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

Two steps forward, one back

Samwise, once again, was first to spot this video. Initially there was some confusion as to whether it was recent or from last fall (2018), but Lucas, who watched the whole thing through, observed that he cited the pig study which was published two months ago. This presentation, made at Grand Rounds at NYU, was given in May this year, likely May 8th:

Link to Sam Parnia Grand Rounds May 2019

Now that I have had a chance to watch the entire video there are some very noteworthy points to make, in particular regarding the current status of the AWARE II study and a complete bombshell of a revelation which I will get to a bit later.

Firstly his presentation is a great review of the history and current state of resuscitation medicine, the area of expertise that Dr Parnia focuses most of his research work on. In particularly he spends time discussing the definition of death. Historically it was when the heart had stopped, there was no breathing and the pupils were fixed and dilated. With the advent of CPR in the 1950s this changed to about 5-10 minutes after the heart had stopped and CPR administered without the heart restarting. However, now it is clear that brain cells, the ones that will have the most significant impact on quality of life after resuscitation, could remain viable for many hours after “death” depending on the type of interventions administered from lowering body temperature to injecting magnesium. This is the area of medical research that Dr Parnia is devoting his greatest energy, and is already producing information that will help extend the period which a body remains viable after cardiac arrest. Bravo Dr Parnia, and we condone you for this great work. However, that is not the thing that gets us most excited on this blog/forum. So if you don’t want to learn all about that, fast forward to about 45 mins in when he starts talking about consciousness and death.

In this section he summarizes the findings of the AWARE I study, detailing the case of the man who had consciousness for 5 minutes and whose account was validated by attending Health Care Professionals (but not by the all important cards). That’s old news for us. He then mentions some of the materialist explanations of consciousness in general without getting into the details, and then the money slide:

half Money slide

This, according to Dr Parnia, is the enrollment status of AWARE II from April 2019. My first reaction was surprise that there had been so few new cases of patients surviving to discharge. In the presentation last year in which he showed data from March 2018, 38 patients had survived to discharge, this meant only 6 new cases. Then I started to look at the numbers more closely. Firstly the math is wrong. If you subtract the number who did not have return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) from the total number recruited, you get 171 not 168. Big deal you say, well 171 happens to be the same number that had achieved ROSC on his slide from March 2018. Something fishy is going on. Either a lot more (all) patients are dying before discharge since March 2018, or they need to get a new statistician, or something else. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Then he threw this bombshell in:

whole Money slide

He casually stated that 10% of the patients who had a CA experienced seizure or seizure like EEG activity before ROSC. This is of course a potentially massive finding and contradicts much of what has been said before about NDEs. However, there is one key omission. There is no data on this slide showing numbers of patients who have an NDE, and even more importantly, there is no mention of correlation between reports of NDEs and this EEG activity. It is possibly the biggest teaser he has ever lobbed out to the NDE community.

Finally, Dr Parnia was scheduled to give another Grand rounds presentation focusing solely on consciousness during CA later in May. Maybe he shed more light on this discovery and managed to get the correct numbers on his slide…we won’t know until it is posted on the NYU site…Samwise will no doubt be the first to spot it.

Of course the skeptics will leap on the EEG activity, but until it is matched with reports of NDEs it is meaningless, and even then may be open to subjective interpretation. It is certainly hugely thought provoking, and at the same time frustrating until we learn more.

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124 thoughts on “Two steps forward, one back

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  1. Quora is not a reliable site to ask questions related to ADEs. You may run into smart people but then there are people like Ian Sawyer that militantly dismiss any proof that goes against their claims.


  2. Why do you people even go on these sites to get yourself worked up? Forums represent a biased sample. Remember how everyone thought Hilary would win from the polls? Same thing happened in Australia, everyone thought labour would win due to polls. People who go online to spam tend to be the most vocal stubborn self aggrandising type, like how polls are dominated by far leftist fanatics, for afterlife/mind body problem discussions are dominated by angry staunch materialist meat robots. Wikipedia is prime example of this, every mod of scientific articles I encountered is a staunch materialist. So is quora and stack exchange from my limited experience, replies will instantly denounce any mentions of views other than “the mind is what the brain does”.


