Doctors Get EEG Recording As Man Dies

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Aug 9, 2001
THE first ever recording of a dying brain has revealed we might relive some of our best memories in our last moments.

Scientists accidentally captured our most complex organ as it shut down, showing an astonishing snapshot into death.

A patient was being treated for epilepsy, hooked up to an electroencephalogram (EEG).

The 87-year-old man's brain activity was being measured when he suddenly had a heart attack and died.

This meant the 15 minutes around his death was recorded on the EEG.

In the 30 seconds either side of the patient's final heartbeat, an increase in very specific brain waves were spotted.

These waves, known as gamma oscillations, are linked to things like memory retrieval, meditation and dreaming.

This could mean - although many more studies would need to take place - we might see a sort of film reel of our best memories as we die.

The parts of the brain that were activated in this study also suggests we could enter a peaceful dreamlike state that feels similar to meditation.

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maximus otter
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Here are the bibliographic details and abstract from the published report on this EEG experiment. The full report is accessible at the link below.

Vicente Raul, Rizzuto Michael, Sarica Can, Yamamoto Kazuaki, Sadr Mohammed, Khajuria Tarun, Fatehi Mostafa, Moien-Afshari Farzad, Haw Charles S., Llinas Rodolfo R., Lozano Andres M., Neimat Joseph S., Zemmar Ajmal
Enhanced Interplay of Neuronal Coherence and Coupling in the Dying Human Brain
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Vol. 14, 2022.
DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.813531

The neurophysiological footprint of brain activity after cardiac arrest and during near-death experience (NDE) is not well understood. Although a hypoactive state of brain activity has been assumed, experimental animal studies have shown increased activity after cardiac arrest, particularly in the gamma-band, resulting from hypercapnia prior to and cessation of cerebral blood flow after cardiac arrest. No study has yet investigated this matter in humans. Here, we present continuous electroencephalography (EEG) recording from a dying human brain, obtained from an 87-year-old patient undergoing cardiac arrest after traumatic subdural hematoma. An increase of absolute power in gamma activity in the narrow and broad bands and a decrease in theta power is seen after suppression of bilateral hemispheric responses. After cardiac arrest, delta, beta, alpha and gamma power were decreased but a higher percentage of relative gamma power was observed when compared to the interictal interval. Cross-frequency coupling revealed modulation of left-hemispheric gamma activity by alpha and theta rhythms across all windows, even after cessation of cerebral blood flow. The strongest coupling is observed for narrow- and broad-band gamma activity by the alpha waves during left-sided suppression and after cardiac arrest. Albeit the influence of neuronal injury and swelling, our data provide the first evidence from the dying human brain in a non-experimental, real-life acute care clinical setting and advocate that the human brain may possess the capability to generate coordinated activity during the near-death period.


Doctors Were Able to Study a Man's Brain Activity as He Died​

"He was then given an electroencephalography (EEG), which measures the brain’s electrical activity. The EEG did confirm his ongoing seizures, but midway through, the man’s heart stopped beating and he went into cardiac arrest. In accordance with his family’s wishes and the patient’s Do-Not-Resuscitate status, the doctors did not attempt any further treatment and the man soon passed away. Because the EEG machine kept running through the man’s last minutes of life, though, the doctors had a unique set of data on their hands."
Ah, death, blessed death, at last! My life has been one, long pain!

Now, here comes the Action Replay in slow motion . . . :headbang:

They do say your life flashes before your eyes at point of death, so presumably that includes... your death?
They do say your life flashes before your eyes at point of death, so presumably that includes... your death?
I once read a short story - can't remember the title or author - about the last moments of a suicide. The repetitive ending suggested that he was going to feel the bullet entering his brain for the rest of eternity. Ugh.
Mine will just be endless replays throughout the years of me saying "Oh, for f***s sake".
A few minutes for the doctors but how did he perceive them? In slow motion as James Whitehead said?

Reminds me of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse five: “Billy Pilgrim came unstuck in time.”