The Ultimate Death Quiz

By: Molly Edmonds

The Ultimate Death Quiz
Image: iStockphoto/Dodorema

About This Quiz

The Grim Reaper is a personification of death that has been invented and refined over the years to help humans make sense of their own mortality. How much do you know about your own mortality? You can't cheat death, and you can't cheat on this quiz about death, either. So sharpen your scythe and get started.
What causes a death rattle?
fluid built up in the lungs
A death rattle is a sound made by congestion in the lungs caused by a buildup of fluid.
erratic heartbeat
the kidneys shutting down

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Which of the following is not one of the top five causes of death in high-income countries?
stroke
lung cancer
HIV/AIDS
The top five causes of death in high-income countries, according to the World Health Organization, are coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, lower respiratory infections and pulmonary disease. HIV/AIDS is one of the top five killers in low-income countries.

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How long can the brain survive after the heart stops beating?
30 seconds to one minute
Three to seven minutes
Brain cells start to die three to seven minutes after the heart stops beating, a point known as biological death.
10 minutes

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Do hair and fingernails continue to grow after death?
Yes; tissue from hair and fingernails is indestructible.
Yes; any oxygen in the room spurs fingernail and hair growth.
No; it only looks that way because skin shrivels up.
Sorry, hairs and fingernails aren't magical -- they only seem to grow because the skin shrinks.

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Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross defined grief as a progression through five distinct stages. What's the correct order for these stages?
Anger, bargaining, anger, bargaining, acceptance
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance
You get a gold star if you identified denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance as the correct order.
Anger, bargaining, depression, denial, elation

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What is algor mortis?
the stage right before a person dies
stiffening of the body after death
cooling of the body after death
After the heart stops beating, the body immediately begins to turn cold, a phase known as algor mortis.

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What is Balfour's test?
a specific series of procedures that ascertain brain death
an 18th-century means of determining death
Before the invention of the stethoscope, people performed Balfour's test to check if someone was dead. The test involved sticking needles through the skin into the heart, then watching to see if the needles moved, indicating a heartbeat.
a way to check if cardiopulmonary resuscitation was effective

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Which medical school wrote the standard definition of death in 1968?
Johns Hopkins
Duke
Harvard
In 1968, Harvard Medical School defined death as irreversible damage to the brain, or brain death.

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Who portrayed Death in Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal"?
Bengt Ekerot
Bengt Ekerot portrays Death and Max von Sydow plays Antonius Block in Bergman's film about the ultimate game of chess.
Max von Sydow
Gunnar Olsson

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How many people perished during the Black Death?
25 million
From 1347 to 1351, 25 million people, or one-third of Europe's population at the time, met their end.
50 million
250 million

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You Got:
/10
iStockphoto/Dodorema

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