Death is a sort of weird, scary, foreign concept for a lot of people. It's natural to be a little bit apprehensive when it comes to the unknown. But there are a lot of things that still can and do happen to your body right before and after you die that it's sort of interesting to learn more about. Though not everyone may want to hear about some of the creepy things that happen to your brain after you die, for others, it means answers to questions that they might not be able to know much about or answer firsthand.
Once you die, there's still a lot that's going on within your body, as physiological processes play out, cells start to die off, and more continues to happen. Some of these things are completely fascinating, while others veer more towards gross or even downright disgusting. Moving beyond the gross factor, a number of the things that can happen to your brain after death are more than just a little bit creepy. From the boost of brain activity to your brain even potentially somehow knowing that you've die, there's a number of things that you might not have realized might happen after death.
1. Brain Electrical Functioning Calms Right Before Death
Immediately before you die, the electrical functioning in your brain might actually calm down a bit. A study published in the Annals of Neurology found that before you die, there's a "wave" that goes through your brain and quiets activity. It happens very close to death and does, scientists found, have the potential to be reversed.
2. Your Brain Might Know You're Dead
Creepy, right? Though you might think that once you're dead, your brain is immediately done, that might not actually be the case. Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine, told Live Science that people might still have some type of consciousness while in the first stage of death. Your brain doesn't necessarily just shut off right away.
3. There's A Spike In Brain Activity
Relatedly, scientists have found that some people might actually experience a spike in brain activity after they die. A 2013 study from researchers at the University of Michigan and published in PNAS argued that people might experience "near death experiences" because of a spike in brain activity right after they die. More research needs to be done (this was an animal study), but it's an interesting finding.
4. Some Of The Tissue Might Be Kept Alive For Awhile
When brain tissue is removed for autopsy within about eight hours of someone dying, it might actually be possible to keep that tissue alive for up to 78 days, as a paper published in FASEB Journal found. It's no longer within the brain and you're no longer alive, but it might be able to keep that tissue from dying off right away too.
5. It'll Decompose
Though it's not really nice to think about, after you die, your body will decompose. This decomposition process begins, oftentimes, in the liver and the brain, The Guardian reported. The brain contains a lot of water, which is why the process can often take place there relatively early on.
Ultimately, there are still a lot of things that aren't known about what happens immediately after death or why, even though there are processes that have been studied. Thinking about what might come after you die isn't necessarily pleasant, but the answers might, in fact, satisfy some curiosity.