NDE Film Clips on IANDS Website

26 Oct

Thanks to Tim for emailing the link to the new film clips from The Dr Oz Show which have been posted on the IANDS website. In the short clips there are interviews with people who have had NDEs. They describe their NDE and how the experience has affected their life.

 There is also an interview with DrSam Parnia giving an update of the AWARE study.

 The most interesting clip is an interview with physician Dr Mary Neal who herself had a NDE. It was fascinating to hear Dr Neal describe her NDE and then talk about how her experience has changed her understanding of NDEs and death. From being very sceptical of NDEs her own experience has totally changed her mind. Not only has her experience affected the way in which she cares for her patients but it also enabled her to be very strong for her whole family when her son was tragically killed in an accident which is testimony to how powerful NDEs can be for those who experience them.

It will be interesting to hear what people have to think about the film clips.

To watch the film clips click onto the link below:


60 Responses to “NDE Film Clips on IANDS Website”

  1. Tony October 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    It was a teriffic show. I was expecting more of an effort to medically debunk ndes. I was surprised to see Dr Parnia there. There was nothing new, however as you say to see a medical doctor testify to how real it was makes you really think.

  2. Max_B October 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Some classic quotes from Parnia…

    “so the question is does your mind and conciousness also stop functioning when you’ve died and your brain has shut down, or does it continue”

    Nope Sam, I think the question is… has your brain really shut down?

    “After we die, death is reversable for a number of hours, and the human mind or conciousness, that thing that makes us into who we are. That entity that make me Sam Parnia. That doesn’t die. Just because we’ve declared someone dead.”

    Perhaps that’s because the definition of ‘dead’ you are using, isn’t actually very accurate?

    Same tired old theories… “…are these so called OBE’s real…” (can we prove you’re really out of your body by verifying hidden images?), “…or are they just an illusion.” (if nobody sees the hidden images).

    It’s a real pity, that Parnia appears to have such black and white concepts of what might be going on. If these new OBE studies get no results (which will prove to be the case I’m afraid), they will be used by critics to dissuade further research into NDE’s. If that were to happen, it would be a tragedy for future research in this area, which I believe has potential to provide us with clues about our perception of time and space, consciousness, and how our brain functions.

    • tim October 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Hi, Max,
      Obviously I don’t agree with your comments above but we have already agreed to disagree so no point in going back there.

      “If these new OBE studies get no results (which will prove to be the case I’m afraid), they will be used by critics to dissuade further research into NDE’s”

      The Aware study is a pilot I believe and will be followed by a bigger study, I’m sure I’ve heard Parnia say…apologies if I’m wrong. Chris Carter stated this so I assume he must have asked Parnia.

      I agree with you Max that getting a hit is going to very difficult but any accurate veridical
      observations are also going to be published so if he is also using video cameras it should be possible to see for ourselves whether there is a conventional explanation ( for any accurate reports)

      Finally, Penny, thanks for posting these.

  3. Max_B October 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    You may have seen this presentation given by Parnia at the APRU last year… worthy of watching if you haven’t…


    @46:00 onwards he talks about the AWARE Study… Video evidence doesn’t appear to be part of the study? …he seems clear that no significant positive results will mean “…I think we can stop…” (i.e. no further studies). He also suspects that these reported OBE’s will turn out to be “…an illusion, trick of the mind…”.

    I stand by what I said earlier…

    • tim October 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      I stand by what I said earlier…

      That’s okay, Max, you are entitled to your opinion. I have seen the lecture at Goldsmiths and my take on it is that Parnia felt the full weight of sceptical pressure (Chris French and others were there). What else can you say to a roomful of academics who would no more accept the idea of disincarnate minds than a belief in ET and Bigfoot. So I think that’s why he said what he said, but of course I might be wrong.

      I do believe that something leaves the body. The vast quantity of veridical information that has been garnered over and over again during OBE’s has persuaded me. That and the testimony of the patients who insist that they were out and above their bodies. It all fits perfectly together, a totally convincing and life changing experience.

  4. tim October 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm #


    “There was nothing new….”

    To hear a cardiologist state that the the ‘entity’ that we believe ourselves to be ( not verbatim) …survives some time after cardiac arrest is very significant. I guarantee you won’t find a single professional sceptic that agrees with that.

  5. Tony November 1, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Tim, I agree. It is significant. However this was known simply by reviewing Van Lommel’s study so its nothing really new (which is a few years old now) albeit as tremendous this study was. I was hoping we would hear something more specific on the AWARE study.

    Parnia seemed somewhat more convinced about the idea that life exists after death, but its really nothing new- or different then his original stance so I was dissapointed. Given that death which is defined as no heart, brain, or respitory function, its a process, and it still leaves open whether or not there is some brain activity that is not measureable – and can still exist even though its not measureable with an EEG. Isn’t the EEG only measuring the surface area of the neo-cortex? I assume they don’t have the time to set up an EEG during this type of emergency… So we really can’t assume that there is no brain function. Yes, the lower brain functions may not measure anything either when testing the reflexes, and I assume (with little knowledge on how this goes) that they do test the reflex in the eyes. But still, do we know if something else is going on in the brain even at this time? Heck, we don’t even have the slightest idea how consciousness works anyhow! So there is no additional insight in this regard.

    Penny, I read that part of the study is to use a machine that measures blood flow in the brain. Would you know more about that, and does it add anything to what we already know?

    I personally believe when you take everything into account, something spiritual is going on. Especially when you think that this conscious experience is a heightened experience. And when you think of the neuroplasticity of the brain that points to the mind using the brain for its purpose. And that free-will is an illusion if we take the materialists view, the fact that it is currently not possible to explain how a bunch or neurons, electric impulses and chemicals can even begin to explain what is consciousness, and the veridical OBES.

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      Yes, the EEG measures the surface area of the neocortex but doesn’t measure deep brain activity. During unconsciousness a pupil torch is shone into the eyes to check if they are reacting to light. Fixed, dilated pupils are indicative of brain death although sometimes drugs administered such as atropine or adrenaline may also contribute to this so it is not a definitive test in itself. At present I am not aware of any way of non-invasively assessing function of the deep brain structures.

      It is virtually impossible to conduct an EEG during cardiac arrest because cardiac arrests usually occur very quickly and unexpectedly. In the event of a likely impending cardiac arrest it would take too long to get the equipment and set it up (placing the electrodes on the scalp etc). Even in the event of a cardiac arrest occurring unexpectedly during the recording of an EEG the CPR and would create too much artifact to produce a viable EEG trace. You’re quite right Tony, we have no idea how consciousness works.

