Jul 21, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Brain Functions Several Minutes After Death, Heart Dies First

Mar 14, 2017 03:23 AM EDT

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It is going to take a while for the brain to cease functioning even if the body has died. Doctors at a Canadian intensive care unit accidentally stumbled on a patient that continues to experience brainwaves for about 10 minutes after his life support was cut. One out of four patients with their life support taken manifests prolonged brain activity, defying plausible explanation.

All four patients have no pulse, indicating that no blood is flowing in the veins. The patients show unreactive pupils as well. Under such circumstances, three of the patients' electro-cerebral or brain activity ceased even before their cardiac rhythm and arterial blood pressure/ABP were gone, Science Alert reported.

What surprised the doctors is the lone patient which manifested delta wave bursts in the brain for the next 10 minutes, said The Telegraph. This led to a theory that death experience can vary for each patient. The doctors explained that they checked the electroencephalographic measurements of all four patients for a 30-minute period before death and the 5-minute period following the ABP.

Meanwhile, scientists are reluctant to propose any conclusion since a single recorded case can't really provide a concrete explanation behind the post-death experience. Doctors admit that there is a call for deeper research for clearer medical and ethical implications after a circulatory determined death. To make the matter worse, doctors also imply that the brain scan done on patients might present some sort of mistake, mechanical or otherwise.

There are several studies that tried to point which part of the body shuts down last after a person dies. A research team decapitated a mouse in 2011 and discovered that the brain and circulatory organs have different time of death. The mouse manifested about a minute of brain activity after decapitation. But still, nothing is scientifically consistent if 1 to 10 minutes could be a duration border of death. In fact, there is another study that shows genes could still function even days after death.

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