Science Says the Mind May Continue After the Brain Dies

Joel Eisenberg

The studies are not conclusive, and yet increasing evidence points to a separation between the organic brain and concept of a mind.
Mind-Brain ConnectioniStock

Author’s Note

This article is based on scientific postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Mind Matters, Nobel Prize-Winner Roger Sperry, The University of Cambridge, and


NewsBreak recently published two articles of mine on matters related to the science of the mind. See here for “The Science of What Happens to Your Mind After Death,” and here for “Scientists Debate the Existence of the Human Soul.“

In each piece, I had attempted to largely stray from religion regarding these issues, and focus instead on hard, ongoing scientific research. The former article pointed to the spark that continues to inspire legitimate study in the field: Ongoing studies have concluded human consciousness survives for up to six minutes following physical death. Those studies have also differentiated between the organic human brain, and the mind.

The studies referenced are discussed therein, the findings of which some scientists attribute to the phenomenon of NDEs, or Near-Death Experiences.

Let us explore the matter further.

The Mind-Brain Connection and Studies So Far

An October, 2020 article on the Mind Matters website, entitled “Your Mind vs. Your Brain: Ten Things to Know,” addresses repercussions of a physical brain being cut in half: This surgery is done to treat severe epilepsy. The brain adapts to what it must work with and the patient usually suffers only minor disabilities. Roger Sperry’s Nobel Prize-winning split-brain research convinced him that the mind and free will are real. And yes, some people think and speak with only half a brain. Of course, where half of the patient’s brain has been removed due to serious epilepsy damage (that is now threatening the other half), that undamaged half (hemisphere) had probably been doing most of the work anyway. So our brains are both closely connected and yet highly adaptable. That adaptability is sometimes called neuroplasticity.

The finding was important, as it raised new questions about how the mind could possibly continue to function regardless of damage to the brain.

In a related June, 2020 article also from Mind Matters, entitled “Is There Hope For People in a Persistent Vegetative State,” it is stated “disorders of consciousness“ is now the preferred term to any mention of “vegetative state” due to recent research: One breakthrough study conducted at our lab, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, involved 54 DoC patients. The researchers asked the patients to perform two mental-imagery tasks while they lay in a brain scanner. In the first, they were asked to imagine playing tennis; in the second, to imagine walking from room to room in their home – mental tasks that are associated with contrasting patterns of neural activity. Remarkably, five patients were able to wilfully modulate their brain activity, suggesting that, though unable to express any outward signs of consciousness at the bedside, they could understand and follow the researchers’ instructions.

To the layperson, the implication herein is the mind indeed still works when conventional science points to a sharp decrease in brain function, or even brain death, though the larger question remains. maintains a highly-attributed page entitled “Mind-Body Problem” which addresses the scientific theory of separation of the two entities — with the caveat that the mind remains an elusive concept and is frequently used interchangeably with the concept of consciousness, both of which can only be defined as processes, not entities — as well as religious or philosophical viewpoints.

From the Wikipedia page: In neuroscience, much has been learned about correlations between brain activity and subjective, conscious experiences. Many suggest that neuroscience will ultimately explain consciousness: "...consciousness is a biological process that will eventually be explained in terms of molecular signaling pathways used by interacting populations of nerve cells..." However, this view has been criticized because consciousness has yet to be shown to be a process, and the "hard problem" of relating consciousness directly to brain activity remains elusive.


Research is ongoing in this most curious of topics. Should any science-based updates or breakthroughs occur, I will report them here on NewsBreak.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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