The existence of life after death has been debated for virtually all of human history. Rumors of an afterlife, of ghosts and hauntings, angels, demons, heaven and hell have been present in virtually all human cultures to varying degrees. In modern times, talk of near-death experiences has furthered the discussion of the potential for life after death. In most cases, though, discussion of life after death has been limited to the fields of theology, pseudoscience and/or religion. But not anymore. Now, one group of British scientists has performed a large-scale scientific study of over 2,000 people and have come to one inexplicable conclusion.
They determined that thoughts do carry on after clinical death.
Over the course of their research, the scientists also witnessed the “most convincing” evidence ever of an out-of-body experience reported by a patient that had been declared dead, reports Express UK.
It had been previously believed that the human brain’s activity ceased 30 seconds after the heart stops pumping. Likewise, it had been believed that when brain activity stopped, so did awareness.
A recent life-after-death study by the University of Southampton is changing that presumption. The scientific study determined that the human mind (if not brain) is still aware for up to three minutes following clinical death, also known as “cardiac death.”
Lead researcher of the life-after-death study, Dr. Sam Parnia, said that there are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes death. Namely, that death is a singular moment.
“Contrary to perception, death is not a specific moment but a potentially reversible process that occurs after any severe illness or accident causes the heart, lungs and brain to cease functioning.
“If attempts are made to reverse this process, it is referred to as ‘cardiac arrest’; however, if these attempts do not succeed it is called ‘death.'”
The British life-after-death study involved a total of 2,060 patients throughout three different countries; Austria, the U.K., and the U.S. These patients had all survived cardiac arrest, and upon being interviewed for the life-after-death research, it was discovered that roughly 40 percent had some sort of awareness after being determined to be clinically dead.
“This suggests more people may have mental activity initially but then lose their memories after recovery, either due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory recall.”
While about 40 percent of the patients interviewed in the life-after-death study reported at least “some” awareness after clinical death, only 2 percent said that they felt they’d had a true “out-of-body experience.” In an out-of-body experience, the person involved is completely aware and can also hear and see what is happening around them after being declared clinically death.
Notably, almost 50 percent of those interviewed said that their life-after-death experience didn’t involve full awareness, but rather only fear.
Perhaps the most significant discovery uncovered during the British life-after-death study was the case of a 57-year-old man who had what could be the first clinically recorded out-of-body experience in a patient.
The man in question was able to recollect the events going on around him after his temporary brush with clinical death. According to researchers, his account of his surroundings after his “death” was “eerily accurate.”
“This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating.
“In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat.”
According to researchers participating in the life-after-death study, the 57-year-old man’s case is completely at odds with current established science. The current understanding of death and dying indicates that the brain stops functioning roughly 20-30 seconds after the hear stops beating. When the brain does regain function (in cases of reversed cardiac arrest), it wasn’t previously believed that awareness could take place again until after the heart had been restarted.