Much of life remains mysterious to even the greatest scientific minds, but what happens at the point of death is also shrouded in mystery. As you’d expect, researching the effects of termination on a person is fraught with difficulties, both practical and ethical, but a new study, published in the Annals of Neurology, provides some fascinating insights into the neurobiology of dying.
Not only do animal and human brains perish in a similar fashion, but there’s a noticeable period wherein restoring brain function is, hypothetically, possible. This reminds us that the ultimate aim of such work isn’t merely to peer into the final moments of a person’s life, but to understand how to save them from death at the very last moment.
This pioneering, first-of-its-kind study, by scientists working at Charité – Berlin University of Medicine and the University of Cincinnati, assessed patients who had suffered from “devastating brain injury” through various means, including horrific traffic accidents, strokes, and cardiac arrests. This resulted in the activation of a Do Not Resuscitate-Comfort Care order, followed by the withdrawal of any mechanical breathing apparatus.