David Collett

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Can you make a memory if your dead ?

Working in hospitals sadly some of our patients suffer cardiac arrests and pass away, others we manage to resuscitate.

Often people that we save tell us that they have glimpses of the other side or in fact they saw nothing at all. either way who knows if they are right ?

I would like to know / debate when in a situation like a cardiac arrest is it possible for your brain to create and store memories or is the inadequate blood flow and the primary brain function to restart the heart too much ?

so in a nut shell if people died and did see the other side (if there is one) could they possibly remember it ??

  • Timo X

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    Jun 16 2012: An interesting question. My initial reaction was: no, don't be silly. But then I thought about it a bit longer. The chemical and electrical processes that happen when a person is dying may leave a lasting impression in the brain. This can affect the memory if one survives after all, and it may even (although the chance is impossibly small) create a working memory.

    However, as you may have guessed from my reasoning, I don't believe that there's 'another side' and that this would be something people can remember when they've been dead. And near death hallucinations occur when people are still alive, so they don't count.
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    Jun 20 2012: It's probably like if you hold your breath. It doesn't feel right, but you can operate for a while under these conditions.
  • M D

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    Jun 14 2012: Sounds like you need a research grant, not an online forum to answer this one I'm afraid. I can however offer some sceptisism over these "light in the end of the tunnel" glimpses as dreams or halucinations can often be related to one's surroundings/situation at the time, ie. being on the verge of death, and dreams and halucinations are by nature very abstract and otherworldly.
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      Jul 12 2012: M D,
      One of the most facinating concepts I learned in one of my courses was that the final moments of a person's life can take on the dimension of eternity. Apparently we go facinated into that long good night by the flood of memories and experiences that are spontaneously released. I hope so.
  • Jun 14 2012: David,

    I think NDE seem to show evidence that this is the case. It would be interesting to hear some more of your experiences with these patients. Do they tell a similar story? In what respect are the similar? Do they change their way of looking at life afterwards? Do they see a "review" of their life?
    I think people can and do have memories of the "other side"

    What do you think?
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    Jun 13 2012: I don't have a lot of information on this, but depending on how much vision they posses during an attack would it be possible to hold a number over them whilst being resuscitated and see if they can remember the number afterwards, or have someone repeat a short phrase over and over during resuscitation and see if they can remember it, though most likely a I predict not and what they see is just a mental conjuration if they see anything at all.
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    Jun 26 2012: No. If they're having any type of conscious experience then they are not dead. That's why all these experiences are called "near" death. No one comes back from the dead. Even in the case of heart failure, that doesn't equal dead. Dead people don't have brains capable of forming new neuronal connections.
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      Jul 12 2012: Vida Bee, wonderful response. I think then, that we really need to define dead. Most of us were assuming it is a process, i think.
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        Jul 12 2012: Imagine in the future if we can revive the brain dead and what future generation's definition of dead will be.
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          Jul 12 2012: I always imagined that we would suspend the process before death occurred. The interesting thing to me is to realize how many things that i have made assumptions about that I do not fully realize until I answer a TED question about it. I did not really think it through but I guess I thought they would freeze people and sort of reconstitute them when we had it all figured out. Wishful thinking to ward off death maybe.