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Near-Death Experiences Explained?

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Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby really? » 13 Apr 2010, 21:57

James Owen
for National Geographic News
Published April 8, 2010

The team studied 52 heart attack patients who had been admitted to three major hospitals and were eventually resuscitated. Eleven of the patients reported near-death experiences.
More http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... n-dioxide/
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby Eteponge » 14 Apr 2010, 02:42

really? wrote:James Owen
for National Geographic News
Published April 8, 2010

The team studied 52 heart attack patients who had been admitted to three major hospitals and were eventually resuscitated. Eleven of the patients reported near-death experiences.
More http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... n-dioxide/

"Near-death experiences are tricks of the mind triggered by an overload of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, a new study suggests."

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Seriously, anyone who actually falls for that explanation, has never even researched the NDE Phenomenon in any depth whatsoever. Not even scratching the surface.

For one thing, there's the very crucial problem, that within 11 seconds of the heart stopping, your brain waves go flat, resulting in zero brain activity. It's far more than just getting a flat EEG reading on the monitor, you have fixed dilated pupils, no gag reflex, etc, among other tell tell signs that shows that no brainstem activity is going on. You will not get electrical activity back until the heart restarts. The brain cannot produce images in this state, and even if it could, you couldn't remember them.

Multiple medical doctors including Peter Fenwick a respected neuropsychiatrist, Pim Van Lommel a cardiologist, Sam Parnia, Bruce Greyson, Ian Stevenson, Melvin Morse, Michael Sabom, and numerous others, will tell you the same thing.

The only sensible person is that article you linked is Dr. Peter Fenwick, who actually knows what the hell he's talking about ...

Still, not all scientists are convinced: "The one difficulty in arguing that CO2 is the cause is that in cardiac arrests, everybody has high CO2 but only 10 percent have NDEs," said neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London.

What's more, in heart attack patients, Fenwick said, "there is no coherent cerebral activity which could support consciousness, let alone an experience with the clarity of an NDE."


Dr. Peter Fenwick Quotations:

"Simultaneous recording of heart rate and brain output show that within 11 seconds of the heart stopping, the brainwaves go flat. Now, if you read the literature on this, some skeptical people claim that in this state there is still brain activity, but, in fact, the data are against this in both animals and humans. The brain is not functioning, and you are not going to get your electrical activity back again until the heart restarts."

"Let's look at the physiological state of the brain and body at the time of reported NDEs. No detectable cardiac output, no respiratory output - they certainly weren't breathing. Neither did they have any brain stem reflexes - in other words they was no activity whatsoever in the brain."

"The first point is that signs of cardiac arrest are the same as clinical death. There is no detectable cardiac output, no respiratory effort, and brainstem reflexes are absent. If you are in this state and I put a tube down your throat, you will not cough. You will have dilated pupils. Your blood pressure has fallen to zero. You are, in fact, clinically dead. Even if I start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), I cannot get your blood pressure any higher than 30 millimetres of mercury, and this is not going to produce an adequate blood flow to your brain."

"When you are fully unconscious, you show the signs of clinical death which is no respiration, no cardiac output, fully dilated pupils showing that your brain stem is not functioning and that is the clinical criteria of death."

Dr. Sam Parnia Quotations:

"During cardiac arrest brainstem activity is rapidly lost. It should not be able to sustain such lucid processes or allow the formation of lasting memories."

".....This is termed the delayed hypoperfusion phase and is thought to occur due to a disturbed coupling between brain function, metabolism and blood flow. Clinically, these observations are supported by the loss of brainstem reflexes such as the gag reflex that indicate a loss of brainstem function, which normally activates the cortical areas via the thalamus."

"As seen these experiences appear to be occurring at a time when global cerebral function can at best be described as severely impaired, and at worse non-functional."

"An alternative explanation is that the experiences reported from cardiac arrest, may actually be arising at a time when consciousness is either being lost, or regained, rather than from the actual cardiac arrest period itself. Any cerebral insult leads to a period of both anterograde and retrograde amnesia In fact memory is a very sensitive indicator of brain injury and the length of amnesia before and after unconsciousness is a way of determining the severity of the injury. Therefore, events that occur just prior to or just after the loss of consciousness would not be expected to be recalled. At any rate recovery following a cerebral insult is confusional and cerebral function as measured by EEG has in many cases been shown not to return until many tens of minutes or even a few hours after successful resuscitation."

Dr. Pim Van Lommel's well-known research study published Peer-Reviewed in The Lancet, a leading medical journal, also notes that cerebral activity flatlines within 4 to 20 seconds of cardiac arrest.

