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  • Who could forget their first time biting into a pizza bagel?

  • The taste of that delicious morsel will stay in my memory forever.

  • But what will happen to that memory after I die?

  • It may help to first understand what memories are.

  • Your brain contains around 100 billion neurons that communicate with each other across gaps

  • called synapses using proteins and chemicals called neurotransmitters. A memory is formed

  • when certain proteins, like AKT and CaMKII, strengthen the synaptic connections.

  • The formation of long-term memories takes time and occurs over stages - a process known

  • as memory consolidation.

  • Once complete, the neurons involved in the original experience become a fixed combination

  • to help you remember the entire event - from sound to taste.

  • But over time, memories can alter or fade.

  • Scientists have found that memories are malleable and can change during recall or from outside

  • suggestion. And as we age, certain types of memories, like the association between

  • two things or the recollection of specific details, diminish. Researchers think this

  • may be due to the fact that the hippocampus shrinks as we age, which is the region of

  • the brain that stores these types of memories.

  • Compared to other organs, your brain requires much more energy to function.

  • That is why it is the first organ to fail or become irreversibly injured when the heart

  • stops pumping, such as during cardiac arrest.

  • The first part of the brain to go is the hippocampus, which plays a big role in memory storage.

  • If heart function isn't restored, the entire brain will shut down in just 4 or 5 minutes.

  • But just 3 minutes without blood flow leads to brain injury that will progressively get

  • worse and eventually become irreversible even if the person is resuscitated or brought back to life.

  • That is why many survivors of cardiac arrest suffer from memory loss even years after the

  • event.

  • In a 2009 study of cardiac arrest survivors treated with hypothermia to protect brain

  • function, one-third had moderate to severe memory difficulties and nearly half had mildly

  • affected long-term memory measured by the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test.

  • But a number of cardiac arrest patients have reported memories of near death experiences

  • that occurred after their heart had stopped beating and they were considered clinically

  • dead.

  • In one study, 40% reported having awareness during this time, and in another, 10% reported

  • memories of this period.

  • This may be caused by a surge in electrical activity in the brain after death.

  • A 2013 study in rats found that within the first 30 seconds after death by induced cardiac

  • arrest, they displayed neural patterns similar to a highly aroused brain.

  • Though this doesn't necessarily mean the same thing occurs in humans, and many neuroscientists

  • believe that near death experiences are born from the stress of the cardiac arrest and

  • are memories of the events before death - not after.

  • So, most likely, after we die and our brain shuts down for good, our memories will simply

  • fade away like a deleted computer file.

  • Anyway, I hope my last memories are of all the pizza bagels I've eaten.

  • No need to think about bad things!

  • Yay!

  • So, do you have an earliest memory that you can remember?

  • Maybe a favorite memory of yours?

  • If you're comfortable with sharing it, let me know in the comment section below!

  • Curious to know what would happen if you never forgot anything?

  • Check out this video!

  • Hyperthymesia is a rare mental state or neurological condition where a person has a very detailed

  • autobiographical memory.

  • Basically, they remember a lot about their past!

  • As always my name is Blocko!

  • This has been Life Noggin!

  • Don't forget to keep on thinking.

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What Happens To Your Memories After You Die?

  • 143 6
    Julia Kuo posted on 2019/06/20
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