How long can your brain live for?
An unexpected discovery made by an international team, examining the results of an EEG on an elderly patient, who died suddenly of a heart attack while the test was in progress. What happens in our brain when we make the transition from life to death?
See cpr.heart.org/en/course-catalog-search for classes near you. Time is very important when an unconscious person is not breathing. Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 to 6 minutes later.
The amount of information the brain can store in its many trillions of synapses is not infinite, but it is large enough that the amount we can learn is not limited by the brain's storage capacity.
What is the brain? The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up the central nervous system, or CNS.
The metabolic needs of vertebrate brains are actually fairly simple – mainly oxygen and glucose. These can be supplied by connecting the blood vessels that supply the brain with an artificial blood substitute or by immersing the blood in an artificial cerebro-spinal fluid and oxygenating that directly.
However, a new study published to Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests that your brain may remain active and coordinated during and even after the transition to death, and be programmed to orchestrate the whole ordeal.
The brain requires an immense amount of blood, oxygen and energy, and going even a few minutes without these vital support systems is thought to cause irreversible damage.
It's well known that a comatose brain can be kept alive for at least decades. That is the case with brain-dead people whose families elect to keep them attached to ventilating machines. Less well explored are artificial means of maintaining a brain wholly separated from its body.
In particular, the temporal lobe (at the temples) is sensitive to oxygen deficiency which is also where the memory is situated. A lack of oxygen from three to nine minutes can result in irreversible brain damage!
Some scientists believe that within the next few decades, it could be possible for humans to live 1,000 years or more. Normally, as time passes, our cells undergo changes: Our DNA mutates, cells stop dividing, and harmful junk—by-products of cellular activity—builds up. All these processes together cause us to age.