Dr. Pim Van Lommel Quotations:

"You can prove that the brain stem is no longer functioning because it regulates our basic reflexes, such as the pupil response and swallowing reflex, which no longer respond. So you can easily stick a tube down someone's throat. The respiratory centre also shuts down. If the individual is not reanimated within five to 10 minutes, their brain cells are irreversibly damaged."

"The fact that in a cardiac arrest loss of cortical function precedes the rapid loss of brainstem activity lends further support to this view."

"From studies of induced cardiac arrest we know that in our Dutch prospective study of patients who survived cardiac arrest (Van Lommel et al., 2001), as well as in the American (Greyson, 2003) and English study (Parnia et al., 2001), not only total lack of electrical activity of the cortex must have been the only possibility, but also the abolition of brain-stem activity."

"However, patients with an NDE can report a clear consciousness. And because of the occasional and verifiable out-of-body experiences, like the one involving the dentures in our study, we know that the NDE must happen during the period of unconsciousness, and not in the first or last seconds of cardiac arrest. So we have to come to the surprising conclusion that during cardiac arrest NDE is experienced during a transient functional loss of all functions of the cortex and of the brainstem."

"What you see when you induce cardiac arrest is that within one second the blood flow to the brain is zero centimeters per second. Within two seconds, it stops totally. After an average of 6.54 seconds, the first ischemic changes show on the EEG, with attenuation of the waves. After 10 to 20 seconds, you have a flat- line EEG, which means the electrical activity of the cortex is gone. The brain stem reflexes- such as the gag reflex and whether the pupils stay dilated - and the medulla oblongata - where the center of breathing is - stops. So that's the functional loss of your total brain. Well, with a heart attack, if it occurs on the coronary care unit, it takes between 60 and 120 seconds before circulation is restored. If it occurs on the general ward, it takes two to five minutes. If it occurs in the street, it usually exceeds five to 10 minutes, and 90 percent of those people will die."

"How could a clear consciousness outside one's body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG? . . . Furthermore, blind people have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience. NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation. In our prospective study of patients that were clinically dead (flat EEG, showing no electrical activity in the cortex and loss of brain stem function evidenced by fixed dilated pupils and absence of the gag reflex) the patients report a clear consciousness, in which cognitive functioning, emotion, sense of identity, or memory from early childhood occurred, as well as perceptions from a position out and above their "dead" body." (Van Lommel, Van Wees, Meyers, Elfferich (2001). Near-Death Experience in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Study in the Netherlands. Lancet.)

Now, all of that aside, the articles on the CO2 Explanation, like Penn & Teller's BS and other McSkepticism Articles / Magazines / Shows on the topic, conveniently omits the harder to explain verifiable aspects of the NDE all together. You know, the verifiable aspects of the NDE that are the most intriguing aspect of the entire phenomenon, and highly suggest that more is going on here than simple brain chemistry?

Such as, for example ...

* Cases of people having near death experiences / out of body experiences, even during a flat EEG where brain and heart activity have ceased, returning with factual information which they had no prior knowledge of, and numerous cases in which the experiencers returned to life with information unavailable to them at the time of death.

* These include being able to accurately tell the doctors what they were doing while they were clinically dead, what clothes they wore, what procedures and instruments they used, and any conversations being said, including accurate blow by blow accounts of their own resuscitation from a bird's eye point of view, the details of which can later be checked and verified to be true. Even seeing objects, people, and events outside of their normal range of vision in the room, while clinically dead.

* Often times they also describe what was happening out in the hallway, who was sitting in the waiting room, what was happening on the other side of the building, and conversations being said at these same locations, all while they were clinically dead elsewhere. The events witnessed, heard, and experienced later being verified to be true. Even obscure objects on the roof have been seen and verified.

* There are also accounts of experiencers meeting deceased relatives during an NDE that the person did not know was dead, such as a relative or a friend, and finding out that they were in fact deceased after the fact, and learning information from them that they could not have otherwise known.

* There are many accounts of children and adult NDErs learning about relatives and siblings who had died before their own birth that they never met or were never told about, later identified by pictures and civil documents, etc.

* Also, there are cases of people who are blind, and even some people who have been blind since birth, have been able to accurately perceive visual surroundings during their experience.

You know, stuff like that. Hmmm, why do they always omit mention of any those types of cases when they write an article like that I wonder, hmmm?

Here is an excellent list of arguments in favor of the phenomenon by IANDS ...

* Once a person's brainwaves have ceased, indicating that all mental activity has stopped - perceiving, thinking, and remembering - how do we explain their accurate perception of events going on around their 'deceased' body (both sight and sound), and their accurate reporting of events taking place even at significant distances from their clinically-dead body?

