The question of how the mind relates to the brain has fascinated humankind for millennia. While some philosophers have proposed the mind to be “physical” in nature, others have argued the mind is "non-physical" and interacts with the body. Following the advent of modern
cardiopulmonary resuscitation for cardiac arrest (CA), millions of people have provided anecdotal reports of lucid well-structured thought processes with memory formation from a period during CA. In recent years, the accuracy of these reports, have been further supported by evidence from case studies, and more recently large scale prospective CA studies. The occurrence of consciousness at the time CA is highly significant, as data from independent studies indicate that brain function ceases during CA. Thus, the scientific demonstration that
consciousness and awareness may occur during CA, represents tangible evidence that the mind or consciousness may be a separate undiscovered entity to the brain. We are one of the few centers with an established track record of research into real-time non-invasive
monitoring of brain resuscitation during CA, as well as the study of consciousness/awareness and the cognitive and mental experience of CA.
We hypothesize that while there is a broad human experience of death, conscious awareness and/or mental and cognitive activity occurs during CA and relates to the recollections of real events. We plan to test our hypotheses through the following specific aims:1) Establish the
spectrum of consciousness and awareness during CA and circulatory standstill as a model for death by cardiopulmonary criteria. 2)Determine the relationship between conscious awareness and/or mental and cognitive states during CA/circulatory standstill with the quality
of brain resuscitation and underlying physiological and pathophysiological processes. This study, will provide data that may lead to a major shift in our understanding of the relationship between the mind and brain.