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SCIENCE: Dying Brains Silence Themselves in a Spreading Dark Wave


At the edge of life and death is a spreading dark wave. Scientists spotted it first in rabbits. In a series of papers published throughout the 1940s, Harvard biologist Aristides Leão described finding a sudden silencing of electrical activity in the exposed brains of his unconscious experimental animals after subjecting them to injuries — applying electrical shocks, poking them with glass rods or cutting off the blood in their arteries. The “spreading depression,” as he termed it, began at the injured spot within 5 minutes of the injury, before eclipsing more distant parts of the brain. Seven decades later, a … Read more