* If we regard experiencers' perceptions of dead relatives as just imaginary "wishful thinking", how can we explain their accurate description of relatives previously unknown to them, yet later verified by living relatives and by civil documents?

* If the spiritual component of the near-death experience could be explained away as just an extension of the person's pre-existing belief system, why have confirmed atheists come back after their NDE convinced there is a God? And why have religious believers returned from their NDE with un-orthodox changes to their prior dogmas?

Dr. Michael Sabom was convinced at first that when NDE Patients recounted verifiable details of their own resuscitation, they were merely mimicking what they had seen on TV on Medical Dramas and the like, and hadn't actually authentically seen during OBE. So, he did an experiment ...

* Dr. Michael Sabom did a study on over 57 cardiac patients who had clinically died and were brought back, 32 of whom had experienced Veridical OBEs and had described in great detail their own resusitations during cardiac arrest, and 25 of whom had not experienced an OBE during their cardiac arrest. He had two groups, the experiencers who saw in their OBEs and the non-experiencers who did not, describe their resusitations. To his suprise, 80% of the non-experiencers made serious mistakes. On the other hand, all of the experiencers did not make a single mistake.

Accourding to PMH Atwater in her book "The Complete Idiots Guide To Near-Death Experiences" regarding Dr. Michael Sabom's Research Study...

"Experiencers even correctly detailed readings on medical machines that were not in their line of vision, and described other circumstances they should not otherwise have been able to know."

* Dr. Pim Van Lommel did a more indepth study with 344 cardiac patients independently of Dr. Michael Sabom with similar results.

There's also a woman who did a third experiment of this type that was also successful, I can't recall who though.

Here's some examples of intriguing NDE Cases:

"During my cardiac arrest I had a extensive experience (…) and later I saw, apart from my deceased grandmother, a man who had looked at me lovingly, but whom I did not know. More than 10 years later, at my mother’s deathbed, she confessed to me that I had been born out of an extramarital relationship, my father being a Jewish man who had been deported and killed during the second World War, and my mother showed me his picture. The unknown man that I had seen more than 10 years before during my NDE turned out to be my biological father.” (A case documented by Dr. Pim Van Lommel)

Maria's famous "Shoe on the Roof" case. For those unaware, here is Maria's account ...

"The woman had been floating near the ceiling looking down on her body, during her crisis. She was able to provide precise details of her resuscitation and about the people in the room - where they stood and what they did, what each said - as well as the placement of machinery and the movement of the paper on the floor from the electrocardiogram. These details could be verified, and all of them were.

But that wasn't all. Maria mentioned how she had moved away from her lofty perch to a point outside her hospital room where she could look down at the emergency room entrance. She described the curvature of the driveway, vehicles driving in one direction, and the automatic doors. She remembered staring closely at an object on a window ledge about three stories above the ground. It was a man's dark blue tennis shoe, well-worn, scuffed on the left side where the little toe would go. The shoelace was caught under the heel." - P.M.H Atwater, "The Complete Idiots Guide To Near-Death Experiences

Dr. Kimberly Clark Sharp was present in the room when Maria was resuscitated, and Maria recounted this experience directly to her. She did not believe Maria, and told her it was just a hallucination, but Maria was insistent. So, Dr. Kimberly Clark Sharp went up to the third floor, and found the tennis shoe, on top of a window ledge, she had to reach up and around to grab it. You could obviously only see any details on it if you were staring at it directly from above, as Maria claimed. She went back down to Maria's floor, asked her again to describe the shoe, and pulled out the shoe. Dr. Kimberly Clark Sharp became an NDE Researcher after that incident.

Now, 10 years after this, a team of debunkers went to the hospital, and claimed that Maria could have stood at one of the far corner windows in the room, and seen the tennis shoe far away from that angle, or overheard one of the hospital staff talking about seeing a blue tennis shoe on the third floor ledge. (Both of which, there is zero evidence happened.) Here's the follow up to that ...

"A team of scientific debunkers investigated the blue-shoe case. They took photographs to prove that Maria could have seen the shoe from the window. They could not explain, however, how she saw the scuff mark and the shoelace caught under the heel, especially since she was confined to bed at the time. Nor could they account for most of the other details she saw while out-of-body." - P.M.H Atwater, "The Complete Idiots Guide To Near-Death Experiences"

A different Shoe on the Roof case:

A study on veridical perception in NDEs was conducted by Dr. Ken Ring and Madeline Lawrence. It included the 1985 account of Kathy Milne who was working as a nurse at Hartford Hospital. Milne had already been interested in NDEs, and one day found herself talking to a woman who had been resuscitated and who had a NDE. Following a telephone interview with Ken Ring on August 24, 1992, she described the following account in a letter:

She told me how she floated up over her body, viewed the resuscitation effort for a short time and then felt herself being pulled up through several floors of the hospital. She then found herself above the roof and realized she was looking at the skyline of Hartford. She marveled at how interesting this view was and out of the corner of her eye she saw a red object. It turned out to be a shoe ... [S]he thought about the shoe... and suddenly, she felt "sucked up" a blackened hole. The rest of her NDE account was fairly typical, as I remember.

