Your body may be dead—but your mind is still active. And it can actually recognize the fact that you’ve, well, expired, according to new research from Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at New York’s NYU Langone School of Medicine, and his team.
Parnia specializes in critical care and his research centers on patients who have died but then been resuscitated. As he explains to the Independent, his claim about a sort-of life after death is based on a critical metric: the very meaning of death itself. That’s defined by cardiac arrest, or when the heart stops.
The brain may still be working during this period even though it’s no longer getting its critical life blood from the heart. Some manner of impulses may continue to swirl after you die, according to Parnia and other researchers. The spooky part is that some patients may literally hear—and comprehend—doctors’ conversations about them technically dying before being resuscitated.