      I think the blood flow to the brain device that you mention is a pulse oximeter. From conversation with Dr Parnia when the AWARE study was being planned he was hoping to trial a new pulse oximeter that is easily placed on the patient’s forehead. Pulse oximeters are commonly used in hospitals especially intensive care units – they are small peg-like devices that are placed on a patients finger or ear lobe and they measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. My understanding is that this is a new device that can be very easily and quickly placed on the patient’s forehead to give a reading of oxygen levels – this level can be observed throughout the resuscitation procedure and may give an indication as to how well the brain is being perfused with oxygenated blood.

      Something is clearly occurring in patients who report NDEs / veridical OBEs. I have nursed thousands of unconscious patients and when they regain consiousness they are usually a little disorientated and very spaced out. Yet the ones who have reported a NDE / OBE have been very precise and clear about what they experienced – they may not understand the experience but it is a heightened state of consciousness that they report and not simply an unconscious experience / hallucination. The two kinds of experience are very different indeed but unless people are familiar with both kinds of experiences then it is easy to understand why they so often get massed together as the same kind of experience.

      I think new research into neuroplasticity will contribute greatly to our understanding of consciouness.

  6. tim November 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    ” But still, do we know if something
    else is going on in the brain even at this time?”

    Hi, Tony

    As I understand it, the neo cortex is always necessary for all normal
    human experience… thinking, processing information, forming memories which are all part of the NDE. I’m baffled by sceptics who suggest that some deep structure in the brain could still be functioning etc. This goes against what has already been agreed by
    neurologists etc. It’s called moving the goal posts and
    it doesn’t make any sense as Eben Alexander has explained. His neo
    cortex was totally shut down therfore no experience should have been

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

      Good point Tim.

      How about if I throw a spanner in the works to evoke more responses and ask – is it possible that deep brain structures are in some way involved but we just don’t understand in which way yet? Are NDEs showing us that there is more to the functioning of the neo cortex (and deep brain structures) than we currently understand therefore expanding our understanding of brain function? I don’t know the answers to these questions but there are so many possibilities to consider. It’s really exciting exploring different perspectives and I welcome ideas from everyone who wishes to contribute to the blog. I’m not saying that NDEs are just attributable to brain processes but there may be brain processes that are correlated with experiencing a NDE i.e. certain processes may occur as the NDE is experienced but these processes don’t create the NDE as many sceptics believe.

      Further research into NDEs is essential for us to gain a greater understanding of both consciousness and brain function in relation to consciousness.

      • tim November 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

        “– is it possible that deep brain structures are in some way involved but we just don’t understand in which way yet? ”

        Thanks for the response, Penny.

        I suppose it is theoretically possible that there is something, some area deep in the brain responsible but it seems to me just as difficult to accept (for science ) as the dualist theory (which I do believe).
        To propose deep structure, one has to disregard veridical OBE’s and the narative given, then you have to rewrite the text books on how the brain supposedly creates our reality. You have to give this new area of the brain powers of paranormal information gathering and also come up with a way that it might accomplish all this when it is receiving less and less oxygen and then no oxygen in the space of fifteen seconds to sixty seconds or so.

        I’ve tried to think how this might work but it just sounds preposterous to me. Of course, a disembodied mind sounds preposterous too, I know that… but then we are back at the beginning.
        The sequence of events in the NDE makes sense if you take it at face value for what the experiencers tell us.
        Thousands of sound minded cardiac arrest patients claim they have seen (actually seen not visualised) their physical bodies. They are adamant about this so I assume that if I had a cardic arrest (with OBE) I would also KNOW that I had really seen my own body. I can’t get round this and it has convinced me. I have spoken to quite a few people over the years who have ecountered the phenomenom and Have qizzed them. One was fairly recently when I was visiting my Mother in hospital. The chap was in the next bed with his wife sitting next to him. I can’t remember how he got started on it but he did and he told me that during his cardic arrest he ACTUALLY saw himself on the bed below. I was fascinated as you might have expected me to be 🙂 but I didn’t say that I was interested in the subject, rather I played the sceptic (very gently) and asked a few questions while I had the chance (he wanted me to ask, I’m sure)

        “Are you certain you actually saw your real
        body ? ”

        “Oh yes, absolutely I did and I looked dreadful etc”

        “So you don’t think it could have been your imagination then ? ”

        “No, I don’t, I know what I saw”

        His wife assured me, “He’s not the kind of man to make somthing up like this you know”

        “It’s okay don’t worry I believe him and thanks for telling me ”

        I then carried on talking to my Mother who is deaf and kept asking me to tell her what the man was saying (which I did later). My elderly Mother who is very religious dismissed it as nonsense.

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

        Yes, these different ways of looking at things really make me think. It can be quite mind boggling.

        I totally agree about what you said about the man you spoke to at the hospital. I have spoken to patients, some of whom were in my study and others since who were absolutely adamant that they had seen their actual body. Whenever I’ve enquired if it could have been a trick of the mind or some kind of hallucination they were even more adamant that this was a very real experience and ‘realer than real’.

        This phenomenon is always going to keep me fascinated.

  7. Max_B November 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m baffled by sceptics who suggest that some deep structure in the brain could still be functioning etc.

    I can’t understand why you are baffled Tim… it seems perfectly logical to accept this as at least a possibility.

    You can argue until the cows come home that they were dead, brain was dead etc… but it’s impossible for research to make any headway here… the fact that these patients are always successful resusitated indicates that brain function was viable throughout the period they were clinically dead.

    The important point is the occasional verified OBE component of these monitored NDE’s, which provide strong evidence that the patient has aquired information by a currently unknown mechanism.

    That’s why I’m frustrated with these studies which concentrate on hidden pictures on high. They only need to concentrate on designing experiments which set out to prove these patients get information by an unknown mechanism.

    That’s the first stage, and its enough. Studies like AWARE are over reaching themselves in my view, and they will be proved wrong with their ‘disembodied eyes’ theory.

    Penny, I finally read Sheldrake’s ‘Parrot’ paper, thanks for pointing it out as worthwhile reading. It seems to confirms my own personal experience of telepathy with visual imagery, and thus my own ideas about the transmission of ‘visual imagery’ over ‘space’ during these verified OBE’s, in particular when it’s of an ’emotional’ and ‘relevant’ nature, and thus probably over ‘time’ as well.

    • tim November 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

      Hi, Max,
      You make some interesting points but we are going over the same ground again. I can’t envisage or understand how a piece of brain tissue deep in one of the lobes can gather information in the form of visual real time perception independently (or not whatever) from the conscious mind in the neo cortex. I don’t know of any scientist that does either (maybe Persinger)so it’s just a theory.

