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What happens to your brain in the last minutes before you die

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Even after death the human brain continues to function for about five minutes – meaning that a person could potentially be brought back to life
Scientists believe they may be one step closer to unravelling one of the great mysteries which has baffled mankind for hundreds of years.
Researchers have built up a complicated picture of what happens inside the human brain when you die.
They have revealed that even after death the human brain continues to function for about five minutes – meaning that a person could potentially be brought back to life.
But that after this time has elapsed a “spreading depression” silences the electrical activity in your brain causing it to shut down – making resuscitation impossible.
Scientists made the discovery after examining nine patients with ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.
The team of neurologists monitored electrical signals in the brains of of nine people as they died.
Cells begin to die when blood stops flowing to them.
Following this, they draw on reserve energy supplies, which is why experts believe that they can continue to function for a relatively long time after the heart has stopped beating.
But this leads to a breakdown of the barriers between ions in the brain – known as spreading depolarisation or spreading depression.
It sends neurons into a period of extremely high energy, which is followed by a sudden and permanent silence.
However, this silence only marks the final countdown to death and may be reversed for a period, researchers found.
Lead author of the research published in the Annals of Neurology, Dr Jens Dreier, of Universitätsmedizin Berlin, said: “After circulatory arrest, spreading depolarisation marks the loss of stored electrochemical energy in brain cells and the onset of toxic processes that eventually lead to death.
“Importantly, it is reversible – up to a point – when the circulation is restored”.
But before you start worrying about what the ethics of this could mean Dr Dreier is keen to stress that the discover has “direct implications for patient care today”.
Although he does hope it may help treat and diagnose slow working brain conditions.
He told Newsweek : “Particular challenges include the slowness of this wave that hampers its visibility in normal EEG recordings; however, this discovery may lead to improved diagnostic and treatment procedures in the future, following Max Planck’s motto that ‘insight must precede application’.”
The results could also imply that consciousness continues for a few minutes after death.

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