Near-death brain activity may speed up heart failure

Commonly held theories concerning the moments right before death claim that an individual\’s systems begin to decelerate because the heart stops beating, ending blood flow towards the body, but new research from researchers at the University of Michigan School of medicine suggests otherwise.

Instead, senior author Dr. Jimo Borjigin, an associate professor of neurology and molecular and integrative physiology, and her colleagues write that there is a sudden storm of brain activity that can take place because the heart deteriorates that may play a key role within the demise of heart function C in fact, they believe that brain signaling at near-death may even accelerate the process.

Dr. Borjigin\’s team, who published their findings in this week\’s edition of PNAS Early Edition, included experts with background in cardiology, neuroscience, physiology, pharmacology and chemistry, all whom analyzed the mechanisms through which the heart of the healthy individual suddenly ceases to function mere minutes after it no longer received oxygen.

Using rats as the subject of the research, they simultaneously examined both heart and brain during experimental asphyxiation, witnessing the release of over a dozen neurochemicals along with the activation of brain-heart connectivity processes. Because the heart rate sharply fell, brain signals strongly synchronized with heart rhythm, according to new electrocardiomatrix technology.

Blocking the brain\’s activity resulted in a substantial delay in ventricular fibrillation, the most serious type of cardiac rhythm disturbance along with a condition in which the heart\’s lower chambers begin to quiver, preventing blood from pumping. The results claim that blocking the brain\’s electrical connections towards the heart during cardiac event could improve a patient\’s likelihood of survival.

\”Despite the loss of consciousness and lack of indications of life, internally the mind exhibits sustained, organized activity and increased communication using the heart, which one may guess is definitely an effort to save the center,\” Dr. Jimo Borjigin said, adding that the \”pharmacological blockade\” of brain-to-heart communication may potentially have a heart attack from becoming fatal.

In previous research, he and his colleagues reportedly demonstrated significant and arranged activation of brain functions in animals during cardiac arrest. They observe that their new research provides \”a neurochemical foundation\” for the rise in brain activity, in addition to a brain-to-heart link that may effectively be targeted to be able to prolong detectable brain activity.

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