      “You can argue until the cows come home that they were dead, brain was dead etc… but it’s impossible for research to make any headway here… ”

      I wouldn’t want to argue to that extent, Max, but I do believe I’m simply following what is known currently and proposed currently. I don’t think Sam Parnia would agree with you either and I consider him a very worthy source.
      I think your theory is a little like super psi but that in itself is really just as hard to accept as disembodied minds.

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

        Just a quick note in response about Persinger. Have you read The Spiritual Brainby Dr Mario Beauregard? He presents a thorough critique of Persinger’s God helmet work that you may find interesting.

  8. Max_B November 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    “I think your theory is a little like super psi but that in itself is really just as hard to accept as disembodied minds.”

    Tim, it’s much easier for me to believe because I’ve had one highly unusual experience myself, that I’ve tried to make sense of… 🙂


    I ruled out ‘premonition’, because the imagery was at night, and we only visited during the day.

    The popular candidate was was that I was somehow ‘disembodied’, however…

    1) The gate opened to allow me to pass through, as if pushed open.
    2) I moved through the gate and across the yard at one height, and the position whilst looking at the gate was higher than my actual height at the time, which suggests the unknown broadcaster was taller than me.
    3) The focus of vision moved to the kitchen step as I crossed the yard, just as you would expect, if you were watching where you were putting your feet at night.

    I was forced to dispense with the ‘disembodied’ theory, however attractive it was, because of these points.

    I was left with ‘telepathy’, this fitted better. It also has an additional bonus, because the experience included very strong emotional content (fear). I have absolutely no reason to have been frightened in that situation, it felt more likely that I was experiencing somebody elses fear. From my own research, strong emotion appears to be a typical component of telepathic type experiences.

    My sticking point is that I have no explanation as to why I could not see any part of the broadcasters body. I can see why this makes people believe they are ‘disembodied’, hence the term OBE. Perhaps the visual awareness of our own body is added by our brain after the fact, where as in the raw sensory data it doesn’t actually appear, because it is in our peripheral vision and thus hidden, and therefore doesn’t appear in live broadcast telepathic imagery? Or, perhaps we simply don’t understand how vision is created?

    It was the failure to see any part of the broadcaster’s body, which lead me to consider whether OBE’s during NDE’s, might have a similar explanation as my experience. The more I’ve researched verified OBE’s during NDE’s , the more convinced I have become that they have a similar explanation. It was Rupert Sheldrake who told me to approach Penny and Peter Fenwick with my ideas.

  9. tim November 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Yes, I have read the Spiritual brain but I can’t remember the details of his comments on Persinger so I’ll have a another look, thanks.

    Your experience possibly fits into the category of dream visitations (if I have that term correct). One I recall from memory was a woman who visited her husband on a ship and was seen bending over him by the husbands companion. You say you couldn’t see your ‘body’ so that
    has persuaded you that telepathy is a better explanation and therefore could also apply to veridical OBE’s. The reason I reject that idea is that the vision reported by patients in their OBE’s is by and large crystal clear and often better than normal vision. Wouldn’t telepathy be the same as remote veiwing ? As I understand it remote viewers don’t get crystal clear views of the target scene, rather they pick up visual clues and put them together….

    My take after thirty years of looking at OBE’s is that an as yet scientifically undiscoverd entity exists together with the physical
    body as it’s controller and leaves at death or in a near death situation or sometimes during sleep and meditation. I believe this but of course I might be wrong. Thanks for the debate.

  10. Max_B November 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    “You say you couldn’t see your ‘body’ so that has persuaded you that telepathy is a better explanation”

    Not really… not seeing any part of a broadcasters body puzzles me, but it’s not why I have settled on ‘telepathy’ for the time being.

    Telepathy is my best worst guess because the other options don’t fit as well, and… well it fits with my theory on apparitions/hauntings. The quality of the imagery during my experience was incredible, I can still see the detail of the gate with green flaking paint, with white curled edges of the different paint layers underneath, and grey timber grain. That’s why I acted on it, it had an unusual quality that I can’t really explain, it was very very vivid. It almost feels like the imagery got lodged ‘somewhere’ that it is not normally supposed to get lodged.

    I’m intrigued by the relationship between these two types of phenomena. The first being telepathic type events that are relatively common, and can happen over great distances of ‘space’ but in the same ‘time’. The second being apparitions or haunting type events which are well documented, and occur in a particular location or ‘space’, but from a different ‘time’. The relationship appears to bear some similarity to the complementarity principle of Quantum Theory, otherwise known as Hizenbergs principle of uncertainty.

    This principle states that the more we know about the speed and direction of a sub-atomic particle (quantum level), the less we can know about its position. Hizenbergs states that if we knew the exact speed and direction of such a particle, then it’s position would become highly uncertain, indeed it could be anywhere within infinity. This works the other way round as well, if we know a particles position, then it’s future speed and direction become uncertain. The more you know about one, the more uncertain the other becomes.

    If you exchange ‘time’ for ‘speed and direction’, and ‘space’ for ‘position’, then it becomes apparent that under the Complementarity principle of Quantum theory, the following rules might apply to the previously mentioned phenomena:

    The spatial location of an apparition would necessarily become more defined as the temporal location of the broadcaster in relation to the receiver becomes more uncertain. (i.e. the further back in time the broadcast comes from, the smaller the area becomes in which it can be received).

    Similarly, in a telepathic event, the temporal location of the broadcaster in relation to the receiver is very close, indeed very defined, so the uncertainty principle allows the spatial location in which it can be received to be almost infinite.

    We experience our particular reality because our perception of time is so restricted by our brain, this is necessary to experience and interact with our spatial reality.

    As we die, during the last couple of weeks of our life our brains seem unable to lock-on to time so well, and this causes us to increase our perception of time, which necessarily reduces our experience of space. You get the typical ELE… we seem to know when we’re going to die, dead friends and relatives are seen, coming ever closer in the last few days as space shrinks, and our perception of time increases.

    Anyway… just a few thoughts… its fun talking about it 🙂

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      I’m really enjoying reading all of the dialogue. These are great perspectives and are giving me a lot to think about too – thank you!

    • tim November 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      Wow, most of that is above my head but it is interesting.

      Max, lets see if we can close this down a bit. Do you believe that the visions that the dying see are actual visions of entities that are living (alive) in a different dimension ( Heaven shall we say or the other place if there is one) …or do you think that they are constructs of a dying brain trying to comfort itself ?
      I believe that the NDE and DBV are closely related and the entities seen by the dying always have bodies so if you could answer that I think we might come to a conclusion, because if we just stay with the OBE/NDE I’m sure we won’t.

