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Thread: Is true brain death reversible, even in principle?

  1. #1 Is true brain death reversible, even in principle? 
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    Does anyone know whether the state of brain death is reversible? In other words, can a person who is truly brain dead ever be revived, and by 'revived' I mean up and walking around as if nothing ever happened? I ask because I am having a discussion with someone who is making the, as far as I am concerned, absolutely absurd claim that near-death experiences are proof that consciousness survives the death of the brain because there have been cases where people who were literally brain dead have reported experiencing near-death experiences, which I don't believe for one second.



    Is this guy just being obstinate, or is he correct? Because as I understand it, brain death is characterized by the complete necrosis of the brain neuronal tissue due to oxygen deprivation or other similar catastrophic conditions. And if this were true then there would be zero chance of recovery, and even if the body were kept alive, the person would be left in a permanent vegetative state.



    Am I correct here or is he?


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  3. #2  
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    You are.

    Necrosis of the brain results in either severe damage or persistent brain death. It cannot be undone, and won't be undoable anytime soon.
    However, certain cases have been documented where the damage to the brain was minor and the patients brain compensated for lost tissue by re-routing processes through existing tissue. In almost every case, none reported an NDE and all had to relearn how to walk, eat, talk, etc.

    Those revived from "death" that make reports such as above were NOT brain dead.


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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    I'm living proof.
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    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    I'm living proof.
    Brain death, not donor.
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  6. #5  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    I'm living proof.
    Brain death, not donor.
    Oh good, the donor is still alive, I'll go tell him.
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  7. #6  
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    The problem lies right here.

    people who were literally brain dead
    Who says that our current expertise, equipment and knowledge is totally, comprehensively and entirely capable of determining exactly what the current functional status and the possible recovery of a damaged human brain is at any given time? There are no, none at all, vital patterns, signs or signals that we are currently unable to detect or interpret? I don't think so.

    In a decade, in several decades, we will be much better able to make more accurate assessments of such events. We will also be able to make much better prognoses for eventual recovery. Anyone who thinks that we already know all we need to know about brain death hasn't looked very carefully at how we've discovered, and how recently, what we currently know.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  8. #7  
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    As per present sources impossible
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    What is exactly, the criteria for "brain death"? There are cases of cold water drownings where it has been assumed that the victim had zero neural activity for times exceeding a half hour, and then were revived with minimal neurological impairment. Cold water drowning is a special case in that the cellular temperatures are reduced enough to slow cellular metabolism to the point that few individual cells undergo necrosis despite hypoxia. If brain death is to be considered a suspension of neural activity, then general anesthesia causes brain death. If there is any significant neural necrosis, then if it's walking it's a zombie.
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  10. #9  
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    Sudden immerion in cold water triggers the "mammalian diving reflex" in which body functions are greatly slowed but not stopped. As the core body temp falls humans rapily lose consciousness, breathing may effectivly stop, the rate of heart beat slows radically but the oxygen demand of the tissues is also much lower. All neural activity never reaches zero, but is greatly reduced. The maxim we learn in ski patrol is "you arn't dead until you are warm and dead."
    As core body temp falls the tissue oxygen demand falls ahead of the drop in oxygen perfusion. So slow as the heart is beating , it is still beating fast enough. People have been revived after being breathless about one hour.
    The cold body is however quite fragil. Starting CPR can kill the subject. Oxygen perfusion must come up ahead of oxygen demand. So the first thing to do is put high flow oxygen on the patient even before you otherwise touch him.
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  11. #10  
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    Okay, I suppose then I should simply re-state the actual point of my question. Can near-death experiences be thought of as even anecdotal evidence for consciousness surviving the destruction of the brain? I say no, because there has never been an instance where someone's brain was destroyed and then glued back together to find out if they experienced anything in the interim.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Can near-death experiences be thought of as even anecdotal evidence for consciousness surviving the destruction of the brain?

    No, but the statement is anecdotal evidence that the person might have inadequate understanding of how the brain works. Someone on a surgery table that has a drop in vital signs X or Y, doesnt have his brain frappé-ed in a blender that causes all neural connections to be mixted/broken, its more like taking a DVD out of a player and putting it back in, the consciousness was kept because the associations/connections stayed the pretty much same. If you could transplant Steve-the-pancreatic-cancer-patient's brain into born-again-christian-brain-dead-George, George would not revive and tell you about a near death experience and how lucky his soul and consciousness awoke in a new brain, Steve would wake up and say what happened to his face? (since hes seening someone elses face in the mirror)
    Last edited by icewendigo; April 26th, 2013 at 10:13 AM.
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