AwareofAware

Evolving news on the science, writing and thinking about Near Death Experiences (NDEs)

Study details have reappeared

Not a huge amount to add at the moment. For a while there seemed to be no formal public record of the fact that the AWARE II study was actually ongoing. However there is now a page on the NHS research site:

AWARE II HRA link

There are details of the study that most who visit this site are familiar with, including mention of the tablet facing upwards. I take these ongoing bits and pieces that surface from time to time to be very reassuring. The study is ongoing, the method seems sound and there is balance in the approach, which will lend it credibility when results are finally forthcoming.

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44 thoughts on “Study details have reappeared

  1. There’s some careful wording by Parnia, naturally but there it is, as before, the important bit…the lap-top on a ‘pole.’

    That simple ‘tool’ or piece of equipment could potentially change the world. Just last night I was thinking what might be the best images to ‘produce’ (on the screen) up there. Immediately what came to mind was a moving picture… but I’m not going to state what I think that could be (in case Parnia has already thought of it) as I don’t want some whinging ‘sceptic’ telling me I’ve invalidated the results 😉

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    • I think they are randomly generated from a pre-selected repository of images. I am hoping there is sufficient blinding involved i.e. that none of the people in the ER, including the tablet operator, know what the image is once the tablet is in place.

      Even more important is that the interviewer in the follow up interview must not know what it is. How they insure this information is protected, and the measures they put in place to SHOW that this information could not be leaked, would be the focus of any attempts to discredit the validity of any potential hits. Weakness there would significantly undermine the credibility of the results. Usually you would have an external agency (CRO) or seperate internal function, overseeing the implementation of the study and collection of raw data. However, this study would not have that level of oversight.

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      • Interesting points but I think we can safely assume that the Aware group ‘know’ the level of blinding that is necessary (to avoid obvious sceptical objections) or at least to lead to further refining of the (continuing) study when more money is available.
        If they choose the images correctly, I do believe there really is a way to get results sooner than later but as I said, I can’t post it, I just hope that Parnia has thought of it himself, it’s really quite simple.

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  2. I wouldn’t be so sure they “know the level” of blinding. The design of AWARE I was not exactly watertight…pictures on shelves? I don’t want to appear unduly critical, as it was brave and groundbreaking, but if there had been a hit or two, this would have been shredded. However, I believe they have learned their lessons and with the money from the Templeton foundation, they should be able to afford decent techniques and employ the services of a sufficiently anal statistician who will give sound advice on this. Even so, building in 100% rock solid safeguards for sufficient blinding is possibly beyond their budget. I deal with this stuff on a reasonably regular basis, so know that it requires resources and independent staff.

    On the other hand, in this case, I feel there just needs to be reasonably robust measures put in to satisfy the majority…some will never ever believe a result that goes against their world view. However, this data is not coming into a vacuum; there are a huge number of highly credible accounts of NDEs and OBEs out there. Given this, should there be 2-3 well documented credible hits, with a documented, provable paper trail that insures interviewers and ER HCPs could not know the image, then we are in business.

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    • You’re worrying me now, Ben 🙂 Is it not reasonable to assume they know the level of blinding required ? If you’re going to build a house, you have to know what the regulations are to get it passed, surely ? Not a great analogy but I would have thought that they will have been scrupulous about this in order to avoid putting in years of work and then finding out they have basically wasted their time. Won’t they have asked the very best in this field to make sure they get it right ?

      I take your point about the pictures on the shelves (if I have it right) you may be implying that patients could potentially have climbed up to have a look before their cardiac arrest ? Of course I don’t have your expertise in this field so I would sincerely suggest that maybe ought to contact Parnia and tell him of your concerns. I think he would be very interested to hear them and surely forthcoming with a proper address/response. This is very important, after all.

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  3. It’s easier to point out flaws than it is to come up with solutions! It is all but impossible to create a methodology that would insure complete blindness without investing substantial amounts of money. For me the basics are this (as mentioned before):

    1. The tablet generates random images once in place, logging in a locked database what image was shown at a certain time. None of the HCPs in the room, or the investigators would know what was projected including the techician operating the tablet in the room.

