A few days ago, the mainstream media carried the news that group of scientists found that people’s consciousness can continue to function for up to 3 minutes after death. In other words, in some cases people are aware of what is happening around them several seconds after death, and this conclusion has been drawn by studying many cases in which resuscitated people are able to remember. of what happened to them during “their transit to death.” However, the actual results obtained in this study are somewhat different.
The concept of what the death it is not as simple as it may seem. there is the clinical death, In which the heart and lungs stop functioning, and the real death, In which damage to vital organs (and in particular the brain) makes recovery impossible and triggers the onset of degradation of all cells in the body.
This means that what we often call “death” is in fact a reversible processAnd it is for reasons which have nothing to do with mysterious forces acting from the beyond but for factors perfectly accessible by science. This is why a team of researchers from the University of Southhampton set out to find out what happens to our consciousness in this gap between clinical and actual death, and have come to the conclusion that in most cases it may continue to work when the heart has stopped beating.
The article they wrote was made public almost a year ago in Resuscitation magazine.
What did the study consist of?
The team of researchers studied 2,600 patient cases from 15 hospitals in the UK, Australia and the US to investigate different cases of near-death experiences. The results showed that 39% of patients able to undergo structured interviews said they retained a sense of awareness in clinical death, even if he cannot remember specific things.
In contrast, 2% of these patients they claimed to remember specific aspects of what was going on around them during clinical death, Or describes experiences of seeing things from a different perspective than their body placement (Out of Body Experiences).
Real or hallucination?
The out-of-body experiences and the sensations of visual perception in the experiences on the verge of death are attributed to hallucinations from the scientific community, and of course, it’s unclear whether people who claim to have maintained some sort of consciousness are lying or talking about the deception of having experienced hallucinations.
The fact that many do not remember specific aspects of what happened to them on the verge of death it may mean that this deceptive feeling is a product of their healing after cardiac arrest and that consequently their memory failed to fill an “empty” space of consciousness, but it could also be because they were aware of a lot of things that were happening but the concrete memories disappeared as a result of medication or organic processes related to recovery.
A contrasting case of conscience after clinical death
however, in at least one of the cases, it was possible to verify that their concrete memories correspond to what happened in reality. In this study, there is a validated case of a patient who keeps consciousness connected to the outside, as it was tested with sound stimuli after cardiac arrest and therefore it was possible to compare these objective markers with the information that ‘he gave.
This is remarkable, because consciousness is considered to be disconnected from reality before or just after the heart has stopped, and yet in this case this standard has not been met, as it is an example of conscious experience. not based on hallucinations.
The results of this study they don’t tell us anything about the hereafter or on a different plane of existence. That some people remain conscious after clinical death does not mean that life has been demonstrated after death or that consciousness is independent of what is going on in our body.
It just tells us that the brain and other vital organs work at different times in near-death experiences, and that after cardiac arrest, our perception of reality may continue to function at least in part. Which, well thought out, is not a very good idea.
- Parnia S et al. (2014). AWARE – AWAreness during resuscitation: a prospective study. Resuscitation, 85 (12), pages 1799 to 18005.