  11. Tony November 4, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    Regarding the veridical OBE’s I have to ask this because I am struggling with my beliefs on this subject and its so important to know the truth about all this. Although I am inclined to accept them as true out of body experiences, I still wish we can seal the coffin on this debate and it will continue to gnaw at me until then. I still need to personally know if we have some combination of unconscious hearing of what is going on, coupled with the brain piecing these sensory inputs into a story using some type of dream-like thought process. A dream can really add to the narrative of what’s going on and can explain what is happening – in say – other rooms where these patients are not in ear-shot. That is to say, the dream can elaborate on something that is not happening just because it might make logical sense (such as seeing a mother or father crying in another room). See, the thing is we hear a lot of the very interesting OBE’s accounts, and we don’t hear of those that are completely wild and inaccurate. Or at least I don’t. Those would most likely get dismissed as “hallucinatory” and thus do not get into the mix of these OBE accounts that are collected or reported. They would be far less sensational.

    Penny, what’s your thought on this? We discussed the possibility of some type of hearing while unconscious. I believe you also mentioned that some patients in your study reported some hallucinatory accounts. Would you be able to share some of those here?

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 4, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      Hi Tony, I think a lot more research is needed into this subject before we can get any definitive answers. You make a good point that maybe the inaccurate OBEs don’t get reported – I’ll post a comment later on things that I came across with my research regarding OBEs and also regarding hallucinations.

    • tim November 4, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      Tony, here is a case of anesthetic awareness in a woman undergoing eye surgery. Note…she doesn’t/ can’t create a mind model that gets her above and out of her body to get herself away from the terrible pain. The mind model was Sue Blackmore’s invention to get science out of a quandry, how to disallow the reported OBE. It’s loosely based on some psychological studies that have shown that memory can be implanted falsely. But that’s all it is, there is no real evidence that people can create mind models. If you think about it, if the mind model is the explanation for OBE’s …why do we not create them more often in different situations ? Anyway this a good example that shows clearly that the mind model is just a theory and nothing else.


      • tim November 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

        Also have a look at this woman’s experience and the comments of her doctor. An very severely damaged brain, completely out of order and yet a very ordered and life changing NDE. OK, it could have occured just before she woke up but it seems highly unlikely to me.

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

        Thanks for that Tim. I just watched the film clip – very interesting. Again the more cases like this that are reported are showing that there is still a lot more to learn about these experiences and indeed about how the brain can recover from such serious injury.

      • tim November 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

        For anyone that’s interested, here is a Sam Parnia interview with George Noory. If you skip to 11 minutes you will hear him define cardiac arrest and what it means.

  12. Max_B November 4, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    “Do you believe that the visions that the dying see are actual visions of entities that are living (alive) in a different dimension ( Heaven shall we say or the other place if there is one) …or do you think that they are constructs of a dying brain trying to comfort itself ?”

    I have lots of ideas about this area, but the honest truth Tim, is that I haven’t explored any of them properly yet. It’s taken years for me to come up with connection between telepathy and apparitions, that bears an intriguing similarity with Hizenbergs Uncertainty Principle, and the spin off implications that might come from that…

    However, with regards to your question… If you understand what I have said in my last post, you will realise that if the brains lock-on to time becomes unstable, allowing a larger slit window on time, a larger cross-section of time observable to the viewer, if you will. Then on a quantum level, that would open up the possibility of communication across time, but with a greater degree of freedom on receiving location… as time becomes less certain, space becomes less uncertain.

    • tim November 4, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      As I said previously, your ideas are interesting but I can’t really go ‘there’ becauase quantum is not something I properly understand although I have noted the weirdness of it and the bizarre way that particles behave.
      Maybe sometime in the future we can discuss DBV’s etc. Thanks for the debate,

  13. Max_B November 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    “Regarding the veridical OBE’s I have to ask this because I am struggling with my beliefs on this subject and its so important to know the truth about all this.”

    @Tony… this is what gets me frustrated with current studies such as AWARE.

    We are desperately short of experiments which are merely designed to demonstrate that the patient has obtained real information by an unknown mechanism.

  14. Mike Burke February 4, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    Hello Dr, Sartori,

    It’s Feb. 2012 now.

    Have you heard of anything being released, leaked, or hinted at concerning the results of the AWARE study?

    Do you know of any news concerning when something will be released?

    • Dr Penny Sartori February 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Mike,
      As yet I’ve heard no news on the AWARE study. Its best to ask Dr Parnia about the AWARE study. I’ll try to find out some news on it and will post something as soon as I know any details.

      • Mike Burke February 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

        How would someone like me ask Dr, Parnia?

      • Dr Penny Sartori February 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

        Hi Mike, Dr Parnia’s contact details may be on one of his published papers or you could try the Horizon Research website. I’ll also contact him to get an update and I’ll post any information I get.

  15. walt July 13, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Hi Dr. Sartori, from what I have read about Dr. Parnia and the AWARE study, Dr. Parnia is making a legitimate scientific study of NDEs by focusing on the OBE aspect of it. OBEs are the only parts of the NDE that can be scientifically verified. The subjective content of the experience, such as descriptions of the bright light, the meeting of deceased relatives, etc., cannot in anyway be scientifically measured, so are not included in the study. In a NPR interview, Dr. Parnia believed that the disputes concerning NDEs are unnecessary. The term NDE is very vague and what are currently labeled as NDEs may involve a variety of different situations, where the biological processes occurring in the body of the patient will differ from case to case. Because of the ambiguity of the exact biological processes that are occuring, Dr. Parnia does not like the term NDE. Like all good scientists he wants to remove the ambiguity and standardize his experiment. The AWARE study only involves cardiac arrest patients, which involves patients who are clinically dead and then are subsequently resuscitated. So all patients in the study are undergoing the same biological processes, as they are in the process of dying. He prefers the term ADE, or after death experience, for those cardiac arrest patients who report a NDE.

    Dr. Parnia uses the terms, consciousness, pysche and soul interchangeably to refer to the scientific entity being studied. This is rather unfortunate. When he uses the word ‘soul’, this word is usually associated with other worldly and supernatural phenomena in the minds of the general public. Unfortunately, the use of this word may generate a lot of heated debates (see my previous post to the Anita Moorjani thread on the blurring of legitimate scientific NDE studies) by a misinformed public. These are the highly charged and emotional debates that Dr. Parnia believes is unnecessary, and the use of the word soul may be counter productive in reducing these type of debates. My suggestion for Dr. Parnia is to only use the word ‘consciousness’ in his public interviews, since the general public will probably be unaware of the context in which the word ‘soul’ is being used. Another suggestion I have for Dr. Parnia is to try and avoid any mention of life after death in his interviews. If he does talk about life after death, he must make it very clear that in no way can the AWARE study can ever be current scientific proof that there exists life after death. The only thing that the AWARE study can prove is that consciousness can persists up to the limit of time where resuscitation science can revive a patient. After a patient can no longer be resuscitated, current science has no way to tell if the patient’s consciousness still exists after this point of no return.

