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When we die, does our whole body die at the same time? © Getty Images

When we die, does our whole body die at the same time?

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After death, your cells and organs can remain alive for longer than you would think.

Asked by: Andy Hurman, Bedford

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Definitely not. The brain and nerve cells require a constant supply of oxygen and will die within a few minutes, once you stop breathing. The next to go will be the heart, followed by the liver, then the kidneys and pancreas, which can last for about an hour. Skin, tendons, heart valves and corneas will still be alive after a day. White blood cells, which are more independent, can keep going for almost three days.

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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