    2. The interviewer would not have access to this data, and questions would have to be worded in such a way as to insure there wasn’t too much prompting, although it would be fair to ask if they noticed anything unusual.

    3. The analysis of raw data, i.e. images recorded in log matched with interview notes would have to be conducted by an external agency who would be perceived as impartial.

    The reason I may be more conscious of this than the likes of Parnia et al is that I work in the pharmaceutical industry, and help develop, implement and present clinical studies. Doctors will rip any data to shreds that is not clearly generated in a way that strips out potential for bias. Doctors themselves are not always used to this level of scrutiny, although in Parnia’s case I suspect AWARE I was a wake up call.

    As for contacting Dr Parnia, I got a response from one email in the past, but not after that. I’d be surprised if no one from the study reads this blog. It gets a few thousand hits a month.

    Finally, I believe this study will be sufficiently robust, and that any hits observed will be presented along with other data that sheds light on the effects on the conscious and brain during rescusitation, and any potential benefits observed.

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    • I won’t persist with further questions on blinding with Aware 2 simply because I don’t know enough about the field to make a useful response. Could you specifically state what was the wake up call you mention in Aware 1 ? Arch sceptical debunker Gerry Woerlee said the study was first rate but of course he doesn’t accept any of the conclusions of the authors.

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      • Just to add, by strange coincidence I am undergoing some training for a new job I recently started, this time in Cancer research. As part of my job I have to assess the quality of data presented in publications, and I am doing training tonight intended to help me grade study quality. For a study to have internal validity one of the questions asked is whether treatment was concealed – in the case of AWARE II, were the images concealed sufficiently? Another key question is whether providers, patients and assessors were blinded to treatment? I have covered that above – not easy, but at the very least staff in the ER and the interviewer should not be able to see or know what the image was. In addition I feel the tablet operator shouldn’t be able to know what the image might be. The data should be accurately recorded and time stamped somehow, and unlocked only after the interviews have been conducted. This is a bit of stretch, but in an ideal world, it would look something like this.

        A key question around external validity is who is paying for the study…in this case I believe the Templeton foundation is stumping up a significant dollop of cash, and one of their goals is to generate science that supports research into the spiritual side of things. This is like a drug company paying for a study on its drugs…this creates a much higher level of scrutiny.

        As I have said, I seriously doubt they will have been able to cover all bases, and there will be some wiggle room for skeptics even with a number of hits, but that won’t be the end of the world, as long as it is good enough for the majority.

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  4. I have gone over the flaws in the design of AWARE I on previous posts, namely focusing on the inclusion criteria. The pictures facing the ceiling was not good methodology either since this could have been open to suggestions that staff could have seen the pictures and shared this with patients (blinding issues). However, since there were no hits this is a moot point.

    Bottom line is that I have huge admiration for Dr Parnia and the study team, and AWARE I was a bold first attempt. AWARE II is a much better iteration of this study, and if there any hits, will be much easier to defend against skeptics.

    In a court of law direct evidence is considered the most important. This is witness evidence. If the witness is credible then, the evidence is good. Thousands of credible witnesses have testified about their NDEs and OBEs, but the skeptics won’t believe them, suggesting that they are experiencing residual brain activity etc. This study has the potential to validate those witness accounts by proving that OBEs are real. I do think they will have considered blinding, especially the interviewer, but who knows, so little is in the public realm.

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  5. On a previous thread, I think I posted a link to NDE research in Brazil which is gaining a pace. Here is a an Italian doctor, David Vacarin who’s been studying the phenomenon for a decade now. He started out as a sceptic but he’s done a 180 degree turn (apparently) simply because of what his patients told him.

    Why are you interested in NDE’s ?

