Wednesday 30 January 2019

ARE YOU DEAD WHEN YOUR         HEART STOPS?

A person’s hearing is thought to be the last sense to go in the dying process, so never assume the person is unable to hear you. Talk as if they can hear you, even if they appear to be unconscious.

Persons who were decapitated have been seen immediately after their heads were cut off to actually move their lips as if trying to speak. Imagine the lips saying, “Read my lips you asshole.”

Young children who have drowned in freezing water have regain full consciousness soon after they were rescued.

Bone, tendon, and skin can survive as long as 8 to 12 hours. The brain, however, appears to accumulate ischemic injury faster than any other organ. Without special treatment after circulation is restarted, full recovery of the brain after more than 3 minutes of clinical death at normal body temperature is rare.                                                      
According to new research, people can be aware that they are physically dead after their heart has stopped beating. This suggests that the brain and consciousness seems to work even after the body has stopped working. Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, and his team looked at people who had cardiac arrest and then were successfully resuscitated back to life.


The team looked at near-death-experiences of 2060 patients included in the study. Of these, 330 individuals had survived a resuscitation effort. Among these 140 patients could complete a questionnaire that shed light on what happens when the heart has stopped functioning and the brain still works. Much of these reports of near death experiences of seeing flashes of light and tunnels of light etc. were mostly anecdotal in nature. This is the first and largest study that shows exactly what happens during this critical time despite a large proportion of patients who are being successfully revived due to advances in medicine.    

The study is called AWARE that dealt with awareness during resuscitation which reveals that patients having these near-death-experiences may even hear their own deaths being declared by doctors.

The researchers asked and analyzed several questions regarding the true mental experiences of these patients and managed to distinguish them from the hallucinations that could be commonly appeared among these patients. The 140 surviving patients completed the interviews and recalled the events occurring during their near-death-experiences.

Results showed that 39 percent of the patients had some form of awareness before their resuscitation could begin and after their hearts had stopped beating. Several patients recalled feeling either peaceful or fearful such as being dragged under water.

One third of the patients reported exaggerated slowing or speeding up of time. Bright lights and illusions were also reported by the patients. Memories of the time seem to fade away quickly. A substantial number of individuals reported having full awareness of what was happening around them, the resuscitation efforts and the conversations. The details they revealed could be matched to the doctors and nurses who were part of the resuscitation team.

 Dr. Sam Parnia said that death is defined as the time when the heart has stopped beating. The blood from the heart then fails to reach the brain to sustain it. This means all the reflexes at the base of the brain including “gag reflex” or “pupil reflex in the eyes” are all lost almost instantaneously. But this study reveals that brain energy may not be completely depleted.

The cerebral cortex of the brain that is responsible for thinking and processing the information from the five senses, also shows no activity within 2 and 20 seconds of the heart stopping. No brain waves can thus be detected there. This starts the slow death of the brain cells. However the actual time to complete brain death may take hours after the heart has stopped.

If the entire brain stops functioning, it means that everything stops, including all the parts pf your brain that keep you functional, like your heart beat and your breathing.

If the cortex of your brain is not functioning, you will  get stuck in a vegetative state since the only thing left are the older/basic structures that concern themselves with bodily functions. So you would probably keep breathing, your heart would continue to keep  beating, digestions would continue. However, the lights are out. You won’t hear anything, taste anything, smell anything or be aware of anything or even be thinking or moving. Those abilities were all in the cortex which is no longer functioning.  It is pointless to keep living in a vegetative state.

In 1972, I was invited to give a speech to doctors and nurses in the Toronto General Hospital about euthanasia. Before I gave my speech, I was taken to a small room were a six-year-old boy was in a large crib. I was told that when he was born, it was discovered that he couldn’t move his limbs, hear, see, or feel anything and yet, when they fed him via a tube, he smiled when certain liquids were given to him. That means that his ability to taste was functioning. He could breath and his heart was beating and his bodily functions were active. He would be fifty-one years old today if he wasn’t euthanized which may have been a merciful  thing to do for him if he was given that way to escape the boredom he was enduring all those years.  

In the moments before death, the heart plays a central role.  As the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing, the rest of the body slowly shuts down. But new research suggests this view may be wrong. 

Scientists studied the heart and brain activity of rats in the moments before the animals died from lack of oxygen, and found that the animals' brains sent a flurry of signals to the heart that caused irrevocable damage to the organ, and in fact caused its demise. When the researchers blocked these signals, the heart survived for a longer period.

If a similar process occurs in humans, then it might be possible to help people survive after their hearts stop by cutting off this storm of signals from the brain, according to the study published today (April 6, 2015) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"People naturally focus on the heart, thinking that if you save the heart, you'll save the brain," said study co-author Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. But her team found something surprising. "You have to sever the chemical communication between the brain and heart in order to save the heart," Borjigin told Live Science, adding that the finding is "contrary to almost all emergency medical practice."    

Every year, more than 400,000 Americans experience cardiac arrest — which is when the heart stops beating. Even with medical treatment, only about 10 percent survive and are discharged from the hospital, according to the American Heart Association.

If the doctors can open the chest and sever the chemical communication between the brain and heart in time, the lives of heart attack victims can be saved. Of course if the victim’s hearts fail and are not beating very soon after and they are not in a hospital,   there  will be no way their lives can be saved in time. 

Naturally there is no such thing as a broken heart. Hearts don’t break, they fail.      

No comments: