, Dr. Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now a professor of medicine at Stony Brook University. “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.”
Parnia indicates the feasible possibility of other patients in the study experiencing similar mental activity, but not being able to remember due to brain injury or the use of sedative drugs. “These experiences warrant further investigation,” Dr. Parnia notes.
According to The Huffington Post, various experts believe the study’s research corresponds with new ideas revolving resuscitation medicine and the future prospective to alter death. Dr. Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation proclaimed, “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.”