I was relating this to a [skeptical] resident who in a mocking manner left. Apparently, he got a janitor to get him onto the roof. When I saw him later than day, he had a red shoe and he became a believer, too." (K. Milne, personal communication, October 19,1992)

After Dr. Ring's initial interview with Milne, he made a point of inquiring whether she had ever heard of the case of Maria's shoe [as described in the introduction above]. Not only was she unfamiliar with it, but she was utterly amazed to hear of another story so similar to the one she had just recounted to Dr. Ring. It remains an unanswered question as to how these isolated shoes arrived at their unlikely perches for later viewing by astonished NDErs and their baffled investigators.

Joyce Harmon:

In the summer of 1982, Joyce Harmon, a surgical intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Hartford Hospital, returned to work after a vacation. On that vacation she had purchased a new pair of plaid shoelaces, which she happened to be wearing on her first day back at the hospital. That day, she was involved in resuscitating a patient, a woman she didn't know, by giving her medicine. The resuscitation was successful and the next day Harmon chanced to see the patient, whereupon they had a conversation, the gist of which (not necessarily a verbatim account) is as follows:

The patient, upon seeing Harmon, volunteered, "Oh, you're the one with the plaid shoelaces!"

"What?" Harmon replied, astonished. She says she distinctly remembers feeling the hair on her neck rise.

"I saw them," the woman continued. "I was watching what was happening yesterday when I died. I was up above." (J. Harmon, personal communication, August 28, 1992)

One of the most interesting cases I've read of the blind seeing during NDE/OBE so far was of a man who had gone blind in his early life, and during his NDE, he visually saw and described that the doctor who resuscitated him was wearing a GREEN AND RED TIE (he knew colors since he remembered them from before he was blind) among other visual details that contained color.

Also, in the NDE case of Al Sullivan, who was undergoing triple-bypass surgery, Al had an OBE where he accurately noticed that the surgeon operating on him was flapping his arms in an unusual fashion, with his hands in his armpits. When he came back to his body after the surgery was over, the surgeon was startled that Al could describe his own arm flapping, which was his idiosyncratic method of keeping his hands sterile.

Melvin Morse and Children's NDEs:

"In 1982, while a Fellow for the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Morse was working in a clinic in Pocatello, Idaho. He was called to revive a young girl who nearly died in a community swimming pool. She had had no heart beat for 19 minutes, yet completely recovered. She was able to recount many details of her own resuscitation, and then said that she was taken down a brick lined tunnel to a heavenly place. When Dr. Morse showed his obvious skepticism, she patted him shyly on the hand and said: "Don't worry, Dr. Morse, heaven is fun!."

She also drew a picture of her experience. We see in this picture the "two realities" often described by those who have near death experiences. Above the blue line is "heaven". Below the blue line is a "hole in the world" that opened up to show to this girl her yet unborn brother. She was told that she had to return to "help my mother because my baby brother was going to have some problems". She does not say in words what the problem was, but draws a large heart in the boy's chest. He was born with severe heart problems, several months after this picture was drawn."

She had also seen during her NDE, two people standing by the way side in this heavenly place, and when asked what they are doing, they stated, "We are waiting to be reborn".

The following are some additional examples of Veridical NDEs documented by Moody:

Example 1: An elderly woman had been blind since childhood. But, during her NDE, the woman had regained her sight and she was able to accurately describe the instruments and techniques used during the resuscitation her body. After the woman was revived, she reported the details to her doctor. She was able to tell her doctor who came in and out, what they said, what they wore, what they did, all of which was true. Her doctor then referred the woman to Moody who he knew was doing research at the time on NDEs.

Example 2: One patient told Moody, ..After it was all over the doctor told me that I had a really bad time, and I said, ..Yeah, I know... He said, ..Well, how do you know?.. and I said, ..I can tell you everything that happened... He didn't believe me, so I told him the whole story, from the time I stopped breathing until the time I was kind of coming around. He was really shocked to know that I knew everything that had happened. He didn't know quite what to say, but he came in several times to ask me different things about it.