    … …… My mind had always been very scientific “you touch, you weigh, you measure.” For me pharmacology drew me in (in the sense that I have always been very fascinated by biochemistry, drugs, their effect on humans, and what could be done with these substances) it goes without saying that I wanted to practice anaesthesia. So I went to the anaesthesia department at my university where a professor, famous for his open mindedness, offered me the chance to do a thesis for my medical doctorate on the NDE, “visions” that patients who were about to die, experienced.

    My first reaction was to reject it outright ! I was already determined and fully expecting to do a thesis on anaesthesia or on pain reduction therapy protocols or on the observation of the relevant molecules therein … whatever

    So, I did not say yes right away, it took a good two weeks for me to pick up the phone and ask for more advice on the pros and cons, this and that. Let’s face it, I personally had never heard of a doctor in Italy, at a scientific level,, choosing this subject for a thesis.

    Nevertheless, after two weeks I did say yes. It’s been nearly three years since that “yes” and I think it was one of the best choices I could have made in the professional and human fields. . Occasionally there are some isolated “dots” in our life that are not joined to each other. We cannot understand their relevance and meaning except after looking back and tracing a line that unites them. For me this was one of those dots.

    When I started studying the NDE, I just dipped into neurophysiology and neuro-anatomy, what they had to say on the subject. Neurotransmitters, drugs, experimental models etc. After six months (of study) I was sure I knew exactly how and what was happening (with NDE’s) by understanding one by one the complicated neurotransmitters and receptors that I thought must produce the NDE. I was quite certain that my explanatory models were perfect…..that is until I heard the first patient( now 25 patients) who told me what he/they experienced.

    The first feeling (very unscientific I admit) is that this person had told me something I did not at all understand and I realised that none of the hundreds of pages I had read would be of much help. Definitely, the impression was that after six months of study, the reality was not as it had been presented on those pages of papers/ books…. and hearing that story and subsequently all the others, the models proposed to explain the NDE were not up to the job and simply inadequate.

    Thanks to Dr. Ettore Boyco’s help, which I will forever be grateful for, and through the blog that I have been opening from the very beginning of my studies (the first known to me, in Italy, to talk about the NDE medically- scientifically) I was lucky to meet many other people who had experienced an NDE.

    Thanks to the people I met I was able to grow as a man and as a doctor. I am currently writing a book in collaboration with the same professor of my university at that time, where I try to explain how and why the models that see us only as “made of matter” at present cannot appropriately explain from my point of view, this NDE phenomenon. Each one draws on the experiences gained, as well as from other phenomena, which makes me happier and more suited to my convictions.

    I am in the fortunate position of not having to convince anyone. I study the phenomenon for itself, a bit like a painter painting a landscape … indeed because for me it’s just a passion (also to be a doctor) I do not even need to “sell” my paintings. Many ask me if, from my studies, it is possible to state that there is a life beyond death. When I’m asked that I smile and I say that many of us hoping for another life, or believing maybe we never die, forget that every day is a gift.

    This is for example one of the things that my patients have taught me. But I’m just a doctor, I do not know if there is a life after death, my job is to deal with the sufferings of this life. I do have my ideas and convictions about it though, like anyone else and clearly what I personally came to hear and see has (greatly) influenced me but I am not an authority in this matter.

    Ringrazio gli organizzatori per la loro cortese ospitalità I thank the organizers for their friendly hospitality

    Dr. Davide Vaccarin

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  6. Thanks Tim sounds interesting. BTW are you the sane Tim on sketikpo?

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  7. The more research the better. However, while interesting, unless this brings some empirical evidence to the table, it is not doing more than previous studies. Again, I am wary of anyone choosing the book format to publish their research…it makes me suspicious of motives.

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    • But can you name me a researcher who hasn’t published a book ? The point I was trying to make was that serious NDE research is expanding worldwide and that means they will almost certainly find the same patterns. Dr Vaccarin doesn’t seem to me to be at all interested in profiting from his work, but I guess if you sell books, one can always raise that as the motive and it’s unfalsifiable.

      Maybe his research will lead to their own “Aware” type of study, or maybe they will eventually get funding to collaborate with Dr Parnia and co, who knows but it’s got to be good news whatever happens. I know you’re a Christian, I don’t know if you’re a religious Christian and I don’t need to know, that’s your business.

