Does life actually flash before your eyes when you’re about to die? Scientists recently experienced a moment that suggests it does.

What happened: Scientists from the University of Louisville decided to measure the brainwaves of an 87-year-old patient in Estonia with epilepsy, per WDRB, a local news outlet in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • However, during the brain recording, he died from a fatal heart attack.
  • This gave the scientists a reading of the brain at the time of death.
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What they found: The recording “revealed that in the 30 seconds before and after, the man’s brain waves followed the same patterns as dreaming or recalling memories,” per BBC News.

  • Per WDRB, “your brain may remain active and coordinated during and even after the transition to death, and be programmed to orchestrate the whole ordeal.”
  • The findings were published in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience journal.

Why this matters: This is the first recording of a dying brain, shedding light on what happens to the brain when one is dying.

What they’re saying: “If I were to jump to the philosophical realm, I would speculate that if the brain did a flashback, it would probably like to remind you of good things, rather than the bad things,” said Dr. Ajmal Zemmar, a co-author of the study, according to BBC News.

  • “But what’s memorable would be different for every person.”

The bottom line: Zemmar said the research showed that “the brain may be playing a last recall of important life events just before we die, similar to the ones reported in near-death experiences.”