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What happens to us after we die is a subject that continues to be heavily debated across the world. Some believe our souls ascend to the pearly gates, others reckon we're reincarnated, while a number of people think we become mere worm food when we pop our clogs.
Whatever your take on the matter, a new study has made some rather unsettling findings about what might happen to our brains when we die.
The findings suggest a person's consciousness keeps working after their heart stops beating, meaning they're essentially 'trapped' within their bodies and could even hear their time of death being announced by medics.
Dr. Sam Parnia, who studies consciousness after death, examined a number of cardiac arrest cases in Europe and the US. According to the accounts, these patients were aware of what was going on around them while they were officially pronounced dead, before being brought back to the land of the living.
In this sense, the anecdotal research shows that those in the first phase of death may still experience some sort of awareness. The people whose hearts stopped and then restarted were able to provide accurate descriptions of what was going on around them.
In an account for LiveScience, Parnia said: "They'll describe watching doctors and nurses working; they'll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them."
Before you dismiss these accounts as a load of made-up BS, the medical staff involved in each incident have verified the details provided in each account
Now Parnia and his team are hard at work conducting the largest study of its kind, outlining that the important next steps are to focus on discovering more precise methods of observing the brain from beyond the threshold of death.
This could lead to a boost in the quality of resuscitation and perhaps even generate a more accurate comprehension of what happens to the human brain after we die.
He added: "In the same way that a group of researchers might be studying the qualitative nature of the human experience of 'love,' for instance, we're trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death, because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we're all going to have when we die."
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