    What can be said though is that the AWARE study may be suggestive that there exists life after death (that is, a patient’s consciousness may still persists even after the point of no return.) But this is speculative, as life after death cannot be proved with current science. Another possibility to explain why consciousness can exists after clinical death, as the preliminary results of the AWARE study show, is that there may be yet undiscovered brain processes that may be the cause of the NDE. But this is speculative as well, because current science has no clue on how to even look for such processes. Can you please pass my concerns along to Dr. Parnia. NDE is a highly emotional and controversial subject. Dr. Parnia must be very clear concerning what the AWARE study can and cannot prove. When the results of the AWARE study are being written up for publication, may I also suggest to Dr. Parnia to avoid using the word ‘soul’, if possible. This may help to deflate any push back or criticism that the AWARE study may get from his colleagues and the rest of the medical community. I suspect that the AWARE study will be highly criticized as it is, since the results will seem to question the prevailing belief that consciousness is a product of the brain.

    Here is the link to what Dr. Parnia currently says about NDEs:

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 15, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Thanks for this comment Walt it raises very important points.

      • walt July 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

        The science and medical establishment is already hostile to NDE studies. Any mention of spirituality, soul or life after death will just antagonize. This may prevent the results of the AWARE study from being evaluated solely on its scientific merit.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

        Hi Walt, yes I agree with you. The AWARE study is important for many reasons so it is important that it is evaluated on its scientific merit.

  16. walt July 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Hi Dr. Sartori, I’ve been educating myself on NDEs for over a month now. One of the things that has interested me most is the NDE’ers who were resuscitated after clinical death. In an interview in WIRED, Dr. Parnia stated that consciousness has been shown to persist a few hours after clinical death, but I am not sure what evidence he has to support his statement. I am highly confused on this because there is conflicting evidence. OBEs are supposed to be one of the most common features of NDEs, with perhaps over 60 percent of people reporting one. Yet in an interview Parnia said in 1500 cardiac arrest patients, there were only 2 OBE cases. This small number of OBEs in cardiac arrest patients may be an indication that consciousness can only arise in the brain. That is why there is not a larger numbers of OBEs. The 2 reported cases of OBEs could be experimental errors, since consciousness cannot arise when the brain is offline. The AWARE study is being extended into the future because more data is needed before any conclusion can be reached. If the AWARE study cannot get very many OBEs after more years of study, this may be a strong indication that NDEs are products of the brain. Is it true that OBEs are the most common feature of NDEs, and do you know how many OBEs have been reported in the AWARE study thus far?

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      HI Walt, you ask good questions. I haven’t actually read the interview that you refer to but from what I can gather it seems as if Dr Parnia was referring to cardiac arrest patients who have been in a hypothermic state which has slowed down the decay of the cells of the body and enabled death to be reversed. He writes about this is his book The Lazarus Effect / Erasing Death. There are some examples of people, who have been found out doors in freezing weather, in a state of cardiac arrest. When these people were successfully resuscitated they reported an NDE.

      As prospective hospital research is showing, NDEs are quite rare – approximately 11-20% of cardiac arrest patients have reported an NDE. Not all of these NDEs have the OBE component which makes the chance of OBE occurring to be low. I’m not familiar with the AWARE cases so am unable to comment but I don’t think they are due to experimental error. However, in my hospital research there were 8 OBEs reported (not all in association with a cardiac arrest) and there were varying qualities to the experiences reported. I’ve written a long posting about this on a previously on the blog. Out of the 1500 AWARE cardiac arrest patients it will be interesting to see if they had all been interviewed to establish if an OBE had occurred. It may be that there are 1500 patients enrolled in the study but not all of them have been followed up and interviewed. Dr Parnia mentions in his book that following patients up was quite difficult. I can totally understand this from when I undertook my own research – it was utterly exhausting following up the patients as soon as possible after their cardiac arrest.

      These experiences shouldn’t be occurring if the brain is offline if we consider consciousness to be created by the brain. But there are cases reported in prospective hospital studies where this has occurred so to me it makes far more sense to consider consciousness from a different perspective and rather than being created by the brain, it is more likely to be mediated through the brain.

      • walt July 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

        I am trying to understand why NDE studies are in dispute, especially when assertions about consciousness and the brain are made. If I remember correctly, in Von Lommel’s prospective study of cardiac arrest patients, about 10 percent or so of the NDEs included an OBE. Wouldn’t this be considered hard evidence that consciousness may not necessarily originate in the brain? One would think this would be earth shattering news to the medical community and make headlines around the world. Is the lack of publicity because in prospective studies, it isn’t easy to determine the timeline of whether the OBEs occurred before or after the cardiac arrest? Therefore where consciousness arises cannot be firmly established.

        Also I have a question concerning standards of proof. The AWARE study is unique in that it seems to establish without question that consciousness can exist in a non-functioning brain, if hidden targets can be correctly identified. In lectures Dr. Parnia’s hope was that the AWARE study would be able to provide 500 or so OBE cases. Because of the scarcity of OBEs in cardiac arrest patients, this target population may be unreachable. The more cases in the study, the more convincing the results of the study becomes, and the less the results can be disputed. My question concerns what happens if the final study only produced a very small number of OBEs with correctly identified targets. Would this be considered definitive proof that consciousness can arise in a non-functioning brain? In mathematics, one counterexample is all that is needed to falsify a theorem. But medical science is not mathematics, and a different standard of proof is needed.

        Thanks Dr. Sartori for your patience in answering my questions. It’s giving me insights into the difficulties of doing NDE research.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 23, 2013 at 9:03 am #

        Hi Walt, I think there is so much dispute because the information coming from prospective hospital NDE research is at variance with the current view that the brain produces consciousness. Many proponents of the current world view are not convinced by NDE research as it would signify a paradigm shift.

        It would indeed be very convincing if a patient did identify a hidden target. It is very unpredictible when and if an OBE will occur. In Dr Parnia’s earlier one year study at Southampton and in my five year study although we had hidden targets no one saw them. I found that the quality of OBEs varied from rising just a few inches above the body to much higher. Out of the 8 OBE type experiences only 2 were of the quality where the target could have been viewed. Both of those patients stated that they were too interested in what was going on at the bedside than to look around the room.

