A recent study posted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science provides early evidence of a surge of activity associated with consciousness in the dying brain.
The study was led by Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D., which determined four patients who died from cardiac arrest in the hospital while under EEG monitoring. After removing the ventilator support, two patients experienced a surge of gamma wave activity (the fastest type of brain activity associated with consciousness) and increased heart rate. The researchers detected this activity in the so-called hot zone of neural correlates of consciousness in the brain, an area associated with dreaming, visual hallucinations in epilepsy, and altered states of consciousness in other brain studies.
The authors caution against making any global statements about the implications of the findings due to the small sample size and the fact that it is impossible to know what the patients experienced.
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