The research looked at nine rats brains as the animals were being euthanized.
Scientists found that when the rats hearts stopped their brains became hyperactive for around 30 seconds before finally diminishing and eventually stopping altogether.
The lead researcher told The Smithsonian the findings "blew our mind" and are "consistent with what patients report" as well.
Those involved in the work think it could explain the near death experience, or “life was flashing before my eyes” many people report.
One neuroscientist explains "when you turn off a light switch, the light immediately goes from on to off, the brain doesn't immediately go off, but it shows a series of sort of complicated transitions."
One of the scientists thinks one explanation may be "the byproduct of the brain's attempt to save itself," while it tries to figure out what's happening.