  3. I found this video on NDE’s and dying (link at the bottom). It’s an interview with Peter Fenwick. I’d just like some opinions or further information on what he says.

    He states that his research on Death related phenomena is special because it happened before mass communication existed. Is this true?

    There’s a lot on people being visited by their deceased loved one’s before they die and other spooky phenomena. Now I know Fenwick is respected, I’ve seen him in talks with Sam Parnia and he’s credited by various other names, yet I can’t help but feel confused by the phenomena he discusses as if it is fact. I would love to know where Fenwick is coming from on this, whether he believes it or whether he is merely speculating.



  4. It’s interesting to see the focus has switched to ‘sceptics’. Most of them are actually pseudo sceptics (phonies), ideological debunkers and flat out ‘deniers’. They will never entertain anything other than materialism, no matter what.

    (Example) I emailed Keith Augustine (pleasant enough guy) and presented him with the facts about the Pam Reynolds case (some years ago), facts derived from the surgeons themselves who actually performed the operation, in other words the definitive source. (I actually thought he might like to know, as facts are always better than mere conjecture ?)

    Keith returned my email stating that, he doesn’t believe what “such and such” a doctor says or “that particular” surgeon thinks. In other words, he ignored the only reliable source of testimony. Funnily enough, he does however, accept the word of Gerry Woerlee about the case…(Woerlee, who was not in anyway involved in the operation and just happens to be a militant atheist)…that she somehow woke up (anaesthesia awareness).

    Anaesthesia awareness categorically never happened. The case was..and still is..very persuasive evidence that the mind can continue to exist without neuronal activity thought to be responsible for it. Awareness is basically impossible in that type of operation because of the protocols (the massive amounts of barbiturates administered allied with hypothermia) and her brainwaves were monitored (as effectively flat) all the way through.

    The fact that materialism has a ‘strangle hold’ on academia and mainstream science, basically means that ‘sceptics’ can distort or simply deny any uncomfortable facts they don’t like, and get away with it.

    They are also backed by a ‘legion’ of aggressive teenage atheists and heavily indoctrinated science undergraduates, who see it as their duty to stamp out what they regard as ancient superstition and irrational wishful thinking.


    • Chad on said:

      What amazes me is the legions of young angry teens/science undergrads who cannot understand why materialism cannot explain consciousness. I thought they were trolling but it really does seem they cannot understand it, to them “emergent property” really explains consciousness and they use weakly emergent properties like ant colonies to support their belief. Maybe this is because most people are not trained to think deductively and they don’t know you can’t hand wave any step in a deduction.


      • I think you hit the nail on the head. Modern education is a production line designed to line the pockets of the various industries that feed off it. Huge swathes of frankly dim witted kids end up in “Universities” where they are spoon fed materialism unquestioningly and then credit themselves for doing the thinking. It is a bit depressing to say the least. I mention this issue in my recent book that focuses on the origin of life, and explain why things have become like they are.


    • Excellent post Tim and totally agree. Our society has become very polarised, along political and philosophical lines, which don’t always overlap. I have found repeatedly over the years that a significant proportion of atheists resort to insults in discussions when faced with inexplicable evidence. You are right about our academic institutions, but I don’t completely agree about teenagers. I do think there is an openness to spirituality.


  5. Yeah they make excuses. Pam Reynolds was DEAD. She was dead in every single sense of the word for that given period of time. And people say she or her doctors are mental? I have no words for this level of materialistic bias.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anton Efimov on said:

      About Pam Reynolds… Some of you might remember I also brought up her case a while back.

      Some sceptics insist that the OBEs happened when she was alive – having a heartbeat and without burst suppression. Others say she was dead. How do both groups pinpoint the time frames?