      Personally, I find religion illogical (I’m a lapsed Catholic) and the people I’ve spoken to who have had NDE’s (during cardiac arrest) didn’t find anything that fitted with religion but I’m not going to start arguing about that. My hope is that the world can eventually move away from rival traditions and simply accept the science of the matter.

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      • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people writing books on NDEs…I love reading them and, as you point out, I have done exactly that and would love to profit from it! I have a problem with people publishing their research in a book without trying more credible less profitable channels first. Publishing in a journal requires peer review, in a book you can print anything you like, and it’s not like we don’t have hundreds of books on the subject already. Another book on NDE’s isn’t going to move global opinion, just reinforce the beliefs of the likes of us, whereas a genuine piece of ground-breaking research with reasonably strong methodology, like AWARE II, has the potential to really move the needle significantly. There is a place for both, but we really need the latter.

        On the subject of religion, I agree it is best not to argue here. You’re right, I am a Christian, but not catholic. I have found nothing in NDE reports that consistantly contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is certainly true that many come back from NDEs saying that religion per se does not matter, but there is also the question of the Being Of Light, who is reported in such consistent terms, that it is possible to ascribe measurable characteristics to it, and thereby hold up against various religious teachings about “God” and see if there is overlap.

        From a personal perspective, I am very comfortable, indeed confident, that by trying to follow the teachings of Jesus I am in line with the BOL. Moreover, it is through a specific more-real-than-life dream that I had as a teenager, that I encountered a being that had all the qualities that NDEs give to the BOL (only it was pitch black!), through saying the Christian prayer. I would be a fraud after having experienced that if I didn’t take it upon myself to follow Jesus and where appropriate share his message. I appreciate that many people are hostile to the Christian faith, and therefore I generally avoid being overt about it here…but you brought it up!

        🙂

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  8. Okay, there might be hundreds of books but certainly not hundreds of well written books examining the data objectively and certainly not hundreds of books in Italy, Brazil, Portugal etc on the subject. I just don’t see why a researcher shouldn’t justifiably publish his material in book format. To be fair, Ben you haven’t really answered my question either which allowed you to side step the issue here. Please can you specifically name some researchers who have not published a book ?

    If you can’t then that objection is not really very valid but of course you are entitled to your opinion. The issue with ‘Christ’ and who he was is a very contentious one as you are aware. I don’t have a problem with him, I believe he incarnated to teach us, give us guidance. I don’t however believe he was sacrificed to appease his ‘father’ and to atone for the failings of his creation though. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    For what it’s worth, I believe the gospels were probably selectively altered in the first three centuries after his death. Whatever the force, the supreme intelligence or whatever impetus (other than that) was responsible for the universe coming into existence, it surely can’t be illogical can it ?

    That’s why I find the majority consensus of NDE reports, particularly the life reviews, compelling. In the life review there doesn’t seem to be an agenda, a ‘measuring stick’ of what is supposedly good, bad and in between that needs to be adhered to, to gain a pass. Rather it seems that it is our motives and intentions that our examined.

    The importance or frequency of attending church for instance, I have never heard of being mentioned by this ‘being.’ Repetition of rituals (of which many religions attach great weight) seems to count for nothing. What does seem to count is the love, forgiveness and understanding shown, not ‘allegiance’ to a doctrine per se.

    Just my opinion, Ben and yes I did bring it up but I’m glad you’re okay with that.

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  9. Yep, all is good.

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  10. Jonas on said:

    Hm. Aren’t the statements that they believe that the phenomenon is physical and that they yet want to install pictures that can only be seen from above kind of contradictory? 🙂

    I have questions concerning the study though. Firstly, how or why would a person that just died care for some pictures on some tablet? If I were in that situation of being in this new amazing state of existence, I could hardly give a damn about some pictures on some poles, especially because I don’t plan on coming back, mind you.
    What’s more likely to capture my attention, some random pictures, or my deceased loved relatives on the other side?
    Secondly: If the study were to result in a negative, would you conclude that NDEs are simply hallucinations? Even If they kind of described what was going on, but they didn’t see the tablet? Or would you refer to the one case from the first study? Some skeptics said the interview was conducted a year after the event, is that true?