        Based on the research that I undertook, in order to gather 500 or so OBE cases (of good veridical quality) then I would estimate the research to continue running at multiple centres for at least 20 years. If at the end of those 20 years (assuming all patients had been followed up as soon after the near death event as possible) there were no reports of accurate OBEs I’d be surprised. However, verifying those details could be difficult if there was no target in the location of where the cardiac arrest occurred or if it is investigated retrospectively. As Dr Parnia has mentioned in his book, some of the cardiac arrest cases in the AWARE study occurred in areas where there were no hidden targets which highlights how incredibly difficult it is to research these experiences.

    • Max_B July 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

      If I remembered correctly, in the last interview I heard with Parnia earlier this year (Coast to Coast?) he said that they now had 4000 people who had suffered cardiac arrest. They were getting a 10% survival rate ( 400 survivors ), of those he said 7% (28 people) had recalled an NDE, and only 1% (4 people) had had an OBE.

      However Lommel et al. (2001) got this…

      Elements of NDE Frequency (n=62)

      1 Awareness of being dead 31 (50%)
      2 Positive emotions 35 (56%)
      3 Out of body experience 15 (24%)
      4 Moving through a tunnel 19 (31%)
      5 Communication with light 14 (23%)
      6 Observation of colours 14 (23%)
      7 Observation of a celestial landscape 18 (29%)
      8 Meeting with deceased persons 20 (32%)
      9 Life review 8 (13%)
      10 Presence of border 5 (8%)

      At the 2 year follow up 19 of the 62 had died, but as you can see below 13 of the 62 had actually died within just 30 days.

      Death within 30 days
      13 (21%) who had an NDE
      24 (9%) who didn’t have an NDE

      It seems like those who experienced an NDE, also died at a higher rate than those who did not experience an NDE in his study.

      Considering the delays with the AWARE study, I suspect that they have been back logged. I think they only got a researcher in 2012? I suspect that the initial interviews have been so delayed, that many patients who experienced an NDE have already died. Hence the very low figures.

      However if you scaled Lommel’s 62 down to AWARE’s 28, you’d expect to get around 6-7 reported OBE’s, where as Parnia said AWARE got around 4…

      It would be interesting if Lommel could look back in his data, and find out how many of the initial 15 persons who experienced an OBE, were still alive at the 30 day, and 2 year mark? To see if the death rate remained the same as for all NDE’ers.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 23, 2013 at 9:11 am #

        Hi Max, thanks for taking the time to present this so comprehensively. You’ve made very good points.

        I also found patients in my research who had NDEs but they died (within hours or days) before I could interview them and enroll them in the study. Some of the patients enrolled in my study also died a few weeks or months after their NDE. So, yes you make a good point that some patients in the AWARE study may die before they can be interviewed if there is a back log of follow ups to undertake.

        There are so many factors that make NDEs so difficult to study.

  17. walt July 28, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Thanks Max and Dr. Sartori, I’ve listened to Dr. Parnia’s interview on C2C. He is no longer sitting on the fence concerning consciousness. He is even inferring that consciousness exists after death, stating that if consciousness can persist hours after clinical death, there’s no good reason to believe that it will not continue after death itself. Dr. Parnia also believes in the content of the NDEs too. Concerning belief in the content, his position is now consistent with other researchers like Van Lommel, Jeffrey Long, Raymond Moody, Kenneth Ring, Bruce Greyson, etc. It seems that researchers who spend years studying NDEs cannot help but believe in the reality of the content, even though science cannot confirm subjective experience.

    I have been reading Buddhism and other eastern philosophies for years. Although I have a meditation practice, I have never experienced enlightenment. But I have always believed in the accounts of the enlightened masters, that the experience was ultra real, ineffable, beyond time, unitive with the universe, effused with love, etc. NDE accounts and their consistency with the enlightenment experience further supports my belief in a transcendent realm beyond our ordinary life. Of course I have never been vocal in my belief, knowing that I would be ridiculed by fundamentalist skeptics. I’m curious how the results of the preliminary AWARE study will be written up. If Dr. Parnia makes any mention of his inference that consciousness will continue even after death itself and his belief in the reality of the content, I don’t think the scientific community is ready for such a radical shift in its world view. He will be thought of as a believer in woo by dyed in the wool skeptics, despite whatever the results of the AWARE study shows.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Walt, yes I think our understanding of consciousness is changing as a result of research into altered states of consciousness which include NDEs and meditative experiences and experiences of the great mystics.

      I’m not sure how the AWARE results will be written up but the results may well support the view that consciousness is non-local as opposed to being created by the brain. It will be very interesting to see what the results are but I suspect that the research will have to continue for many more years before there can be enough data to draw any firm conclusions.

  18. Max_B July 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I’m now pretty much convinced that the verifiable OBE portion of the NDE is caused by some type of interaction between the patient and other third party fields. Allowing the patient to catch a glimpse of the conscious awareness of other third parties, and indicating that consciousness is in some way ‘field’ based.

    At present I tend to think that consciousness must have both ‘local’ and ‘non-local’ components only a dual approach makes any sense of the data we have from common subjective human experience. Perhaps some type of ‘local’ synchronizing EM field, that correlates with a different, deeper, and more fundamental ‘non-local’ field based mechanism within the brain that we have yet to discover.

    So I take – what I suppose – is a middle view, that consciousness ‘is’ created by our brains, but that we must therefore modulate, and in turn be modulated by other external fields.

    When I say that, I find myself thinking it sounds a little like John Wheeler’s ideas, who suggested that we must live in some type of participatory universe, with observer-participation creating the reality we all live within.

    Such a system, would I suspect be so subtle and well balanced, that it may prove to be very difficult to find any chinks to allow us to investigate it.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      Hi Max, thanks for this. It does interest me and I think it is worth exploring what you suggest in more depth.

      Have you heard of the work of Dr Martin W Ball and his Entheological Paradigm and also the work of Bernard Haisch? Anthony Peake is currently writing a book called The Infinite Mind Field (out in October) and he mentioned the work of these other authors to me. They look intriguing so I’ve just ordered their books.

      • Max_B July 30, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

        Thanks Penny, I hadn’t heard of any of them before. but I’ve just watched a 15 minute primer by Martin Ball available on YouTube, which is interesting… every time I saw him using his hands to create a complex, cage like, energetic shape of patterns, to illustrate his idea of the Ego imprisoning us, I kept thinking of a complex ‘field’ pattern.

