| Last updated
Featured image credit: Getty
What did/do Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Charles Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Javier Bardem and Nigella Lawson all have in common? A staunch non-belief in an after-life.
They think, as do many other people across the globe, the concept of consciousness without the brain is ludicrous.
But as it happens, experts have claimed to have found a confirmation of life after death. Kinda.
British scientists studied more than 2,000 people and discovered out of body experiences occur insofar as human thought carrying on after death from an encounter with a deceased patient.
Scientists have previously believed human beings become brain-dead and lose awareness 30 seconds after the heart stops beating.
A study undertaken at the University of Southampton suggests a more hopeful fate, where people continue to experience awareness for up to three minutes after dying.
Chief researcher Dr Sam 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.
"If attempts are made to reverse this process, it is referred to as 'cardiac arrest'; however, if these attempts do not succeed it is called 'death'."
40% percent of patients in the study who had survived heart attacks said they remember some type of awareness after being pronounced clinically dead.
Dr Parnia added: "This suggests more people may have mental activity initially but then lose their memories after recovery, either due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory recall."
Around half of the people studied said their experience was more out of fear than general awareness.
Just two percent of patients described their experience as being consistent with the feeling of an out-of-body experience - the sensation where one feels almost completely aware of their surroundings after death.
Around half of the study's respondents said their experience was not one of awareness, but fear.
So yeah - it's a bit of a pedantic discovery. Three minutes? That's hardly enough time to have a beer with Elvis or chew the fat with Harambe.
Words by Josh Teal
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read