UNITED STATES, September 15, 2023 (New York Post): It’s not a deathbed myth: Our lives really do flash before our eyes when we die, according to a new report from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “I remember seeing my dad,” said one patient after flatlining. “I caught glimpses of my life and felt pride, love, joy and sadness, all pouring into me,” recalled another after being pulled back from the brink. “I do remember a being of light … standing near me. It was looming over me like a great tower of strength, yet radiating only warmth and love,” a third survivor shared. These and many other haunting recollections were described by cardiac arrest patients who underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation as they hovered on death’s doorstep.

Typically, doctors have assumed there is little to no brain activity after about 10 minutes of cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating, depriving the brain of oxygen. However, the new research from NYU turns that misconception on its head. “There are signs of normal and near normal brain activity found up to an hour into resuscitation,” Dr. Sam Parnia, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, told The Post in a wide-ranging interview. Parnia is the lead author of a study published this week in the journal Resuscitation that studied brain activity and awareness among 53 patients who survived cardiac arrest at 25 hospitals, mostly in the US and UK. The researchers were able to show that the brain is surprisingly more durable than most doctors had previously believed. One of the most common shared experiences among people who have been revived following cardiac arrest is a 360-degree awareness of the space around them. In death, they have a perception that they are separate from their body,” Parnia said, “and then they can move around. But they’re in that [hospital] room and they’re gathering information. They felt that they were fully conscious.”

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