Example 3: In another instance a woman with a heart condition was dying at the same time that her sister was in a diabetic coma in another part of the same hospital. The subject reported having a conversation with her sister as both of them hovered near the ceiling watching the medical team work on her body below. When the woman awoke, she told the doctor that her sister had died while her own resuscitation was taking place. The doctor denied it, but when she insisted, he had a nurse check on it. The sister had, in fact, died during the time in question.

Example 4: A dying girl left her body and into another room in the hospital where she found her older sister crying and saying:

"Oh, Kathy, please don't die, please don't die."

The older sister was quite baffled when, later, Kathy told her exactly where she had been and what she had been saying during this time.

When I woke up after the accident, my father was there, and I didn't even want to know what sort of shape I was in, or how I was, or how the doctors thought I would be. All I wanted to talk about was the experience I had been through. I told my father who had dragged my body out of the building, and even what color clothes that person had on, and how they got me out, and even about all the conversation that had been going on in the area.

And my father said, "Well, yes, these things were true."

Yet, my body was physically out this whole time, and there was no way I could have seen or heard these things without being outside of my body.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby NucleicAcid » 14 Apr 2010, 03:00

Wasn't this just covered in the thread below?

I'mma copypasta myself to save time because now it's doubly true (media blindly reporting things continues)

After taking Research Methods & Statistics, and reading all the debates in parapsychology, I'm actually a little jaded towards conventional research now. Because it's already plausible stuff, no one bothers to look at it nearly as closely as they do something they are trying to pick holes in. "New research" and "Cutting edge" simply means "Probably hasn't been replicated yet."

In the case of this study, it's okay I suppose. I've written longer reports on SPSS data for in-class exercises. It's definitely prospective: with a group of 11 NDErs, you really can't pull a correlation on much of anything. It's interesting. It definitely doesn't explain NDEs by any means, but it might be something correlated. What I found weird is that they didn't run any sort of analysis on the 'degree of being dead' so to speak. This I think is rather important, especially the degree of brain death they experienced (may preclude remembering experiences). Not to mention lower O2 levels in the brain should correlate with being more dead, which should correlate with NDEs. Obviously, in the spiritual NDE model, you have to at least have a foot out the door in order to have an NDE of the classical variety. I'm also not sure if they differentiate from the feeling of out of body, mystical experiences, and seeing light, vs having an actual OOBE, seeing the room around them, livid experience NDE.

This is why I don't trust media reports of science research, ESPECIALLY cutting edge. It's a good direction to move in, but people (especially non-scientists) attribute far too much weight to things that are meant to be exploratory. It's meant for scientists to read and say, "Hey, that's neat" and want to try it themselves.


I'd like to add, why do skeptics latch onto a study with a tiny cohort size and proclaim it truth, when it supports their belief, but when psi is tested thousands of times, and there is an overall effect, they say that the negative studies negate all of the positive ones and it all must be coincidence? Oh right, my pal confirmation bias.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby really? » 14 Apr 2010, 12:40

NucleicAcid wrote:Wasn't this just covered in the thread below?

I'mma copypasta myself to save time because now it's doubly true (media blindly reporting things continues)

After taking Research Methods & Statistics, and reading all the debates in parapsychology, I'm actually a little jaded towards conventional research now. Because it's already plausible stuff, no one bothers to look at it nearly as closely as they do something they are trying to pick holes in. "New research" and "Cutting edge" simply means "Probably hasn't been replicated yet."

In the case of this study, it's okay I suppose. I've written longer reports on SPSS data for in-class exercises. It's definitely prospective: with a group of 11 NDErs, you really can't pull a correlation on much of anything. It's interesting. It definitely doesn't explain NDEs by any means, but it might be something correlated. What I found weird is that they didn't run any sort of analysis on the 'degree of being dead' so to speak. This I think is rather important, especially the degree of brain death they experienced (may preclude remembering experiences). Not to mention lower O2 levels in the brain should correlate with being more dead, which should correlate with NDEs. Obviously, in the spiritual NDE model, you have to at least have a foot out the door in order to have an NDE of the classical variety. I'm also not sure if they differentiate from the feeling of out of body, mystical experiences, and seeing light, vs having an actual OOBE, seeing the room around them, livid experience NDE.

This is why I don't trust media reports of science research, ESPECIALLY cutting edge. It's a good direction to move in, but people (especially non-scientists) attribute far too much weight to things that are meant to be exploratory. It's meant for scientists to read and say, "Hey, that's neat" and want to try it themselves.


I'd like to add, why do skeptics latch onto a study with a tiny cohort size and proclaim it truth, when it supports their belief, but when psi is tested thousands of times, and there is an overall effect, they say that the negative studies negate all of the positive ones and it all must be coincidence? Oh right, my pal confirmation bias.


