Many people claim to see a bright light at the end of a tunnel on their deathbeds. Those of us with religious beliefs see this as the light of heaven; but researchers have discovered new evidence that proves otherwise, claiming these visions may be caused by Electrical surges in the brain.
When blood stops flowing to the brain, the brain ceases to function, causing a "clinical death"...or so they thought. Because of this assumption, it's fair to say that little-to-no research has been done into the brain at the time of death. That is until Jimo Borjigin, a molecular neurologist at the University of Michigan, her husband Michael Wang, and a team of researchers gave it a go.
Studies began six years ago, as they analysed changes in brain activities of animals that had suffered strokes. As some of these test subjects died, the scientists discovered that certain neural chemicals increased greatly while these animals were dying. Keen to find out exactly what this was, the team conducted further experiments, which have been published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In these tests, EEG (Electroencephalography) brain scans were taken of rats in three states: awake & healthy, under anaesthesia, and while experiencing cardiac arrest. Co-inciding with their previous discovery, the team found that gamma waves in the brain (high frequencies that carry more information) drastically increased in the near death experience. So much so, infact that they were twice as high as when the rats were awake, causing them to be in a state of what Borjigin has dubbed “hyper-consciousness.”
This increase in information processing to more than 5x a healthy rat mean that anything they felt would have seemed "hyper-real," which alongside a huge increase in brain waves which control internal visualisation, paints a pretty clear picture of the light at the end of the tunnel.
What happens to you when you die? Looks like scientists just took a step closer to answering that question. That said, I'm definitely not volunteering for human testing.
If you want to read more about the research, you can do so here.