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In horrifying news, researchers have discovered the mind still works after death.

It’s when the heart stops, that you’re pronounced officially dead.

The heart stops pumping blood. The lungs stop receiving blood. The brain no longer works. The pupils no longer dilate. When the heart stops beating, for all medical and scientific purposes, it is the end of life.

But not the end of consciousness, researchers are suggesting.

“We’re trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death,” Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City told The Independent.

“Because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we’re all going to have when we die.”

Image via Getty.

Parnia and a team of researchers are looking at the experiences of people who've suffered heart attacks, been declared clinically dead, but later revived.

Many of those studied say they could hear, and had awareness of, the conversations happening around them after their heart had stopped beating.

They understood when they were pronounced 'dead' and their recollection of the events after that moment were verified by the nurses or the doctors or the family members also in the room at the time.

Lessons Of The Dying. Post continues below.

The researchers in New York are also calling upon an older study - conducted in 2013 at the University of Michigan - that looked at the brains of rats who were given induced heart attacks.

This research found the cardiac arrest lead to a "hyper-alerted state" in the brain in the moments - or "brief period" - after clinical death, The Independent reports.

The thought is terrifying, and lends a completely different meaning to "going peacefully".

We can only hope that, in their quest for a "universal" truth about death, the researchers might stumble upon something reassuring, something we all want to hear.