Conventional medical wisdom holds that brain cells and working brain circuitry are prone to irreversible damage following merely minutes of interrupted blood flow and disrupted oxygen supply.
Researchers at Yale University used an extracorporeal pulsatile-perfusion system to restore circulation in intact pig brains several hours after decapitation. It was found possible halt brain cell death and restore some working connections in the brain (although not consciousness). The processes of brain cell death may apparently be postponed, preserved or reversed under suitable circumstances.
It now seems evident that:
“ …large mammalian brains possess an under-appreciated capacity for restoration of microcirculation and molecular and cellular activity after a prolonged post-mortem interval”.
The implications are uncertain, at this stage.
Gallagher, J. (2019). Pig brains partially revived four hours after death. London: BBC Health News, April 17th 2019.
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Vrselja, Z. Daniele, SG. [and] Silbereis, J. [et al] (2019). Restoration of brain circulation and cellular functions hours post-mortem. Nature. April 2019; 568(7752): 336-343.