      And once again I’d like to bring up Woerlee. In this article he states that she was simply under general anaestisia during OBEs (the surgeon inserting something into her leg and mentioning narrow veins or when they used the saw in her skull). Later he says that the feeling of “snapping back into her body occurred at 27 degrees with active heartbeat” after an electric shock to restore the heart rhythm. But can a brain register the shock at 27 degrees? And doesn’t it mean she was experiencing something before the shock to be actually snapped back?

      So many question arise. I don’t want to go into the discussion of the possibility of seeing all of this through anaestisia awareness, we discussed this earlier. I’d like to ask your opinion on the following:
      How do they pinpoint timeframes of burst suppression? And when did it start to be used?
      Is it possible to have anaestisia awareness even if burst suppression is applied in small doses periodically?
      Can your brain register information with a heartbeat but at 27 degrees?

      The link to the article I’m referring


      • Anton Efimov on said:

        And here, in this analysis of Pam Reynold’s interview, Pam says that “she didn’t know her aunt had died, but she saw her among the dead relatives” to which Woerlee respons “Pam Reynolds knew her aunt had died at the same time as she herself was admitted to hospital“.

        I find it a little amusing… does Woerlee imply that he knows better than Pam herself what she knew and she didn’t? Or is it some common knowledge the time of death of Pam’s aunt?


      • @Anton Efimov

        Anton said > “And once again I’d like to bring up Woerlee. In this article he states that she was simply under general anaesthesia during OBEs (the surgeon inserting something into her leg and mentioning narrow veins or when they used the saw in her skull)”

        Firstly, Gerry (Woerlee) has been informed numerous times (by researchers and myself) that she was not only under general anaesthesia (when she heard the conversation and observed the bone saw) but she was under burst suppression, a level of anaesthesia in which consciousness is not possible.

        The information came from the definitive source, the surgeon who conducted the operation, Dr Robert Spetzler and also from one of his then assistants, Dr Karl Greene. The information is also available in Spetzler’s published paper on this procedure (Spetzler et al hypothermic cardiac standstill).

        When Pam Reynolds observed the bone saw and heard the conversation about her femoral arteries being to small for cannulation, she had no brainwaves (because she was under burst suppression). Spetzler told (us) this via email. One of the reasons why they need the patient to be literally comatose, is simply because of the necessary brutality of the procedure.

        When she heard that conversation, Spetzler was removing the top of her eye socket (cutting through the bone of her skull). To allow the possibility of someone waking up in that state is unthinkable; that is why the chance of such an event occurring is removed by placing the patient in the deepest anaesthetic state possible, without killing them.

        Gerry, however, continues to deny this fact, because he knows very well that if he were to accept it (which he ought to), he would have to drop his ridiculous assertion that she woke up. Therefore, he carries on issuing statements about the case which have no basis in fact. No one can prevent him from doing so. However, this makes him not a true sceptic but simply a wilful and determined denier.

        As for Gerry’s second set of completely false assertions (around Pam’s observation of her body being defibrillated at a temperature of 27 degrees) it’s almost too ridiculous to waste energy on it. Nevertheless, for the ‘umpteenth’ time…..

        When Pam (somehow) observed her body being defibrillated during rewarming (after hypothermic standstill) her temperature was indeed 27 degrees C, a temperature at which consciousness is not possible. She was also dead (her heart had stopped) and she was still full of barbiturates (anaesthetic). There is no way in the world that she could have been aware of anything in a normal manner, through her physical senses. She was actually dead (Dr Karl Greene stated this)

        Once again, Gerry denies it and keeps asserting that she woke up for the second time !! It’s quite absurd to postulate that surgeons would allow a patient to wake up at all in an operation of this type, let alone wake up twice ! Furthermore, her brainwaves were monitored throughout the operation and no awareness was ever detected, although her charts were examined in detail.

        Dr Woerlee is an accomplished anaesthesiologist. No one would deny that, certainly not me, but he’s also a militant atheist with a clear agenda of peddling untruths and twisting facts about this case.

        He very cunningly poses as an unbiased expert commenter, using his professional expertise in the field of anaesthesiology to try and hoodwink neutrals who are not aware of the facts. Terrible behaviour, in my opinion !