        He talks about using Entheogens, which either dissipate the Ego for an expanded mystical experience, or, where the Ego fights against it’s dissipation, resulting in a bad trip. Hmmm… I’ll have to think about that a bit more… why would people who have good trips, occasionally have a bad one?

        I had a try with some Moroccan Black ‘once’ many years ago at my mum’s flat in Wimbledon. At the time, she was seeing somebody who was involved in the drug trade. During the experience, I had the most disconcerting delayed vision, which took time to catch up with where I was looking, that panicked me. It was followed by a horrible paranoid attack, whilst my mum was talking me down. I think she found the whole thing immensely amusing, as I was convinced that men with guns were going to break in through the doors and windows.

        I had never even considered this before starting to write this… but some month later armed men did break into this flat whilst my mum was there alone, drug dealers looking for her boyfriend who apparently owed them a lot of money. How bizarre, I’ll have to about that some more….

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 5, 2013 at 11:53 am #

        Hi Max, I just watched that clip. It was really interesting especially about the ego fighting against the experience results in a bad trip. In the distressing NDEs there are cases where the person relaxes into the experience and it turns into a pleasant experience.

        Wow, that is really fascinating about your experience, it seems like a premonition. I can see another comment so I’ll read it and reply to that now.

      • walt August 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

        Max, you seem to maintain an extended materialist position that consciousness must arise from a functioning brain. Although no blood or electrical activity is happening in the brain of the patient during the cardiac arrest, you seem to be saying the OBE observations of the patient can be explained by a ‘field’ of consciousness. This is a possibility, but there is a gap. If the patient is tapping into a consciousness field from functioning brains, then the patient during his cardiac arrest is seeing what other minds are seeing. In the context of the AWARE study, this means the hidden targets of the OBE must be observed by someone else in the operating room. So in order for the patient to see the hidden targets, somebody must be positioned near the ceiling observing. This seems to be an unlikely scenario. However your theory can still hold, if somebody below in the operating room is clairvoyant and is able to see the hidden targets near the ceiling. So the OBE consciousness of the patient is still the result of a functioning brain or brains, but some new mechanism must now account for clairvoyance. By considering a consciousness field, this could be a theory to account for telepathy, clairaudience and other paranormal phenomena. If OBEs in the AWARE study are positive, any new materialist position will be equally as hard to verify scientifically as Plato’s position that consciousness does not have a physical basis. Because of your extended materialist stance, I assume that it is your belief that consciousness ceases to exist after death of the individual?

      • Max_B August 2, 2013 at 8:26 am #

        I spoke with my mum, the men didn’t actually break into mums flat, they were banging on the windows and doors shouting to her to let them in, as they knew her boyfriend was inside.

        She wasn’t alone, her boyfriend was actually there. He hid in her bedroom, and told her to call the police for an armed response team, as through a window he had seen one of the men had a gun. The police arrived, and the men left.

        She won’t talk about what happened later in the day, but they left the flat, something very frightening happened to her boyfriend, and later in the day returned to the flat. At which time her boyfriend collapsed in a chair in her bedroom, and asked her to call an ambulance, as he thought he was having a heart attack.

        I asked if she had been frightened by the earlier incident, and she said she had been absolutely terrified that these armed men were going to break in. She also said that her boyfriend had also been terrified whilst hiding in her bedroom.

        During my experience, my mother talked me down during the night in her bedroom, whilst I sat on the bed. Although I was already panicked and frightened by the effect the drugs were having on me, the feelings of paranoia, and the thoughts of armed men breaking in through the doors and windows didn’t start until after I had entered her bedroom.

        It could of course be a co-incidence, but I find it rather persuasive… considering what I know now.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 5, 2013 at 11:58 am #

        This is really interesting, it seems like you could have been ‘tuning in’ to your mother’s feelings that hadn’t yet happened? There are some NDE cases where people have had visions of future occurrences and I’m guessing there may also be some similar cases that occurred during some entheogenic drug experiences.

      • Max_B August 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

        Thanks Penny… I’ve never taken drugs since.

  19. walt August 5, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Hi Dr. Sartori, came across a article written in the Journal of Near Death Studies by Neal Grossman, professor emeritus University of Illinois at Chicago. It explains the mindset of the resistance to NDE studies. Because of entrenched materialism, the Van Lommel and the AWARE studies may have a lot of push back.

    Here is a link to the article which is an enlightening read

    I am not aware of many public intellectuals who are ‘out of the closet’ in their non-materialist beliefs, other than NDE and parapsychology researchers. Neal Grossman is a philosopher with a background in physics from MIT. The only other person I can think of is Rupert Sheldrake. There may be many more, but they may not be vocal about it for fear of being marginalized. This is similar to the state of physics at the turn of the last century. Quantum physics was too radical and did not take take root until after the older generation of classical physicists died out. For radical ideas like the non-physical basis of consciousness and life after death to become acceptable, perhaps it will also take the dying out of the older generation.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      HI Walt, thanks for this link.

      Yes, Neal Grossman has written some very interesting articles. He is one of the few academics to speak publicly about his views and I think more and more academics are beginning to follow his example.

      Things are changing in many ways and thankfully there are some academics who are open minded enough to consider and explore other possibilities when it comes to trying to understand consciousness. We are living in exciting times.

  20. Max_B August 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Walt,

    During the verifiable OBE portion of these NDE’s, I suspect the patient never actually floats above their body, I think that may be just the brains way of making sense of imagery from multiple third parties. The brain is good at that, it can take a jigsaw of visual data, and with it create a massive, smooth and seamless visual experience.

    In the absence of other usual sensory data, I think the patients brain does the best it can to unify the third-party imagery it is receiving into one visual experience, in the process it locates ‘self’ to the most logical position.

    Hence, when there are multiple third parties available, patients should recall both ‘floating’ and ‘first-person’ type perspectives, but, where there is just one third party available, they should only recall a ‘first-person’ perspective.

    Therefore I don’t believe real-time secret & hidden target studies will ever get a hit.

    I try to be open minded on everything else…

  21. Max_B August 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Penny, as you know, I’m pretty convinced that the verifiable OBE portion of the NDE is caused by third parties consciousness interacting with the experiencers brain, which suggests to me that consciousness might well be at least partially ‘field’ based .

    I’ve not wanted to go further than the OBE portion of the NDE until now. Over the last 6 months I’ve been playing around with different ideas which might explain some later parts of the NDE, i.e. that they too might incorporate in some way, the consciousness of third parties.

