Scientists have been trying to decipher the question: what happens in a person’s mind at the time of death for decades. Of course, the dying cannot describe the last moments of their lives. Respectively, they can’t leave us a message. Researchers need to rely on other sources of information based on technology, such as EEG testing. A unique experiment at Vancouver Hospital suggests that death will show our lives before our eyes.

Death Records

An international team of doctors had an unexpected opportunity to examine the dying man’s brain. They thoroughly reviewed the record of the electroencephalographic examination of an 87-year-old patient who had epilepsy. Due to his illness, the man was undergoing an EEG examination just as he suffered a heart attack and died. Doctors from Vancouver Hospital thus received a unique continuous record of his brain’s activity.

By Baburov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

According to Ajmal Zemmar, co-author of a study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, doctors noticed changes in a specific range of nerve gamma oscillations just before and after a patient’s heart stopped working. Specifically, these were changes in alpha and gamma waves. According to scientists, these waves are closely related to memories, dreaming, meditation, information processing, and conscious perception – in other words, retrospection.

Patient’s Retrospection

However, the study of brain activity at the time of death may be of limited value.—the data is based on one patient who had a severe epileptic seizure with possible organ damage. Nevertheless, the researchers believe that their conclusions are plausible.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The Vancouver team’s new study is not the first in the world to claim that the dying will see a retrospective of life at the time of death. Five years ago, for example, Israeli scientists came up with the same statement. However, they based their findings on interviews with people who described the experience from the moment they almost died.

Tests on the brains of dying rats showed similar oscillations. In the end, their study was received very lukewarmly by the scientific community. This field needs even more research to find out what is really going on with our minds as we die.

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