What separates the living from the dead? A heart beat or a pulse may be the vital signs that spring to mind, which suggests that a person is dead when their heart stops beating. However, new research shows that the natural process of death is not so straightforward, and takes us a step closer to understanding the complexity of dying.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Carleton University PhD candidate Amanda van Beinum and University of Ottawa critical care physician Sonny Dhanani and their research colleagues take a closer look at what happens after a monitor shows a heart has stopped beating. After studying hundreds of records of intensive care patients, they found that the classic “flatline” is more complicated than you might think.

Also today:

All the best.

Patricia Nicholson

Health + Medicine Editor

New research shows that heart activity may not always end with a flatlined monitor. (Shutterstock)

When is ‘dead’ really dead? What happens after a person ‘flatlines’

Amanda van Beinum, Carleton University; Sonny Dhanani, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa

Is a person dead when their heart stops beating? It turns out that the classic “flatline” of death is not so straightforward.

A young girl places a candle during a vigil for the victims of the mosque shooting on Jan, 30, 2017 in Québec City. In the years since the attack, little has been done to combat the Islamophobia that caused it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Remembering the Québec City mosque attack: Islamophobia and Canada’s national amnesia

Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University

Four years since the violent attack on worshippers at Québec City's central mosque, the federal government has said it will honour the victims with a national day of remembrance.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve is home to nearly 3,000 marine species. (Shutterstock)

How marine protected areas help safeguard the ocean

Julie Reimer, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Marine protected areas will be important for achieving the ocean Sustainable Development Goals.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (far right) attended the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP)

Memes like Bernie Sanders’ mittens spread through networks the same way viruses spread through populations

Anthony Bonato, Ryerson University

Our social connections and interactions form networks. Studying these networks reveal the ways in which both memes and viruses travel through populations

Don’t wait for teens to come to you. Engage them in conversation. (Shutterstock)

Teen suicide prevention during COVID-19: How parents and kids can have honest and safe conversations

Marie-Claude Geoffroy, McGill University; Anthony Gifuni, Stanford University

Suicide prevention experts believe parents can engage in an honest and safe conversation about suicide with kids.

La Conversation Canada

La technicienne médicale Amira Doudou prépare des échantillons à l’Institut hospitalo-universitaire des maladies infectieuses de Marseille, en France, le 13 janvier 2021, pour étudier le variant hautement contagieux de la Covid-19. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Voici pourquoi les nouveaux variants de la Covid-19 se répandent dans le monde entier

Sarah Otto, University of British Columbia

De multiples variantes de la Covid-19 circulent dans le monde entier et deviennent de plus en plus courantes. Ces mutations peuvent altérer la capacité du virus à s’implanter dans nos cellules.

Un marché fermier en ville. La pandémie a accéléré l'attrait de la consommation locale et de l'agriculture soutenue par la communauté. Shutterstock

Du fermier au citadin : la pandémie accélère l’agriculture soutenue par la communauté

Axel Chiche, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); Ugo Lachapelle, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

Une meilleure collaboration entre fermiers et villes pourrait permettre de localiser les points de livraison dans des sites attrayants et conviviaux et de renforcer la distribution alimentaire.

New podcasts from The Conversation


How to listen to The Conversation’s podcasts

Gemma Ware, The Conversation

There are lots of different ways to listen to The Conversation's podcasts.

Fists raised in solidarity for George Floyd in Charlotte, N.C. (Unsplash/Clay Banks)

‘Don’t Call Me Resilient’: A new podcast from The Conversation

Vinita Srivastava, The Conversation

Don’t Call Me Resilient is a provocative podcast about race that goes in search of solutions for those things no one should have to be resilient for.

The Conversation Weekly: a new podcast from our global network

Gemma Ware, The Conversation; Daniel Merino, The Conversation

🎧 Listen to the trailer for The Conversation Weekly, a new podcast.

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