Study Finds We May “Relive Happy Memories” As We Die

Death is something that’s inescapable. We all die at one point or another, but there’s still so much mystery surrounding death.

While the idea of death is scary to many people, a new study might suggest there may be some peace in our brains as we leave life.

Photo: Unsplash/Harry cao

According to the New York Post, Dr. Patrick Steele, a palliative care specialist at Victoria’s Palliative Care South East, explained:

“Dying is an experience unique to the individual and their loved ones. There is much more than the physiological changes that contribute to the dying experience. For example, a person’s personality, their burden of disease, the support of family and friends, the length of time with a terminal illness and their spirituality.”

While each person’s experience is different, there are certain physiological changes that are shared across the board during death.

Photo: Unsplash/Matt Bennett

Dr. Steele added that regular breathing patterns can change in the dying process, and sometimes that includes becoming noisy. He said, “This is a build up of the body/s waste products/secretions. It often is more distressing to those listening than the individual who is dying.”

In fact, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that the brain may stay active during the process of dying and possibly even moments after death.

Photo: flickr/Niall Williams

In the study, titled “Enhanced Interplay of Neuronal Coherence and Coupling in the Dying Human Brain,” researchers conducted continuous EEG monitoring on a patient who had developed epilepsy and when the patient had a heart attack and died.

Thanks to the monitoring, doctors were able to chart the activity of the human brain during death, and what they discovered is that the brain produced activity similar to that of someone dreaming or meditating.

Photo: Unsplash/Jake Thacker

In a Frontiers News release, study organizer Dr. Ajmal Zemmar said their findings could suggest the idea that our lives “flash before our eyes as we die” has some validity to it.

He said:

“As a neurosurgeon, I deal with loss at times. It is indescribably difficult to deliver the news of death to distraught family members. 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.”

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