Scientists Simulate Near-Death Experience in the Brain
Within the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest, there is a widespread, transient surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with a highly aroused brain.
What's the Latest Development?
Near-death experience, in which visions occur after clinical death takes place (defined by the loss of blood flow to the brain), is likely a result of normal brain function rather than evidence of an afterlife, say University of Michigan scientists who have simulated the condition in the brains of lab rats. "Within the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest, all of the rats displayed a widespread, transient surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with a highly aroused brain. They also displayed nearly identical patterns after undergoing asphyxiation."
What's the Big Idea?
The vividness of first-person human accounts of near-death experience is also explainable by the level of brain activity found in the experiment. "At near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death." The researchers conclude that near-death experience "represents a biological paradox that challenges our understanding of the brain and has been advocated as evidence for life after death and for a noncorporeal basis of human consciousness, based on the unsupported belief that the brain cannot possibly be the source of highly vivid and lucid conscious experiences during clinical death."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
What makes a life worth living as you grow older?
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
- The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
- Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
The world's largest retailer has evolved "like a flea market," according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
- The report found more than 4,000 listings for products deemed to be unsafe, banned or mislabelled.
- These products included mislabelled pain relievers, dangerous children's toys, and helmets that had failed federal safety tests.
- There are some steps you can take to avoid buying unsafe or counterfeit products from Amazon.