You do know you're dead after you die

Human brain

These doctors say some survivors recall vivid conversations that went on around them - even several minutes after they were pronounced dead.

Researchers at New York University's Langone School of Medicine said in an interview that people who've temporarily died are aware that their life has ended, and might be able to hear a doctor announcing their death.

A team from New York University Langone School of Medicine investigated the very same question through twin studies in Europe and the U.S. of people who have suffered cardiac arrest and "come back" to life, in the largest study of its kind.

New research at a highly regarded USA medical school suggests that some patients may retain awareness after their hearts have stopped and they are declared dead.

However, other scientists, who are not related to this work, share the idea that the brain still saves a little bit of energy after the body dies.

So Parnia and his colleagues started the largest ever study of people in the USA and Europe who'd suffered a cardiac arrest - which is not the same as a heart attack - and were revived, and who reported having had "out of body" experiences during that time.

Their recollections were also verified by medical staff who reported their patients could remember the details.

Doctors certify a person is dead when its heart-beatings stop, provoking its blood flow to the brain to also be cut off.

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As soon as the heart stops, blood is no longer circulating to the brain, which means the brain's function stops nearly instantaneously.

"Technically, that's how you get the time of death - it's all based on the moment when the heart stops". "Your gag reflex, your pupil reflex, all that is gone".

In the film a group of young doctors embark on a risky experiment by taking turns to chemically induce their heart to stop and flatline to find out exactly what happens in the afterlife. Within 20 seconds, no brainwaves will usually show on an electrical monitor, Parnia explained.

This eventually results in the death of the brain. An NYU researcher said that the human body doesn't stop working when the heart does - not completely, at least.

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) does send some blood to the brain-about 15 percent of what it requires to function normally, according to Parnia.

They observed activity patterns associated with "a hyper-alerted state" shortly after clinical death.

It is not the first time brain activity after death has been recorded.

"At the same time, we also study the human mind and consciousness in the context of death, to understand whether consciousness becomes annihilated or whether it continues after you've died for some period of time - and how that relates to what's happening inside the brain in real time", he said.

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