Doctors may have discovered that life actually continues after death. Doctors in a Canadian intensive care unit report that after turning life support off for a clinically dead patient, the patient’s brain continued to show persistent brain activity.
For 10 minutes and 38 seconds, the doctors say the patient experienced the same kind of brain waves we get during deep sleep. Even more weird is that when the doctors turned life support off for an additional three patients, each of those patient’s EEG recordings before and after death was very different from one another — meaning it’s possible we all experience death differently. Creepy. (Or comforting, depending on your point of view.)
Intriguing though this is, it’s hard to say what this actually means. The doctors, who recently published their findings in The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, caution that they have no idea what this means for our post-death life, especially because they’re looking at a sample size of one. They also speculated that the scan of the patient who “lived” as it were could be due to a mechanical error of some kind, though they admitted they have no idea what kind of error.
We actually don’t know that much about what happens after death.
This comes on the heels of a 2016 study that suggests more than 1,000 genes can still function in cadavers days after the person has been declared dead. In previous studies, researchers have also noticed that rats’ brains sometimes experienced “death waves” — or a burst of brain activity — for up to a minute after being decapitated. However, researchers have not seen that phenomenon in humans.
The only thing this experience shows us is that we actually don’t know that much about what happens after death.