My opinion: Though the article doesn't mention it, I believe this study is potentially highly controversial as it conflicts with religion. The researchers should have included survivors of other ailments, and not just cardiac arrest. For example, many of the people who have died and shortly thereafter brought back to life report seeing visions and feeling levitated. It is these people who may have offered more valuable insight to the researchers, although they may be more difficult to find. I agree that the brain probably increases it's activity in a last attempt to revive itself. When we spray flies with poisonous spray, they typically zoom about in quick, random motions. It's possible that the same could be said of us. Also, regarding the feelings of levitation, this is actually very common right before we go to sleep. Perhaps it is the same thing right before the body suspects we are dying. More research is definitely needed to determine what kinds of things the brain is doing, and does it match what these so-called "death survivors" claim. Feel free to comment.
Electrical signatures of consciousness in the dying brain
A University of Michigan animal study shows high electrical activity in the brain after clinical death
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The "near-death experience" reported by cardiac arrest survivors worldwide may be grounded in science, according to research at the University of Michigan Health System.
University of Michigan researchers George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., and Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D., provide the first scientific framework for near-death experiences.
But in this week’s PNAS Early Edition, a U-M study shows shortly after clinical death, in which the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain, rats display brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception.
“This study, performed in animals, is the first dealing with what happens to the neurophysiological state of the dying brain,” says lead study author Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology and associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School.
“It will form the foundation for future human studies investigating mental experiences occurring in the dying brain, including seeing light during cardiac arrest,” she says.
Approximately 20 percent of cardiac arrest survivors report having had a near-death experience. These visions and perceptions have been called “realer than real,” according to previous research, but it remains unclear whether the brain is capable of such activity after cardiac arrest.