I'd like to add, why do skeptics latch onto a study with a tiny cohort size and proclaim it truth

No one's claiming anything
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby NucleicAcid » 14 Apr 2010, 13:19

Near-Death Experiences Explained?


Sure, it's not literally claiming anything. But it's exactly how implicit things like news articles operate. Plays on people's cognition. A news article wouldn't ask the question if it didn't already (think it) know the answer. Bottom line is that it paints an incomplete picture.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby really? » 14 Apr 2010, 20:57

NucleicAcid wrote:
Near-Death Experiences Explained?


Sure, it's not literally claiming anything. But it's exactly how implicit things like news articles operate. Plays on people's cognition. A news article wouldn't ask the question if it didn't already (think it) know the answer. Bottom line is that it paints an incomplete picture.


There's one point that seems to elude you; this small study isn't based upon a person or persons beliefs that are out to prove what they believe. This study if replicated finds that there is no correlation or even causation will be eliminated from the set of possible explanations. That is in direct opposition generally to those that study paranormal stuff; they never seem to abandon any idea.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby Nostradamus » 14 Apr 2010, 23:13

I was curious about the 11 second claim. Ran into this at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1657919-2,00.html
Simultaneous recording of heart rate and brain output shows that within 11 to 20 secs. of the heart failing, the brain waves go flat.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby Nostradamus » 14 Apr 2010, 23:15

I ran into the following http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=481

Also, keep in mind that EEGs are not routinely performed during CPR. It would not be feasible to place EEG electrodes on the scalp during CPR. Therefore we only see the EEG during CPR when the EEG was already in place. I am personally aware of only one case in which this occurred – the patient’s heart stopped while being EEG monitored (and it was not detected for some time, so there was no CPR). Brain waves rapidly decrease but do not instantly disappear when the heart stops. They maintain a low level of function.

In fact, there are reported cases of using bispectral index (a form of EEG that is used to monitor level of consciousness during anesthesia) to monitor the response of brain function to CPR. Effective CPR was able to maintain brain activity as measured by bispectral index – therefore the evidence suggests that CPR is capable of maintaining measurable brain function.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby NucleicAcid » 15 Apr 2010, 00:07

In fact, there are reported cases of using bispectral index (a form of EEG that is used to monitor level of consciousness during anesthesia) to monitor the response of brain function to CPR. Effective CPR was able to maintain brain activity as measured by bispectral index – therefore the evidence suggests that CPR is capable of maintaining measurable brain function.


Cool stuff. Again, this is why anything you read is an incomplete picture. It doesn't mean the information is bad, just incomplete. Treating incomplete information as undisputed fact is, well, silly.

really? wrote:There's one point that seems to elude you; this small study isn't based upon a person or persons beliefs that are out to prove what they believe. This study if replicated finds that there is no correlation or even causation will be eliminated from the set of possible explanations.


Okay, so? That's science. My main point is that it has yet to be replicated. It's interesting, but inconclusive, and exactly my point that I made before, you seem like you've already got the final nail in your hand and are ready to pound it into the coffin. And yes, it is based on a person's belief. Choice of selecting variables to test in an experiment is a function of belief. All thoughts that come out of peoples heads are beliefs. People have a way of looking at the world, and act based on that viewpoint. Just because it's not "religious" or "paranormal" belief, doesn't mean it's not belief. SOMETHING must have given the researchers the idea, "Hey, I wonder if CO2 level is correlated with NDEs," and that something may be incomplete. And anyone who has taken a class on research methods should know that the variables (and especially covariables) that you decide to look for, and the order in which you choose to analyze them, has a HUGE impact on the way the results are processed. Case in point: the debates on PEAR and Ganzfeld experiments. And as always, don't mistake the map for the territory. That should be like, the golden rule of inductive logic.

That is in direct opposition generally to those that study paranormal stuff; they never seem to abandon any idea


All I have to say is correlation is not causation.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby Eteponge » 15 Apr 2010, 05:02

Nostradamus wrote:I ran into the following http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=481

Also, keep in mind that EEGs are not routinely performed during CPR. It would not be feasible to place EEG electrodes on the scalp during CPR. Therefore we only see the EEG during CPR when the EEG was already in place. I am personally aware of only one case in which this occurred – the patient’s heart stopped while being EEG monitored (and it was not detected for some time, so there was no CPR). Brain waves rapidly decrease but do not instantly disappear when the heart stops. They maintain a low level of function.