    Back when I was around 11 or 12 I had my own powerful Spiritually Transformative Event (STE). It contained many of the same elements recalled from NDE’s…

    The rough robes, and hoods, faceless people, a sense of returning home, relief, perhaps a life review, as I felt some shame about the life I had led on earth, reassurance – I asked questions without speaking, and answers were given without speaking, nothing on earth mattered, all that matters was my return, unconditional love, total acceptance, joy on my return, overwhelming emotions, timelessness, altered space, a bright light, clouds, overwhelming music etc.

    Yet my STE did not include some major elements of the typical western NDE such as ‘the tunnel’, ‘relatives/loved ones waving you to come to them’, then ‘waving you to go back’, or sometimes telling you that ‘you have a choice’ (sometimes it’s not relatives of course). These major elements were missing from my STE. When they occur, they generally only seem to occur during the genuine NDE. I’ve been intrigued by this difference for some time. Could these unique elements of the NDE be fitted to something that is going on around the patient when they are dying? Lately, I’ve begun to suspect that they can.

    Some time ago on another thread on your blog, I mentioned my interest in the last 10 lines of Larry_P’s experience on NDERF, where Larry bumps into his surgeon Dr. X again at a wine and cheese event.

    “…I found myself chatting with the physician, Dr. X, the brilliant surgeon who performed the operation on my leg. It was only a short time before that operation that equipment and techniques were available to successfully save the leg and he was one of the few who could do it. As we picked our way amongst the cheeses, crackers, and pickles, he took me aback by saying:
    “By the way, did you experience a near death experience during the operation?” Startled, I replied,
    “Yes, as a matter of fact, I did.”
    “And did you feel you were in control?” he inquired.
    “Yes” I said, and briefly explained my white light experience and my choice to return.
    “Interesting” he explained, “Because I believed I was in control and I wasn’t going to let you go!”…”

    My interest was in what is going through the mind of staff who are resuscitating patients? Penny, you mentioned that earlier in your career…

    “…whenever I participated in a resuscitation, especially when doing CPR, I used to say out loud and in my mind things like ‘Come on, come back to us’…”

    I found your comment really interesting.

    So I’ve been playing around with the idea, that the conscious fields of those third parties who might be fighting for the patients life, or, perhaps loved ones who don’t want to lose the patient, might include field shapes that incorporate concepts of ‘loss’, of the ‘deceased’ whom they have lost in the past, or those that they love, and fear to lose. Whilst at the same time, they might also incorporate thoughts which are willing the patient to ‘..come back to us..’.

    That these field shapes might interact with the patients brain, creating imagery which attempts to interpret the concepts contained within the field shapes, those of of ‘loss’, of the ‘deceased’, combined with messages of ‘wanting you to come back to them’.

    At other times, I can imagine some medical staff’s thoughts along the lines of… “we’ve done everything we can, its up to the patient now, if they want to come back, they are going to have to fight”. Perhaps these thoughts are interpreted within the patients brain as them being given a ‘choice to return, or not’

    I’ve also considered what might go through the minds of medical staff (or loved ones, when monitoring equipment begins to show that the patient is beginning to respond to treatment. Or the thoughts of loved ones, when they see the experiencer responding? It feels like there might be relief, phew they are back’, and/or thoughts of ‘ah he/she’s not going anywhere, they are not leaving us yet’ perhaps interpreted by the patient as ‘it’s not your time’ and ‘you have to go back’ etc.

    Anyway, it’s interesting to put yourself in the mind of the third parties, when reading these NDE’s. I realise these ideas might not be welcomed by many people, but I’d be interested in your thoughts Penny?

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Max, wow there is a lot for me to think about here, thanks for this. First of all with regards to STEs, there are cases which do include common NDE themes such as meeting deceased relatives and the tunnel but thinking about it reports of these elements are fewer than those reported in NDEs. I’d have to go through the archives at the Alister Hardy Society to be sure of this.

      Having read what you have written I think your point is really interesting and certainly something I’ve never previously given much thought to. It does seem very plausible and in fact, just off the top of my head, it may also be connected to empathic / shared death experiences in some way (I’m not sure, I’ll have to think more about this).

      When medical and nursing staff are resuscitating people their focus is totally on the patient and successfully resuscitating them so it could be that their consciousness is in some way being intercepted by the patient. The case that you referred to certainly supports your point very well.

      You, once again, have given me a great deal to think about.

    • Max_B August 13, 2013 at 12:55 am #

      Out today on PNAS, a totally fascinating piece of research… I think it sheds a whole lot of light on the OBE portion of the NDE… although I doubt the researchers would agree…

      Effectively, the researchers made some rat brains exhibit highly synchronised activity, which is very similar to activity seen in wakeful humans when they ‘perceive visual stimuli’ and when they ‘undertake visual tasks’.

      The interesting point is that the rats were in cardiac arrest at the time.

      Borjigin et. al. – “Surge of neurophysiological coherence and connectivity in the dying brain”

      “…Alpha–gamma coupling is associated with visual tasks in humans (35) and is thought to play a role in perception of visual stimuli in humans during wakefulness (36). In monkey visual cortex, amplitude of gamma oscillations shows coupling with phases of both theta and alpha activity (7–14 Hz) (37). These past studies indicate that, in addition to theta–gamma coupling, alpha–gamma coupling is particularly important for visual perception. The high levels of global alpha–gamma coupling found in our studies suggest that the visual cortex may be highly activated during cardiac arrest…”

      “…The neural correlates of conscious brain activity identified in this investigation strongly parallel characteristics of human conscious information processing…”

      How do you get a rat’s brain in cardiac arrest to mimic the activity seen in wakeful human brains when undertaking visual tasks…? Perhaps get the researcher to put their head near the rat? Lol

      It would be really interesting for Borjigin to run the experiment again, but this time totally isolating each rat inside a fully shielded chamber, and see if she gets the same highly synchronised Alpha-Gamma coupling seen in wakeful humans undertaking visual tasks… I suspect not.

      (35). Voytek B, Canolty RT (2010) Shifts in gamma phase–amplitude coupling frequency from theta to alpha over posterior cortex during visual tasks. Front Hum Neurosci, 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00191.

      (36). Siegel M, Donner TH, Engel AK (2012) Spectral fingerprints of large-scale neuronal interactions. Nat Rev Neurosci 13(2):121–134.

      (37). Spaak E, Bonnefond M, Maier A, Leopold DA, Jensen O (2012) Layer-specific entrainment of gamma-band neural activity by the alpha rhythm in monkey visual cortex. Curr Biol 22(24):2313–2318.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

        Hi Max, thanks for this. That is a really interesting way of looking at this research. Indeed, it would be very interesting to see if there was the same type of brain activity if the rat was in a fully shielded chamber.

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