Death is a term that can refer to either the termination of life in a living system, or the state of that organism after that event.
Biologically, death can occur to wholes, to parts of wholes, or to both. For example, it is possible for individual cellss and even organss to die, and yet for the organism as a whole to continue to live; many individual cells can live for only a short time, and so most of an organism's cells are continually dying and being replaced by new ones.
Conversely it is also possible for the organism to die and for cells and organs to live and to be used for transplantation. In the latter case, though, the still-living tissues must be removed and transplanted quickly or they too will soon die without the support of their host.
Irreversibility is often cited as a key feature of death. Accordingly by definition it would not be possible to bring an organism back to life; if an organism lives, this implies that it has not died earlier, even if that seemed the case. Nonetheless, many people do not believe that death is always and necessarily irreversible; thus some have a religious belief in bodily or spiritual resurrection, while others have hope for the eventual prospects of cryonics or other technological means of reversing death.
Biologists believe that the function of death is primarily to permit the operation of evolution.
Historically, attempts to define the exact moment of death have been problematic. Death was once defined as the cessation of heartbeat (cardiac arrest) and of breathing, for example, but the development of CPR and early defibrillation posed a challenge: either the definition of death was incorrect, or techniques had been discovered that really allowed one to reverse death (because, in some cases, breathing and heartbeat can be restarted). Generally, the first option was chosen. (Today this definition of death is known as "clinical death".)
Today, where a definition of the moment of death is required, we usually turn to "brain death" or "biological death": people are considered dead when the electrical activity in their brain ceases. It is presumed that a stoppage of electrical activity indicates the end of consciousness. However, those maintaining that only the neo-cortex of the brain is necessary for consciousness sometimes argue that only electrical activity there should be considered when defining death. In most places the more conservative definition of death (cessation of electrical activity in the whole brain, as opposed to just in the neo-cortex) has been adopted (for example the Uniform Definition of Death Act in the United States).
Even in these cases, the determination of death can be difficult. EEGs can detect spurious electrical impulses when none exists, while there have been cases in which electrical activity in a living brain has been too low for EEGs to detect. Because of this, hospitals often have elaborate protocols for determining death involving EEGs at widely separated intervals.
Because of the difficulties in determining death, under most emergency protocols, a first responder is not authorized to pronounce a patient dead, and if there is any possibility of life and in the absence of a do not resuscitate order, emergency workers must begin rescue and not end it until a patient has been brought to a hospital to be examined by a physician. This frequently leads to situation of a patient being pronounced dead on arrival.
It might also be worthwhile to entertain the possibility that death does not occur at a particular moment, but unfolds as a process over a period of time. Perhaps, in the end, it is not terribly meaningful to speak of "the exact moment of death".
The deceased person is usually either cremated or deposited in a tomb, often a hole in the earth, called a grave. This happens during or after a funeral ceremony. Many other funeral customs exist in different cultures.
Graves are usually grouped together in a plot of land called a "cemetery" or a "graveyard" and are often arranged by a funeral home or undertaker.