      • Eric on said:

        In regards to this, Gerry knows that AA doesn’t include a patient suddenly becoming able to perceive visual elements such as the tool that she describes. He just doesn’t care, since his “debunking” of the case is still being repeated as nauseum in the web.


  6. Anton Efimov on said:

    I will stop spamming now, last comment, Woerlee absolutely neglects the fact that Pam saw the exact medical way her hair was cut. She expected it to be shaved fully, but saw a veridicial perception of only partly shaved area. But he mentions this point as it isn’t significant! I mean she couldn’t have “heard” her partly shaved head.

    Could you please comment on everything I mentioned, I would love to hear everyone’s opinion on it


  7. David on said:

    You arent spamming. They are throwing crap hoping it will stick.


  8. David on said:

    The more I hear about Pams case the more I understand why Parnia wants to study these. With the dead its uncontrolled. He got a hit and I suspect will get more but that will be the end. In a controlled situation he may get an understanding of the detachment.
    Dont worry about the sceptics. In the US they are going to be far to busy with UAPs.


  9. Remember. Show courage and always look forward. There is nothing to fear but the fear itself. No matter how painful things can seem. No matter the odds in the end you are alive and will always be alive. No matter the hardships each life of yours brings there will always be joy to be had in them.


  10. Eric said > “In regards to this, Gerry knows that AA doesn’t include a patient suddenly becoming able to perceive visual elements such as the tool that she describes. He just doesn’t care, since his “debunking” of the case is still being repeated as nauseum in the web.”

    Ever since this case emerged, pseudo sceptics and ideological debunkers/ spreaders of propaganda, have been distorting the facts to try and neutralise it because they don’t like the implaications.

    Some of the most accomplished medics in America descended on The Barrow Neurological Institute when the event happened. They wanted to find a sound scientific explanation for it, but they never did.

    You cannot stop determined “sceptics” telling lies. Their behaviour is appalling but they’ll never change their minds.


  11. I would like to add some things to the well made posts by Tim:

    Normally, AA results in traumatic experiences. The patients feel fear, is breathless due to intubation, has a feeling of being powerless and they tend to panic. This, if they are lucky enough to not feel pain, otherwise they basically end in hell.

    This doesn’t sound like Pam’s experience at all. Gerry says that the opiates made the experience more pleasant, which is possible in theory, but if she was so “high” from the opiates to feel bliss, how the heck could she have that much awareness? Enough to recontruct the scene from sound alone. If you have ever seen somebody doing opiates, you’ll notice that their awareness is usually incredibly low during while the drugs are in effect.

    Another thing that sounds totally odd is her waking up two times. Waking up one time? Incredibly hard, but maybe possible. Waking up two times? Nah, I seriously doubt about it. Normally (and luckyly) AA is rather short, lasting for a few minutes, and this wasn’t the case.

    Lastly, there is the similarity with other cases. While not researched as extensively as Pam’s one, there are a number of similar events that closely mimic Pam’s experience. If AA was the reason for them, we are having multiple cases of nearly unique pleasant AAs repeating, with a common pattern between them too. It sounds really strange, since AA is very often deeply disturbing and drugs cause highly subjective effects, instead we have a pattern.

    In short, AA seems like a very weird way to explain Pam’s experience, and this is not counting that AA in her conditions is nearly impossibile. Sum it with her magically “filtering” intense noise in one of her ears, filtering it so well she never even registered it while she clearly remembers music and speech, and you get the idea that AA seems very reductive.

    Now, I can’t say we have some kind of definitive proot, but I suppose Gerry is just trying is best to dismiss the case.


    • Anton Efimov on said:

      Thank you for all the answers!

      Furthermore, she noticed her head being shaved in a way she didn’t expect, as I mentioned above, and it turned out to be true. No way she could have « heard » her hair being cut in a certain way.


      • read this, this is the “standard” case of anesthesia awareness. She lived an hellish experience, and she was mentally scarred for a long time with recurring nightmares. She was a bit unlucky, as not all patients having it feel intense pain, but the vast majority find it distressing (you can search papers about it on pubmed, they’ll confirm it).

