“Within about 3 minutes,” lead author Jens Dreier, a professor at the Center for Stroke Research Berlin, wrote to Newsweek in an email, “the brain’s fuel reserves have become depleted.” When that happens, the mechanisms that brain cells use to keep ions separated, something that’s necessary for them to function at all, starts to fail. That creates what is sometimes called a “brain tsunami,” said Dreier (NEWSWEEK 2-27-2018).
The study published by Annals of Neurology (2-15-2018) concludes “These results provide fundamental insight into the neurobiology of dying and have important implications for survivable cerebral ischemic damages”.
Advances in the neurology of death
“The new discovery (see HERE), the researchers explain in a statement from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin in Berlin is essential to develop medical strategies aimed at prolonging the survival of nerve cells when the cerebral circulation is interrupted.
The current study shows that doesn’t always occur an irreversible damage when brain activity flatline
“The finding can save lives of people at risk of brain damage, death due to cerebral ischemia or any cardiovascular accident, although much work will still be necessary to make it medically applicable (2-22-2018)”.
What happens in the brain when the heart stops
A final interesting statement by Jed Hartings, a neuroscientist at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a member of the UC Gardner Neuroscience, noted. “But how long a brain can exist like that is still an open question.
Hartings said, that “The finding is a new revelation. Previously researchers believed that irreversible damage occurred when brain activity flatlines. The current study shows that’s not the case. And that’s really the fundamental insight here,” said Hartings.
In theory, understanding exactly what happens in the brain when the heart stops might help us hone protocols around organ donation. Because even after a person’s heart stops, the cellular activity may linger. Brain waves may, too.