The question of what happens after we die has troubled humankind for millennia, with the main problem being that anyone who knows the answer is, well, no longer with us. However,  the “after-death” experiences of people who have technically died and then been brought back to life via resuscitation may hold at least some part of the puzzle.

In the field of resuscitation medicine, there have been reports of incidents of the consciousness remaining for a number of hours even after brainwaves have flat-lined. Sam Parnier, a specialist in resuscitation medicine and researcher of “after-death experiences”, describes the phenomenon in his new publication Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death.

Resuscitation medicine uses cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a treatment to restart a heart that has stopped beating. It first came into use in the mid 20th century, and is now a well-known emergency procedure, responsible for many a tense scene in daytime television. At first, CPR was only effective for a few minutes after the heart had stopped, but with medical advances that time frame has widened to more than 30 minutes.

Along with the development of new techniques, the gray area between life and death has become ever grayer. Every now and then there are reports from people who have been resuscitated of experiences that seem to contradict how we have traditionally thought of these boundaries. For example, reports of hearing and seeing their surroundings, even when brain activity has technically ceased.

While it’s hard to know whether or not these memories are accurate, or indeed if all brain activity had truly stopped entirely, what we can say is that it’s a phenomenon as yet unexplained by modern neurology.

“What is clear at present is that human consciousness is not simply extinguished,” says Parnier. “Consciousness continues for hours even after “death” occurs, albeit akin to a form of hibernation that is undetectable from the outside.”

It’s not quite proof of life after death, but scientific research into this strange phenomenon could leave the very terms “life” and “death” in need of revision.

Source: Sankei News via Himasoku