The Brain Is Aware Of Your Death When You Pass Away

In case you are unaware, a rather unsettling study conducted in 2014 proposed that we become aware of our demise upon death.

The team of researchers examined individuals who had undergone near-death episodes as a result of cardiac arrest. Here are the results of their investigation.

When We Die, We Know That We Are Dead

For an extended period, medical professionals were uncertain whether the brain persisted in its operation subsequent to our passing. Nevertheless, they uncovered that our awareness endures for a brief period following our official death. Consequently, when we die, we are conscious of it.

In medical terms, death occurs when the heart ceases to beat, causing blood flow to the brain to cease. Shortly thereafter, the brain undergoes cell death.

Previously, scientists believed that when the heart stopped, so did the brain. However, through the study of individuals who have undergone near-death experiences (NDEs), they now understand that brain function continues for a period after the heart stops.

The Study

The "AWARE" study, led by Dr. Sam Parnia and his team at New York University Langone School of Medicine, challenged the notion that the brain ceases to function when the heart stops.

The team was intrigued by accounts from patients who were revived after being declared dead following cardiac arrest.

Apart from typical experiences such as seeing a light or deceased loved ones, numerous patients reported seeing or hearing things that they should not have been able to.

Some of these accounts include:

Observing medical professionals working.

Being fully cognizant of the conversations taking place around them.

Perceiving visual events occurring around them that they would not otherwise be aware of.

The medical personnel present in the room confirmed all the things that the patients claimed to have seen and heard. Dr. Parnia stated that after the heart stops beating, brain waves (i.e., brain function) also cease, leading to biological death.

The persistence of consciousness, as reported by many patients, remains inexplicable.

"We can't explain consciousness occurring during cardiac arrest," says Dr. Parnia. "What happens at cardiac arrest is you have no blood flow into your brain, and your brain shuts down immediately."

Brain Activity After Death

The investigation carried out by Dr. Parnia and his team is not the only instance of brain activity and consciousness being detected after medical death.

In March 2017, doctors in the intensive care unit of a Canadian hospital discovered that one patient had brain activity for ten minutes following their official declaration of death. The brain waves recorded were akin to those observed during deep sleep.

Other patients also exhibited this phenomenon, albeit for shorter durations. Evidently, the experience of consciousness after death is an idiosyncratic one and differs from person to person.

Still Trying To Uncover The Unknowns

The research team is continuing their investigation to gain a better understanding of this phenomenon. They are examining how the brain responds during cardiac arrest to determine the extent to which these experiences are linked to brain activity.

"We also study the human mind and consciousness in the context of death, to understand whether consciousness becomes annihilated or whether it continues after you've died for some period of time — and how that relates to what's happening inside the brain in real time," said Dr. Parnia.

Dr. Parnia notes that among those who undergo an NDE and recount a conscious death experience, only 2% experience complete awareness. Nonetheless, 46% describe memories that are clustered around a few recurring themes.



Bright light




Recollecting incidents that occurred prior to their resuscitation.

Approximately 9% report the sensation of floating above their body towards a light while feeling tethered to a cord.

Undoubtedly, further research is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of what happens after we pass away. It is probable that we will never fully comprehend it until we experience it ourselves.