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  11. Jonas on said:

    Ah, also: Has anyone any information on the claim of Dr. Kevin Nelson on the NourFoundation-panel discussion together with Dr. Sam Parnia? Dr. Nelson talked about some studies on the eyes opening (and possibly looking around? I can’t understand him very well) during cardiac arrest. Dr. Parnia very much denied that claim, refering to his long time of experience with victims of cardiac arrests in the emergency ward. I can’t find anything concerning that on the internet though.

    However, I just can’t believe that Dr. Nelson would simply make it up or lie, especially on camera. What is the deal?

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    • You’ve made some good points there, Jonas. Kevin Nelson’s assertion that patients open their eyes or their eyes open (automatically) during a cardiac arrest is just plain silly. It may be that very occasionally a patient in cardiac arrest appears to have their eyes open but it doesn’t matter. When the heart stops, consciousness is lost instantly.

      This is simply a fact, I’m not a doctor but all the information in brain pathology at this time (cardiac arrest) is out there for anyone to read. Also if you scrutinise the patients reports, they describe their view (of the scene) as being usually from above… but they also describe sometimes being at the same level as the doctors, watching them work on there body and (seeing the backs of the doctors).

      IMHO Nelson is a creative debunker and an odd one at that. He thinks it’s okay to have faith that there might something more awaiting us all (Gee, thanks Kevin)… but he just doesn’t think that patients who describe leaving their bodies and meeting deceased relatives could possibly have anything to do with that. No, of course it doesn’t….

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  12. To your first comment Jonas…the language is indeed contradictory, but I think starting with a materialist assumption is wise.

    On whether you are going to notice a tablet, I have made the same point in the past, but given that the primary purpose of the room is to save lives, even this addition must have been hard fought for. Also there are many NDEs where the experiencer reports seeing everything, and they are able to remember odd details…undoubtedly we need fate to work on our side.

    Because of this issue, a negative result does not by any means disprove NDEs, but it would reinforce the current stalemate.

    Given Parnia’s work in emergency medicine, I am inlined to believe his understanding of whether or not patients ever opn their eyes or not.

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  13. Jonas on said:

    Thanks for the answers, guys.

    Tim,
    I believe I read somewhere that you had e-mail contact with Dr. Sam Parnia? What is his reaction to Gerald Woerlees objections, as examplified in the following links:
    http://neardth.com/aware-parnia.php , http://neardth.com/aware-study-questions.php and http://neardth.com/aware-study-fick-equation.php?
    Now, I know Gerrys emotional involvement is tremendous, as his entire philosophy seems to depend on that there is no soul/afterlife, but then again, who is not emotional? As a layman however, I can’t object to any assumption of Woerlee, and I’d like to hear another professionals opinion on this. I think Dr. Parnia is very balanced in that view. I also realize that Gerald did not really answer how the man could’ve seen anything

    Ben,
    I think the commentary by Robert and Suzanne Mays under the “news” of the AWARE-study being publicated on the iANDS-website are really on point

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    • “I believe I read somewhere that you had e-mail contact with Dr. Sam Parnia?”

      He was kind enough to reply but the questions I asked were not concerning Dr Woerlee. BTW I’m not a medical professional Jonas, I’ve never claimed to be, either. I’ve had a decent education and NDE’s are something I’ve looked at in detail for decades. I’ve also had many email exchanges with Dr Woerlee, to and fro discussions about some of the main veridical cases. I also was able to assist NDE researchers with a few cases for their recent book which documents over 100 cases of veridical OBE’s and related phenomena. An excellent book with no emotion, just facts.

