Thousands of people have shared accounts of how they have seen a white light at the brink of death, of seeing doctors fight to save their lives and even hearing themselves declared dead. As it turns out, these stories have a significant dose of truth to them.
A team of scientists from the medical department at New York University have studied this phenomenon. They have conducted studies in the US and Europe with patients who had survived cardiac arrest.
Dr. Sam Parnia told Live Science that their observations showed quite similar results. Individuals who have been on the very threshold of death share that they had heard the conversations between the doctors trying to revive them.
Some had heard the announcement of their death, others say they floated above their own bodies and looked down at the doctors, while still others spoke of the light at the end of the tunnel.
For doctors this is proof that the death of our brain cells can take hours. Even after the heart stops beating and ceases blood flow to the brain, apparently our consciousness continues to function.
The cerebral cortex, responsible for thinking and the processing of information obtained from the 5 senses, also continues functioning after the patient has been proclaimed dead.
The death of brain cells is caused by a chain reaction that can last several seconds or continue for hours.