Science & Technology
Brain scan captures last thoughts of a person as they died
February 23, 2022 | 10 comments
What is the last thing a person thinks of when they die ? Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Mason
The groundbreaking study saw researchers record the brain activity of a patient dying of a heart attack.
University of Tartu neuroscientist Raul Vicente and colleagues had been using an electroencephalography (EEG) device to capture the brain activity of an 87-year-old epilepsy sufferer when the patient unexpectedly had a heart attack and died in the middle of the study.
As a result, the EEG captured 900 seconds of their brain activity as they died, providing the researchers with a unique glimpse of what goes on in the brain at the time of death.
The findings indicated that, during the last few moments of life, there was an increase in gamma oscillations indicative of dreaming or memory retrieval, as well as delta, theta, alpha and beta oscillations.
"Given that cross-coupling between alpha and gamma activity is involved in cognitive processes and memory recall in healthy subjects, it is intriguing to speculate that such activity could support a last 'recall of life' that may take place in the near-death state," the researchers wrote.
While the findings are far from conclusive, they do paint a potentially positive picture of a person's last moments.
"Something we may learn from this research is: although our loved ones have their eyes closed and are ready to leave us to rest, their brains may be replaying some of the nicest moments they experienced in their lives," said study co-author Ajmal Zemmar.
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