Join Death Party Philadelphia member Allison Matia for an exploration of the relationship between death and the nervous system.
As technology and medical science advance, the distinction between life and death becomes ever more ambiguous. Historically, death was defined as loss of cardiac function. With the advent of life support technology, vital functions can be maintained artificially after the nervous system fails to sustain them. This phenomenon has led to a paradigm shift in the way death is defined.
In modern times, death is diagnosed using neurological criteria. While we now use a neurological definition of death, the criteria for this definition are still difficult to articulate due to the many different physiological processes that sustain life and the various ways in which technology can maintain them when the nervous system fails.
This presentation will explore the history of how death has been defined, how death is currently defined, and the physiological and technological factors that make the exact point of death so difficult to determine and define.
The following points will be presented:
- The definitions of and distinctions between brain death, coma, and persistent vegetative state.
- The criteria physicians use to diagnose death.
- Legal implications of how death is defined, most notably, when organs can be legally harvested for donation.
Tickets are free but highly encouraged: https://www.facebook.com/events/501818557026388/
Allison Matia is a Neuroscience Ph.D. student at Rutgers University where she studies the neural representations of odor mixtures at multiple points in the olfactory circuit. She is interested in disseminating the tenets of Death Positivity more broadly into U.S. culture.