      Dr Woerlee is a very accomplished anaesthesiologist. He is also a closed minded militant atheist and materialist who simply will not accept any evidence whatsoever that suggests mind and brain are separate. His denial of the new evidence in the Pam Reynolds case is a classic example. That case is absolutely solid (as regards ‘proof’ of the paranormal) but he has continued repeating the same old propaganda, namely that she woke up etc etc, even though the surgeons involved have categorically denied it. When someone is prepared to do that, what can you do ?

      Jonas said “As a layman however, I can’t object to any assumption of Woerlee”

      You can as long as you do your work properly and stick to the facts. Medical professionals, although they are entitled to their dues are not sacrosanct.

      Parnia deals with Woerlee’s assertions here Go to 28-33 minutes

      http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/decoding-death-the-science-and-significance-of-near-death-experiences-1.3884084

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      • Jonas on said:

        Hm, sadly, in that certain interview (?) Dr. Parnia doesn’t explicitly state what is wrong about Gerrys cardiac-massage-theory, he just refers to his expertise on the brain after death “set in”, and then says that there are mainly philosophical objections brought forth. The first however is just an argument from authority, which might be because the interview is meant for laypeople, not the experts.
        I don’t know whether by the latter he meant that certain world views forbids one to under any circumstance accept evidence for the possible transcendent reality of NDEs, as it is certainly the case in Dr. Woerlees case, but Gerrys argument from cardiac massage is not philosophical in nature.
        Now, I’ve read the studies Dr. Parnia cited in the AWARE-study against the CM-theory, but Dr. Woerlee then refers to this Fick-equation in that one link. He then insists that the many cases in the AWARE-study in which some consciousness (?) was present, but that did not qualify as NDEs, point towards that cardiac massage is all thats needed.
        The problem: who to trust? Sam Parnia to me seems very balanced in his views, and I can’t imagine that he shrugs that objection away without having seriously thought about it, while Gerry has a lot of very weak arguments (like the one from memory, or that the soul could, due to its transcendental nature, never be able to see as that needs eyes, lol) and seems to be completly inable to even understand the other sides position. Also, other skeptics don’t seem to subscribe to that view either.
        But I really don’t like to rely on simply believing one party of the other, because I then might suspect that my choice could be emotional.
        I don’t really know why I write this for you, as you humbly admitted you are not a doctor yourself. I guess I will e-mail Dr. Van Lommel then, I just saw your comment down below.
        Something else though, what new evidence is it that came up in the Reynolds case?
        Thanks for taking the time and answer me so far!

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      • Jonas on said:

        Oh boy, I’ve got some spelling mistakes myself now

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  14. It appears as if parnia is hypothesisiing that near death experiences or OBES cab be explained physiologically, due to better perfusion of blood during CPR. I am confused whether the study is aiming to provide physiological reason behind NDE’s or a more “spiritual one. As parnia’s past stances on what causes ndes has been obscure.

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    • “It appears as if Parnia is hypothesising that near death experiences or OBES can be explained physiologically”

      No, it’s just the opposite, Benjamin.

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      • Just a note Tim, that comment from Benjamin came from 2 different identities. I let one fly, but beware of a potential troll!

        I sort of agree with your answer. Personally I think he is trying to avoid allowing any “beliefs” he holds to creep into the study description. One way or another, it is a credible scientific question to ask: “how/why is it that people claim to see from outside their bodies?” As part of a wider study on the potential presence of consciousness and brain activity/blood supply during resuscitation. If it wasn’t framed in these terms then it might not get past ethics review boards.

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  15. Okay thanks, Ben. As long as the questions are polite I don’t mind who it is really.

    And I absolutely agree, it’s entirely reasonable to ask that question, very important…. and we need an answer that satisfies the patients because they don’t buy the standard scientific brain based explanations. Take a look at this video, a QED special on the NDE from 1988. (A bit dated but perfect for analysis of OBE’s)

    The second OBE involving Barbara was very interesting as when she left her body and went up to the ceiling she thought the person in the bed below was her twin sister until she realised that it was herself. So if this was confabulation and people really do confabulate a view of themselves, why would she be puzlled and think it was her twin sister in the bed below and then realise it was her (because of her slightly different nose). Doesn’t make sense.

