Scientists say the brain lives on for a period of time after a person dies, suggesting that the dead are still conscious moments after death.

Researchers from the University of Michigan recently studied this theory on a series of laboratory rats. After attaching electrodes to the surface of their brains, they killed the animals with an injection of potassium chloride – commonly used in the lethal injections of prisoners.

What they found was that for about 30 seconds after the animals were pronounced dead, there was still the presence of gamma waves in the brain, which are often attributed to perception, awareness and consciousness.

“People have just assumed that, after the heart stops, when the brain has very little oxygen or glucose, then the brain should not function,” said lead researcher Jimo Borjigin. “Higher brain function may require less oxygen and energy than many scientists had thought.”

“By presenting evidence of highly organized brain activity and neurophysiologic features consistent with conscious processing at near-death, we now provide a scientific framework to begin to explain the highly lucid and realer-than-real mental experiences reported by near-death survivors.”

Borjigin believes his findings could lead to more advanced studies of near-death experiences.

However, we believe this just gives us one more reason to be afraid of dying!