Where do We go when We Die A study of the most reliable evidence for life after death. An article by Rod Smith. http://www.rodsgarden.50megs.com/wheredie.htm
Death, Loss and Bereavement Articles on how to deal with death and suicide, and how to communicate with others about the illness. http://www.ncpamd.com/bereavement.htm
Demystifying Dying A workshop to deepen the experience of living by considering our dying. http://www.demystifyingdying.com
Seeing the Difference: Conversations on Death and Dying Interdisciplinary conversations on death and dying, including perspectives from the arts, humanities, and medicine. Sponsored by UC Berkeley's Townsend Center for the Humanities. http://seeingthedifference.berkeley.edu/
Medbroadcast.com: Death and Dying Articles on grieving and unhealthy grief, palliative care, and pain, plus links to related channels. http://www.medbroadcast.com/channel_main.asp?channel_id=1012
Death and Dying Buddhist insights into death and dying. http://death-and-dying.org/
Death Online This site explores what happens when we die and the ways that we deal with death. Includes articles, links and video. http://deathonline.net/
You Bet Their Life A yearly contest. Includes obituaries and past years. http://www.youbettheirlife.com
The Temple of Azrael All for the love of the Arch-Angel Azrael. Cemetery photos, and virtual memorial. http://www.templeofazrael.org/
Last Rights An in-depth look at how Americans meet the needs of terminally ill people. Includes a series or newspaper articles prepared by Scripps Howard News Service. http://last-rights.com/
Death Timer Uses published global life expectancy statistics to calculate your lifespan. http://www.deathtimer.com
Death in Cyberspace A social and cultural analysis of the development of funeral and mourning practices on the internet. http://www2.fmg.uva.nl/sociosite/websoc/death.html
Dead or Alive? Lists famous people and whether they are dead or alive. http://www.deadoraliveinfo.com/
Taphophilia A repository of morbid curiosities. http://www.taphophilia.com/
Bruce Goddard A fourth generation funeral director from Reynolds, Georgia is available as a public speaker throughout Georgia and the United States. He presents the lighter side of what can be a very stressful occupation, while, at the same time, giving thought provoking observations about life from the perspective of a small town "undertaker". http://brucegoddard.com/
Saving Graces - Northstar Gallery A photographic essay and poetry, exploring man's struggle to understand and embrace his mortality. http://northstargallery.com/pages/SGIndex02.htm
The Death Clock The Internet's friendly reminder that life is slipping away, second by second. http://www.deathclock.com/
Epitaphs and Poems about Death A collection by Nicholas Gordon that can be used free for any personal or non-commercial purpose. http://www.poemsforfree.com/epipo.html
Living Dying Free online book which provides a very different and thought provoking view on disease, illness, living and dying. http://www.healthlibrary.com/reading/living/index.htm
The Final Journey Stories of death and dying which deal with the actual time of death including terminal delirium, agitation, pain contol, confusion, and hallucinations. http://crossingthecreek.com/finaljourney/
Death and Dementia The internet resource for death and related topics. http://www.deathndementia.com/
Is there Death after Life? Are people really dead after their life has come to an end - or is death a key which unlocks the door to some mystical afterlife? There is one (God) who knows the answer to all of these mysteries. http://www.benabraham.com/html/is_there_death_after_life.html
Last Meals by R. A. Barrington: Celebrate Your Freedom Confronts the idea of executions of death-row prisoners. Then in timely measure contrasts it with the possibility of death by terrorism. Paintings of the Signature Room of the John Hancock Building atop Chicago. http://www.angelfire.com/blues/lastmeal/index.html
Suite 101 Death is discussed as the last stage of Human Growth and Development. All related questions on the topic are addressed. http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/death_and_dying
The Death and Grief Page Provides information on the dying process and subsequent grieving. http://www.elderhope.com/DeathandDying.shtml
Death in the Family - Online Report Short online summary of research carried out by Michael Anderson of Newcastle's Centre for Family Studies (UK). Selected Bibliography and Useful Contacts. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ncfs/ncfs/document55.html
Mourning Matters Special and educational programs focusing on educating the public on the history of American funeral traditions and mourning customs. Includes articles and photos covering Victorian mourning rituals and customs, and event booking information. http://www.mourningmatters.com/
Life in the World Unseen An e-book of an account of life in the spirit world, as received through mediumship from someone passed on. http://anthony3741.tripod.com/
Afterlife Telegrams With the help of terminally ill volunteers, a service to help you send a message to someone who has passed away. A one-way message service to the afterlife. http://www.afterlifetelegrams.com/
Day4Death.com This site uses actual mortality and life expectancy tables to calculate your actual day of death, what you will most likely die from, and where you will die. http://day4death.com
You Only Die Once Preparing for the End of Life with Grace and Gusto. Advertisement for the book, with sample chapter and list of contents. http://www.MargieJenkins.com
Deathing Home Page Discription of Anya Foos-Graber's book, Deathing:An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life. Including links to other versions and where to purchase. http://www.odsys.net/deathing
BellaOnline Life Clock Take this on line quiz to get an estimation of how long you'll live. See how various life factors affect your probably death date. http://www.bellaonline.com/misc/quiz/lifeclock.asp
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