Doctors in a Canadian intensive care unit recently stumbled upon a very strange case. After ‘disabling’ four terminally ill patients, one showed persistent brain activity for up to ten minutes after being declared clinically dead.
The researchers do not explain it. At least not yet. Ten minutes after disabling four terminally ill patients, one of them did indeed appear to produce the same type of brainwaves (bursts of delta waves) which are generally observed in a state of deep sleep. These are waves of very low amplitude of the order of a microvolt.
» In one patient, bursts of single delta waves persisted after cessation of both heart rate and blood pressure (ABP) », Explains in a report the team of doctors from the University of Western Ontario, in Canada.
In the absence of any biological explanation that could explain why brain activity could continue for several minutes after the heart has stopped beating, the researchers say the scan could be the result of an error at the time of recording. . Only the hardware then showed no signs of malfunctioning, meaning the source of the anomaly cannot be confirmed biologically or otherwise at this time.
You can see the brain scans of the four terminal patients below showing the time of clinical death at time 0 (see a larger version here):
As you can see, brain activity (in yellow) ceased in three of the four patients (1,2 and 3). This activity disappeared even before the heart stopped beating, up to 10 minutes before clinical death in the case of patient #2. But for some reason, patient #4 shows signs of bursts of delta waves, minute, yes, but up to 10 minutes and 38 seconds after the heart had stopped beating.
The post-mortem experience is definitely full of surprises and mysteries. For the moment, the doctors are a little distraught. But we know that strange things can happen at the time of death. In 2016, several studies had indeed found that more than 1000 genes were still functioning several days after death in humans.