findings suggest that it could be possible to reboot the brain for
as long as three to five minutes after a human heart stops beating
or ceases to show signs of life.
study, which was carried out by a team of neurologists including
some from the Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, followed nine
patients with devastating brain injuries who had Do Not Resuscitate
analysing electrical signals in their brains as they died, the
researchers hoped to find new information about the timeline of
dying - and they have.
the use of electrodes planted in the brains of the patients, the
neurologists discovered that even after the heart stops beating,
cells and neurons in the brain continue to function.
it isn’t until the “spreading depression” that these neurons cease
activity - minutes after the heart has stopped pumping blood and
oxygen through the body.
to researchers, the debate for when death is truly final is still up
for debate, as Dr Jed Hartings of the University of Cincinnati’s
College of Medicine and a member of the research team toldNewsweek:
“The chemical changes that lead to death begin with depolarization.
never had a method to diagnose brain death, and we don’t have a way
to be certain when all capacity for awareness is lost.”
the new research is important because it can be used to determine
how long it is possible to resuscitate before irreversible damage
has been done to the brain.
findings could also influence “treatment strategies of cardiac
arrest and stroke that may complement efforts to reestablish
circulation, but also the debate on organ donation after
cardiocirculatory death, where death is declared between two and 10
minutes following the cessation of circulatory function,” according
to the published findings in the journalAnnals
of now, scientists believe that if circulation resumes even after
five minutes, the person could partially recover. ,