Doctors have revealed the first sense people lose in the hours before their death. The science of death has remained shrouded in mystery, relying heavily on the accounts of friends and family to understand what happens. Until recently, people would slip through what is known as the “active phase” very quickly. But modern medicine has allowed patients to die gradually from lingering illnesses, which has also allowed doctors to study the process of dying.
One thing they have learned is that people tend to lose their senses and desires in a specific order.
James Hallenbeck, a palliative-care specialist at Stanford University in the US writes in Palliative Care perspectives, a guide for other palliative-care physicians, told The Atlantic: “First hunger and then thirst are lost. Speech is lost next, followed by vision.
“The last senses to go are usually hearing and touch.”
Scientists even think they have come to understand why people “see the bright light”.
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David Hovda, the director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Centre said the brain sacrifices areas deemed less critical for survival, reported The Atlantic.
He said: “As the brain begins to change and start to die, different parts become excited, and one of the parts that becomes excited is the visual system – and so that’s where people begin to see light.”