    In the film it shows the two sisters pushing their children on the swings and they do look nearly identical but I’ll bet when she had the experience 17 years previously, they were actually identical (apart from the nose).

    BTW if you have Michael Sabom’s “Recollections of death” they guy at 20.16 is Pete Morton, the night-watchman. I’d always wondered what he looked like for some reason.

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  16. “Just a note Tim, that comment from Benjamin came from 2 different identities. I let one fly, but beware of a potential troll!!” I am sorry about that, I wanted to conceal my identity, and I thought my first comment wasn’t received hence rewrote it under a different name. My mother had a near death experience a few months ago and it had a profound impact on our lives. I have been searching on the internet about the implications of the experience and am honestly on the fence about them. I want to believe they show a greater path, however, I have seen a lot of scientific explanations about these experiences. The reason why I believed Parnia believes in more materialistic hypotheses due to skeptico interview I came across between him and alex. Furthermore, I have also come across studies talking about talking about CPR induced consciousness “http://www.resuscitationjournal.com/article/S0300-9572(16)00085-X” hence I think I can also see the validity of this hypothesis. I am searching for explanations and hopefully, you forum can comment on that.

    Note: In the study, I linked above the patien describes a floating sensation akin to on out of body experience and I will quote him here
    “The patient was interviewed prior to discharge. He was able to
    clearly recall the events in the ED up until the time of ketamine
    administration. After his ketamine bolus, he then described a
    floating sensation while looking into the faces of the staff ”
    Could you please tell me your thoughts regarding this?

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  17. Hi Benjamin,

    Thanks for fessing up…you are no longer under suspicion of being a troll. Ben is not my real name, so I get the whole concealing identity thing.

    NDEs do have a profound impact on people. Hallucinations don’t, dreams don’t, this is part of the reason why people believe in them so much.

    By way of background, I am a Ph.D. scientist, and I don’t believe the so called scientific explanations stack up. While some experiments have been able to recreate similar events as those observed in an NDE, there are huge flaws. I am not going to go into it here, but ultimately the evidence to disprove the belief that NDEs are the result of the conscious leaving the body, is thin.

    On the other hand, the evidence that the conscious does leave the body is all subjective and mostly unproveable. So at the moment it is down to belief…you can interpret the data to fit your worldview.

    Parnia, in the summary of AWARE II, and in many of his recent writings and interviews, tries to offer a balanced position. As a researcher this is vital. This isn’t something designed to impress the types that live on IANDS, this is genuine medical research examing a number of issues, and is attempting to answer scientific questions, among whether or not the OBE is a real phenomenon or not.

    Unfortunately it will be a while before we have an answer.

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  18. I just want to clarify tim, the study states that there was adequate perfusion of blood through CPR allowing the patient to be conscious during resucitation. He was then sedated with ketamine(he was still conscious, but no longer thrashing around during recucitation) and was able to clearly recall.the recusition and even after administration of ketamine the experience became atleast from what I can infer akin to an out of body experience. Hence I wonder that the hypothesis stated by parnia the ndes and obes can also be a result of adequate blood perfusion during CPR might be right. I just wanted to clarify the context and am looking forward for your input. Thank you

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    • I spent twenty minutes writing out a long post in answer to your question, Benjamin but somehow it got lost after I posted it. Firstly, it wasn’t a study, it was one anomalous case. Secondly, I am not a cardiologist so I can only tell you what is available from those sources (Van Lommel etc) that consciousness ceases in cardiac arrest after a few seconds and the brain shuts down completely after 10-20 seconds. These are established facts and even hard line sceptics accept the general principle of this.

      If you read the second part of the letter, it became clear that the originator (of the letter) seemed to think that Parnia et al were hinting at CPR as a cause of awareness during resuscitation when in fact they were not. My guess would be that that particular patient’s heart was not in VF and was still functioning to some degree. But who knows, has he provided any further details of the case ?

