Life Science / Society

A person who is brain dead. Some distinguish between a biomort and a neomort, or someone who has recently become brain dead. Different from a person in a persistent vegetative state, where only the cerebral cortex has stopped functioning; with a biomort, it is the brainstem, the body's own life-support system, which is no longer functioning. The cells of a biomort can be kept alive by giving it hormones or life-extending drugs such as vasopressors, and also by connecting it to artificial organs such as an artificial respirator. At the end of the 20th century, the criteria used for determining brain death varied from country to country, region to region, but a worldwide consensus on establishing brain death was finally reached with the beginning of the Space Age at the start of the century.