Researchers Discover Some Brain Cells Come Alive and Grow Hours After Death

They’re calling it a “zombie gene.”

A new study published in Scientific Reports challenges the widespread belief that brain activity comes to a halt immediately at death or shortly after. Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago found that glial cells not only come alive, but also increase in size and grow arm-like appendages hours after a person dies. Study author Jeffrey Loeb, head of neurology and rehabilitation at the UIC’s College of Medicine, said the findings weren’t “too surprising” as the glial cells are inflammatory “and their job is to clean things up after brain injuries like oxygen deprivation or stroke.”