In fact, there are reported cases of using bispectral index (a form of EEG that is used to monitor level of consciousness during anesthesia) to monitor the response of brain function to CPR. Effective CPR was able to maintain brain activity as measured by bispectral index – therefore the evidence suggests that CPR is capable of maintaining measurable brain function.

The suggestion that "there is still something kicking around in there during flat EEG" has been likewise rebutted by NDE Researchers. It's far more than just getting a flat EEG reading on the monitor, you have fixed dilated pupils, no gag reflex, etc, among other tell tell signs that shows that no brainstem activity is going on. These are routinely checked. You will not get electrical activity back until the heart restarts. The brain cannot produce images in this state, and even if it could, you couldn't remember them.

Dr. Peter Fenwick Quotations:

"Simultaneous recording of heart rate and brain output show that within 11 seconds of the heart stopping, the brainwaves go flat. Now, if you read the literature on this, some skeptical people claim that in this state there is still brain activity, but, in fact, the data are against this in both animals and humans. The brain is not functioning, and you are not going to get your electrical activity back again until the heart restarts."

"Let's look at the physiological state of the brain and body at the time of reported NDEs. No detectable cardiac output, no respiratory output - they certainly weren't breathing. Neither did they have any brain stem reflexes - in other words they was no activity whatsoever in the brain."

"The first point is that signs of cardiac arrest are the same as clinical death. There is no detectable cardiac output, no respiratory effort, and brainstem reflexes are absent. If you are in this state and I put a tube down your throat, you will not cough. You will have dilated pupils. Your blood pressure has fallen to zero. You are, in fact, clinically dead. Even if I start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), I cannot get your blood pressure any higher than 30 millimetres of mercury, and this is not going to produce an adequate blood flow to your brain."

"When you are fully unconscious, you show the signs of clinical death which is no respiration, no cardiac output, fully dilated pupils showing that your brain stem is not functioning and that is the clinical criteria of death."

Dr. Sam Parnia Quotations:

"During cardiac arrest brainstem activity is rapidly lost. It should not be able to sustain such lucid processes or allow the formation of lasting memories."

".....This is termed the delayed hypoperfusion phase and is thought to occur due to a disturbed coupling between brain function, metabolism and blood flow. Clinically, these observations are supported by the loss of brainstem reflexes such as the gag reflex that indicate a loss of brainstem function, which normally activates the cortical areas via the thalamus."

"As seen these experiences appear to be occurring at a time when global cerebral function can at best be described as severely impaired, and at worse non-functional."

"An alternative explanation is that the experiences reported from cardiac arrest, may actually be arising at a time when consciousness is either being lost, or regained, rather than from the actual cardiac arrest period itself. Any cerebral insult leads to a period of both anterograde and retrograde amnesia In fact memory is a very sensitive indicator of brain injury and the length of amnesia before and after unconsciousness is a way of determining the severity of the injury. Therefore, events that occur just prior to or just after the loss of consciousness would not be expected to be recalled. At any rate recovery following a cerebral insult is confusional and cerebral function as measured by EEG has in many cases been shown not to return until many tens of minutes or even a few hours after successful resuscitation."

Dr. Pim Van Lommel Quotations:

"You can prove that the brain stem is no longer functioning because it regulates our basic reflexes, such as the pupil response and swallowing reflex, which no longer respond. So you can easily stick a tube down someone's throat. The respiratory centre also shuts down. If the individual is not reanimated within five to 10 minutes, their brain cells are irreversibly damaged."

"The fact that in a cardiac arrest loss of cortical function precedes the rapid loss of brainstem activity lends further support to this view."

"From studies of induced cardiac arrest we know that in our Dutch prospective study of patients who survived cardiac arrest (Van Lommel et al., 2001), as well as in the American (Greyson, 2003) and English study (Parnia et al., 2001), not only total lack of electrical activity of the cortex must have been the only possibility, but also the abolition of brain-stem activity."

"However, patients with an NDE can report a clear consciousness. And because of the occasional and verifiable out-of-body experiences, like the one involving the dentures in our study, we know that the NDE must happen during the period of unconsciousness, and not in the first or last seconds of cardiac arrest. So we have to come to the surprising conclusion that during cardiac arrest NDE is experienced during a transient functional loss of all functions of the cortex and of the brainstem."

"What you see when you induce cardiac arrest is that within one second the blood flow to the brain is zero centimeters per second. Within two seconds, it stops totally. After an average of 6.54 seconds, the first ischemic changes show on the EEG, with attenuation of the waves. After 10 to 20 seconds, you have a flat- line EEG, which means the electrical activity of the cortex is gone. The brain stem reflexes- such as the gag reflex and whether the pupils stay dilated - and the medulla oblongata - where the center of breathing is - stops. So that's the functional loss of your total brain. Well, with a heart attack, if it occurs on the coronary care unit, it takes between 60 and 120 seconds before circulation is restored. If it occurs on the general ward, it takes two to five minutes. If it occurs in the street, it usually exceeds five to 10 minutes, and 90 percent of those people will die."