      In any case, it doesn’t help Woerlee’s theory as the OBE was reported when the Ketamine was administered. So was it the Ketamine or a real OBE ? It’s impossible to say but one anomaly does not cast doubt on what is currently known about how the brain shuts down during cardiac arrest. If I have time tomorrow, I’ll post some back up evidence for what I’ve posted once again, I’m not an expert. Why not email Pim Van Lommel with the question, I’m sure he’d be happy to assist you if he’s not too busy.

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    • I’ve posted this from the Aware study paper and I think it additionally addresses your question, Benjamin.

      Among those interviewed 67% (n = 95) were men. The mean age(±SD) was 64 ± 13 years (range 21–94). After stage 1 interview 61%(85/140) of patients reported no perception of awareness or memories (category 1). Although no patient demonstrated clinical signs of consciousness during CPR as assessed by the absence of eye opening response, motor response, verbal response whether spontaneously or in response to pain (chest compressions) with a resultant Glas-gow Coma Scale Score of 3/15, nonetheless 39% (55/140) (category2) responded positively to the question “Do you remember any-thing from the time during your unconsciousness.” There were no significant differences with respect to age or gender between these two groups. Among the 101 patients who completed stage 2 interviews

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  19. Chad on said:

    Hi Tim, for the youtube video you posted, at 23:52 he says “they gave me a shot in the groin… my right side”. But the captions say the left femoral artery. Do you know what’s going on here?

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    • From “Recollections of death” Page 109

      “A discrepancy arises here, however, since the man claims that this shot was given in his right groin, whereas the laboratory slip identifies the site of puncture as LF -left femoral. It is of no significance which side of the body the blood was obtained from, which raises the possibility that the lab slip is in error. On the other hand the man may have been suffering from a left right confusion depending on (summary) his point of observation of his body…..”
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………

      The really interesting point here is not that discrepancy but the fact that he described it as a “shot.” It wasn’t a shot, they were actually withdrawing blood to test the gasses. So if the man had previous knowledge of this procedure (as the sceptics like to believe) he would have confabulated the doctors drawing blood, not giving him a shot. Remember, the guy is flat out dead (legally dead as the attending doctor later described) so there’s no way he could have seen or felt anything (in a normal way)

      BTW I don’t want to turn Ben’s blog into a question and answer session on NDE’s. I’m not an expert on this subject, I just have a decent knowledge about it, that’s all.
      I do believe they are exactly what they appear to be (but I might be wrong). And if any of you young guys thinking about ‘checking out early’ because you’ve become convinced there’s another world, don’t even think about it. You’re here for a reason and you have a purpose. Studying NDE’s is good but ‘near life experiences’ are good too. Just saying 😉 Best regards

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      • I think the left/right is a more serious problem, if I was looking at my body from the distance as in the video, I wouldn’t be able to tell if they were drawing my blood and expect they were just giving me a shot too.

        Why do you say checking out early? Plenty of people in this world are in a position where checking out is the better option.

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  20. @Benjamin. In the back of the new book, “The Self does not die” there is an appendix specifically dealing with this question of supposed awareness in cardiac arrest.

    Woerlee’s best cases are presented there and Van Lommel refutes them all. The book examines all the well known veridical cases and presents many new ones, along with detailed analysis where necessary and I can highly recommend it.

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    • Hey tim. Its been some time. Hope you, and Ben If he happens to read this, are doing well.

      Just a short question since you seem to be well-read on the subject: Is the one verified case of Mr. A in the AWARE-study the same case as the one in Dr. Parnias book “Erasing Death”? With that thing blocking Mr. As view so he could not see the bald man in blue working on him?

      If so, why did Dr. Parnia not take note of that in the paper on the study?

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  21. “BTW I don’t want to turn Ben’s blog into a question and answer session on NDE’s. I’m not an expert on this subject, I just have a decent knowledge about it, that’s all.”

    Fine with me, I’m just too busy to join in. I recently started a new job in cancer research, and it’s a new therapy area for me, so I’m snowed under with reading etc.

    Like

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