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It happens unexpectedly: a person long thought lost to the ravages of dementia, unable to recall the events of their lives or even recognize those closest to them, will suddenly wake up and exhibit surprisingly normal behavior, only to pass away shortly thereafter. This phenomenon, which experts refer to as terminal or paradoxical lucidity, has been reported since antiquity, yet there have been very few scientific studies of it. That may be about to change.

In an article published in the August issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia , an interdisciplinary workgroup convened by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Aging and led by Michigan Medicine’s George A. Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., outlines what is known and unknown about paradoxical lucidity, considers its potential mechanisms, and details how a thorough scientific analysis could help shed light on the pathophysiology of dementia. (1)

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Lightning strikes twice. Life. Death. A storm still raging…

Plato said it a long time ago.

What you see are just reflections.

Of a world beyond our own.

There is no way to prove that.

Unless you stop seeing outside.

And see inside yourself.

You are dying now. And you see things do clearly.

And yet, all of the sudden, you start remembering.

Of things you knew and you had forgotten.

But nothing which is worth knowing can be forgotten.

Nothing which is worth knowing can be learnt.

Look! He speaks so clearly now…

No, this is not a sign of hope.

But the last signs of decay fading away…