"How could a clear consciousness outside one's body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG? . . . Furthermore, blind people have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience. NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation. In our prospective study of patients that were clinically dead (flat EEG, showing no electrical activity in the cortex and loss of brain stem function evidenced by fixed dilated pupils and absence of the gag reflex) the patients report a clear consciousness, in which cognitive functioning, emotion, sense of identity, or memory from early childhood occurred, as well as perceptions from a position out and above their "dead" body." (Van Lommel, Van Wees, Meyers, Elfferich (2001). Near-Death Experience in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Study in the Netherlands. Lancet.)
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby leo100 » 02 Jul 2010, 22:33

really? wrote:James Owen
for National Geographic News
Published April 8, 2010

The team studied 52 heart attack patients who had been admitted to three major hospitals and were eventually resuscitated. Eleven of the patients reported near-death experiences.
More http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... n-dioxide/


This has been rebutted reasonably as Dr. Bruce Greyon points out and i quote

"Greyson told MedPage Today that other researchers had previously looked at blood carbon dioxide levels in relation to near-death experiences. In contrast to the Slovenian group's findings, he said, "what few data we have point in the opposite direction."

One earlier study found an association between these experiences and below-average carbon dioxide levels, whereas another failed to detect a significant difference in patients with versus without near-death experiences.

Greyson also argued that Klemenc-Ketis and colleagues should have corrected their statistics for the number of comparisons they were evaluating. Doing so, he said, would have rendered the association insignificant.


I like to point out also that a blogger who's blog is called Common Sense killer completely destroys two big nde arguments from skeptics.

http://commonsensekiller.blogspot.com/2 ... .html#more
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NDE debate with Steven Novella on Skeptiko Podcast

Postby Scepcop » 02 Dec 2010, 16:58

Check out these NDE debates on Skeptiko Podcast. This one is with Steven Novella.

http://www.skeptiko.com/near-death-expe ... n-novella/

Here is a critique of Steven Novella's NDE arguments and how they fail to explain the data.

http://www.skeptiko.com/critique-of-skeptics-guide-249/
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby Arouet » 02 Dec 2010, 22:52

Dr. Novella has not said that NDE's are fully explained. He has said that progress is being made and we are learning more all the time. I like his approach. This is an area of study that is in progress. The AWARE study is currently studying what happens to the brain when we die. It will be looking at NDE's closely as well. The results should be interested, though it looks now that it will be the end of next year, or early 2012 before we have them.
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Dr. Jeffrey Long presents 9 lines of evidence for NDE's

Postby Scepcop » 03 Dec 2010, 18:20

Check out this interview with Dr. Jeffrey Long of NDERF.org and author of "Evidence of the Afterlife". In it he presents 9 lines of evidence that NDE's prove an afterlife which make a very compelling case. In the third clip, he explains why oxygen deprivation to the brain cannot account for these experiences.







His interview on Skeptiko here:

http://www.skeptiko.com/jeffrey_long_ta ... afterlife/

You can get his book "Evidence of the Afterlife" here:

http://astore.amazon.com/religion-spiri ... 0061452556

Product Description

Evidence of the Afterlife shares the firsthand accounts of people who have died and lived to tell about it. Through their work at the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, radiation oncologist Jeffrey Long and his wife, Jody, have gathered thousands of accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs) from all over the world. In addition to sharing the personal narrative of their experiences, visitors to the website are asked to fill out a one hundred–item questionnaire designed to isolate specific elements of the experience and to flag counterfeit accounts.

The website has become the largest NDE research database in the world, containing over 1,600 NDE accounts. The people whose stories are captured in the database span all age groups, races, and religious affiliations and come from all over the world, yet the similarities in their stories are as awe-inspiring as they are revealing. Using this treasure trove of data, Dr. Long explains how medical evidence fails to explain these reports and why there is only one plausible explanation—that people have survived death and traveled to another dimension.
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Re: Near-Death Experiences Explained?

Postby Scepcop » 03 Dec 2010, 18:26

Skeptics,
A question for you. In this clip, Dr. Jeffrey Long talks about NDErs experiencing 360 degree vision, which is medically inexplicable. How do you explain that? How can one during a hallucination experience 360 degree vision?



Also, how do you explain the NDE's of people blind from birth, as mentioned in the clip above?
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