A mysterious surge of brain activity observed in dying rats may explain reports of near-death-experiences (NDEs), researchers claim.
Even after the animals' hearts stopped beating and no blood was reaching their brains, they appeared to show signs of conscious perception, said the scientists.
The study is the first to take a systematic look at the neurophysiological state of the dying brain after a cardiac arrest.
It suggests something happens at the brink of death that pushes the conscious brain to a high level of arousal, potentially triggering the visions and sensations associated with NDEs.
As many as a fifth of people who survive cardiac arrests report having had an other-worldly experience while being "clinically" dead.