Largest Medical Study Ever: Awareness Continues After Brain Shuts Down (Updated)

Largest Medical Study Ever: Awareness Continues After Brain Shuts Down (Updated)

Mar 29

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• You can read the original, scholarly, peer-reviewed study in The Journal Resuscitation
• Download a PDF version here

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FIRST HINT OF ‘LIFE AFTER DEATH’ IN BIGGEST EVER SCIENTIFIC STUDY
By Sarah Knapton
The Telegraph
October 7, 2014

Original Link

Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.

The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.

One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.

Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines.

“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study.

“But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.

“The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.

“He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.”

Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and 140 said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated.

Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness while nearly one third said time had slowed down or speeded up.

Some recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others recounted feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water. 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed had been heightened.

Dr Parnia believes many more people may have experiences when they are close to death but drugs or sedatives used in the process of rescuitation may stop them remembering.

“Estimates have suggested that millions of people have had vivid experiences in relation to death but the scientific evidence has been ambiguous at best.

“Many people have assumed that these were hallucinations or illusions but they do seem to corresponded to actual events.

“And a higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.

“These experiences warrant further investigation. ”

Dr David Wilde, a research psychologist and Nottingham Trent University, is currently compiling data on out-of-body experiences in an attempt to discover a pattern which links each episode.

He hopes the latest research will encourage new studies into the controversial topic.

“Most studies look retrospectively, 10 or 20 years ago, but the researchers went out looking for examples and used a really large sample size, so this gives the work a lot of validity.

“There is some very good evidence here that these experiences are actually happening after people have medically died.

“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.”

The study was published in the journal Resuscitation.

Dr Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation said: “Dr Parnia and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.”

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Key Points:

• This is largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences

• The 2,060 cardiac arrest cases that were studied come from hospitals in the Great Britain, theUnited States, and Australia

• Of the 2,060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and 140 (or 40 percent) said they had experienced some kind of awareness during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted

• One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room

• Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged: One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness; nearly one third said time had slowed down or speeded up; some recalled seeing a bright light, golden flash or the sun shining; others recounted feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water; 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed had been heightened.

• To test whether or not patients actually left their bodies, each hospital installed between 50 and 100 shelves in areas where cardiac arrest resuscitation was deemed likely to occur. Each shelf contained one image which was only visible from above the shelf. Each image was different and included a combination of nationalistic and religious symbols, people, animals, and major newspaper headlines. Despite the installation of approximately 1,000 shelves across the participating hospitals, only 22% of the cardiac arrest events actually took place in the critical and acute medical wards where the shelves had been installed. Consequently over 78% of cardiac arrest events took place in rooms without a shelf. The report does not indicate if any patients saw these images.

Additional media sources that covered this story:

Results of the World’s Largest Medical Study of the Human Mind and Consciousness at the Time of Death Published
University of Southampton
October 7, 2014

Near-death experiences? Results of the world’s largest medical study of the human mind and consciousness at time of death
Science Daily
October 7, 2014

Life After Life? Near-Death Experiences Suggest Consciousness Continues Beyond Death
By Susan Scutti
Medical Daily
October 7, 2014

Life After Death: ‘Near-Death Experience’ Study Shows Awareness Continues After Brain Shutdown
By Lydia Smith
International Business Times
October 7, 2014

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2001 Dutch Cardiac Arrest – NDE Study

Victor Zammit writes:

“Many people forget that Dr. Van Lomel did a very similar study to Dr. Parnia’s AWARE study which is getting so much publicity in the mainstream press as the ‘first scientific evidence for the afterlife’. Dr. Pim Van Lommel did a very similar study which was published in The Lancet in 2001.

“The AWARE project looked at 330 patients who survived a cardiac arrest, 140 of whom said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated. Dr. Van Lomel’s study looked at 344 cardiac patients who were successfully resuscitated after cardiac arrest in ten Dutch hospitals. Of these 62 patients (18%) reported NDEs, of whom 41 (12%) described a core experience. Dr. Van Lommel’s study also compared those who had a NDE and those who did not after 2 and 8 years.”

Near-Death Experience In Survivors Of Cardiac Arrest:
A Prospective Study In The Netherlands
By Pim van Lommel, Ruud van Wees, Vincent Meyers, Ingrid Elfferich

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RELATED LINKS:

• NDE Articles on Pulse
• How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World
What Near-Death Experiences Teach Us
• The Formula for Creating Heaven on Earth
The Light & The Life Review (v4.4, pdf)
The Essence of Near-Death Experiences In 8.5 Minutes
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When Loved Ones & Friends Pass From This World To The Next
NDEs Absolutely, Positively NOT Caused By Malfunctioning Brains
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• NDE Stories
• NHNE’s Collection of NDE Testimonials – Archive One
• NHNE’s Collection of NDE Testimonials – Archive Two
• NDE Take-Aways
• The Mustard Seed Venture – NewHeaveNewEarth Community Center
• NHNE NDE Social Network
• NHNE NDE on Facebook
• NHNE NDE on Google+
• NHNE NDE on Twitter
• NHNE NDE Bookstore

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