        What is interesting is that, when she was in AA she also had a NDE. Oddly, this couldn’t come from drugs, as the NDE event would have started earlier and nobody had given increased drugs during her AA, and even more odd is the fact that the NDE started exactly when she was actually risking her life, since they removed her respirator. She was dying in that moment, not before during the AA which only proved horribly painful, and in that exact same moment her NDE “started”. What are the chances of some drugs, already present in her body, to create an experience that has about the same pattern as hundreds or thousands of other in the exact same moment where she was actually dying, and not a moment before. And what kind of drug. or naturally released DMT in the brain, just stops the hallucinations abruptly when the cause of dying has been eliminated and the anesthesiologyst came to her rescue?

        They seem, AA and the NDE, two totally non correlated events. The NDE is very brief and starts at a precise moment in time, sending in her in a state opposite to what she was experiencing before. As quickly as it appeared, it vanishes when she is rescued. Drugs don’t behave like that, it takes half an hour at least to get out of a powerful, hallucinatory DMT trip and maybe even more with opiates.


  12. David on said:

    If you really want to drive yourself crazy use google news sam parnia. Some of the stories are so bad. They misquote they get confused between him and the skeptics. I made that mistake today. Just use google scholar instead.


    • David very much on the ball regarding that. If you see in the national post Canada article from April last that misrepresention (bad spelling there) is highlighted.


  13. I wonder how sam’s new program is going in Jun? Has anyone heard anything yet?


  14. samwise on said:

    Many people are starting to believe that NDE´s are caused by DMT in in the brain. This study shows elevated levels when rats have cardiac arrest. I am not sure what to think at this moment but here is the study link and abstract,

    “A significant increase of DMT levels in the rat visual cortex was observed following induction of experimental cardiac arrest, a finding independent of an intact pineal gland. These results show for the first time that the rat brain is capable of synthesizing and releasing DMT at concentrations comparable to known monoamine neurotransmitters and raise the possibility that this phenomenon may occur similarly in human brains.”


    • Chad on said:

      Wow how many rats will they behead just to debunk NDEs?

      Seriously you should question the motives and moral character of these materialists.


    • I still don’t get how you can have a DMT with a flat EEG. the visual cortex isn’t really working at that moment, am I right?


  15. David on said:

    No there is no activity inbthe visual cortex and this stuff is getting really sick . Who is funding this garbage. This is animal abuse period.


  16. David on said:

    If this institution has an animal care committee then it is not doing its job.
    I refuse to read it because these people have never read the Aware 1 study.Dealing with these people is the same as dealing with religious fanatics.


  17. David on said:

    It ticks me off that they have read nothing. If there was brain activity after CA it doesnt matter if there is dmt or no fricking dmt. There is no brain activity after 20 seconds and the events took place long after that. This argument is just as irrelevant as the fact it takes hours for all our cells to die.

    Its time to complain to these animal reserach committees . Clearly PhDs have been handed out like candy.


  18. I agrre on the idea that the study seems really violent for the animals involved. How are they getting the dmt from, are the rats being killed to study them? it doesn’t sound like a good thing to do.


  19. David on said:

    On all points right. That is why I come here.


  20. samwise on said:

    This study and several others like it just confuse people. They could simply ask people, that have tried DMT and had an NDE experience, if the experiences are similar or not. I have personally heard about 10 people with both experiences and nobody said it was similar at all.


  21. Lethal animal tests should only be done on projects that can benefit at least 10,000 people with critical conditions. I cannot understand why murderers rapists sentenced to death are fed better than the average person and given mental support and not also tested on in addition to animals. They torture animals for completely pointless research with 0 benefit to humanity, just for the sake of “curiosity”. Sorry when you add staunch materialists trying to stop NDE research with animal abuse…


  22. Exactly David. Our perception is not limited to the brain. I don’t know where it comes from but it is likely something outside of our bodies as there is still some form perception without any bodily activity.


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