AwareofAware

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

Happy New Year! Will it be more of the same, or will this be the year the scales tip.

I hope you all had a nice Christmas, and I wish you a Happy New Year.

Last year finished with the tantalising presentation of data by Dr Parnia at the American Heart Association. It was the ultimate tease in my view and gave food for believers and sceptics alike. I don’t wish to reopen the discussion again after over 200 comments in the previous post, but its fair to say that that Parnia Giveth and Parnia Taketh away. On the one hand we had 4 instances of patients hearing things while they were being resuscitated, offering the potential for scientifically verified NDEs (or TEDs…more on that in a minute), and on the other we had data showing that there may have been sufficient brain activity in an undisclosed number of patients that could support consciousness.

I have tried to contact Dr Parnia and other authors on the abstracts, but have not received any answers to my questions on how the auditory experiments were conducted or whether there is any correlation between the reports of subjects hearing real world events and these signs of brain activity. We are therefore none the wiser on the implications of the findings the Parnia team presented. They know, but are choosing to sit on this.

We can speculate, as we have done for many years. We can say that he must have hits because of the way that he commits to the position of the consciousness surviving physical death. However, this is just speculation, and while those who believe have nothing to undermine those beliefs, neither do we have anything new from a meaningful scientific standpoint with which to challenge materialistic orthodoxy. The one thing I hope from this year regarding this subject, is that this state of affairs will end. I hope that Dr Parnia either presents further analysis from the two abstracts shedding light on whether there is overlap between the two subsets of patients (or hopefully that there is no overlap), or that we finally have a verified visual iPad hit.

In the meantime we have a new piece of research presented by Dr Parnia that says more about how he may be trying to reframe the whole subject, than it does about anything else (thanks Eduardo).

Latest Parnia abstract

The findings are not in themselves earth shattering. They describe various NDE like experiences of patients who have been in the ICU, and the potential benefits on the mental well being of these patients. Like I said, nothing new there. What is of note though is the attempt by Parnia to once again change the core terminology of the field. Instead of NDE he uses the term Transformative Experience of Death (TED). As Eduardo asked me in his email…what is he playing at? Why is he doing this? My gut feeling is that he is trying to move the field out of the UFO/paranormal/kook category, which NDEs are unfairly lumped in with, into an area of genuine clinical research in which these experiences that people have at the time of death are examined from a medical perspective, rather than a philosophical one. This may or may not work in terms of allowing the subject matter to become more acceptable to mainstream clinical researchers. Time will tell.

Another shift in terminology is that rather than describing OBEs as OBEs, the language used is subtly different…although the same thing. The percentages in this sample of subjects experiencing an OBE were very high (83%). If only the AWARE study had similar results!

Let’s hope 2020 will be less frustrating than 2019, 2018, 2017, 20…

Single Post Navigation

46 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Will it be more of the same, or will this be the year the scales tip.

  1. paulbounce on said:

    Happy New Year.

    It will indeed be interesting to read the final results when the study is concluded. Personally I don’t read anything into calling the experiences TED. IMO it makes sense and is a good descriptive term.

    Best,
    Paul

    Like

  2. Happy New Year to everyone here.

    As for the subject I would not call those experiences TED and would remain with the original NDE. Even more after this year when the pig study was released and demolished some myths about the brain however that is only my personal opinion on this.

    Like

    • paulbounce on said:

      Which study was this Lukas ?

      Like

    • What kind of myth are you talking about? The problem with any studies of this kind is they tell nothing about consciousness, only what the brain is doing. It’s impossible for one to know another person is conscious, that other people and advanced animals aren’t zombies is inferred from their similarity to ourselves. But for pigs in this study, and in coma patients, and other exotic brain states, even if the neural correlates of consciousness are all present it’s impossible to really know if the animal/person is conscious, since they are in a highly abnormal state very different from our everyday lives. If afterlife is real, consciousness might leave but brain activity still behaves in the same way, making people think that animal/person is conscious but they’re just a zombie. That’s why i think the only study for answering what happens to consciousness is what Parnia is doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • These myths like Science Daily reported:

        The brain of a postmortem pig obtained from a meatpacking plant was isolated and circulated with a specially designed chemical solution. Many basic cellular functions, once thought to cease seconds or minutes after oxygen and blood flow cease, were observed, the scientists report.

        Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190417132805.htm

        Also like David Myers reported the study showed it takes far longer for the brain to die then previously thought and therefore I would not call these experiences TED but NDEs.

        Like

      • Lukas, I think you are confusing myths with ignorance. From our prior understanding of brain physiology, we believed that the brain was no longer viable once the cellular processes of death had begun. This study changes that slightly, in that some basic cellular function may have been restored, but that does mean that the complex neural pathways that “sustain” (host vs generate) consciousness would survive. Moreover, like Chad said, it says nothing of the state of the brain while it was not functioning. Technically it was dead.

        Like

      • Lukas,

        “However, researchers also stressed that the treated brain lacked any recognizable global electrical signals associated with normal brain function.”

        “At no point did we observe the kind of organized electrical activity associated with perception, awareness, or consciousness,” said co-first author Zvonimir Vrselja, associate research scientist in neuroscience. “Clinically defined, this is not a living brain, but it is a cellularly active brain.”

        They’ve only restored brain function hours after death. It’s impossible for there to be consciousness minutes after complete lack of blood flow. Have you ever tried crouching for 30 minutes then suddenly standing up? Experience that and then imagine how someone can possibly have hyper lucid realer than real hallucinations with even less oxygen, the only way for it to be possible is if the part of the brain that “detect” how real/fuzzy something is, is shut down, so the NDEr is really having a very dizzy confused experienced but remembers it as hyper lucid.

        Like

  3. The US Navy renamed UFO to UAP and said they were real whatever they are.

    Like

    • I choose my battles carefully. I am agnostic on what UFOs might be, but you are right in saying that there are confirmed sightings of flying objects that our authorities were unable to identify. I just prefer to stick to the origin of life and NDEs.

      Like

  4. justin Echevarria on said:

    These are self reported cases

    Like

  5. I don’t think the term “TED” is introduced to steer away from the paranormal.
    I guess it is introduced to emphasize the permanent personal transformation associated with the experience, such as losing one’s fear of death, less interest in status and material things, and more interest in building deep and meaningful connections with your fellow human beings.
    This clearly sets NDE experiences apart from all kinds of chemically induced experiences – an often used argument against the many hypotheses of materialistic science.
    It seems that Dr Parnia now wants to embed this counter argument in the very definition of the experience, which is a clever move since it sets the TED experience apart from everything else occuring when people are almost dying.

    Like

    • I understand what you are saying Frank, however, what if someone has an OBE but isn’t transformed? I know such a situation is highly unlikely, but I find the TED term is a subjective descriptive term rather than a scientific objective term…which Near Death Experience is.

      Like

    • @Frank

      Unfortunately some people who have frightening near death experiences can also become frightened of death. Experiences can be repelling as well as attractive. (See Nancy Evans Bush’s book… “Dancing in the Dark” as an example…

      “Quote: The tinge of centuries colors the way we hear today’s near-death experiences and what we make of them. Why should some individuals tell of blissful heights of spiritual experience while others believe themselves at the depths, lost in the stars or consigned to hell?”

      A contributing reason for why we don’t see the frightening experiences very much in these studies, is due to the use of the Greyson NDE scale. Used properly to compare a certain type of experient/experience, with the same type of experient/experience the Grey scale is useful. But one really has to be very aware of it’s limitations when using it to compare with the larger pool of all available near death experiences.

      Like

  6. paulbounce on said:

    Thank you Lukas for posting the links.

    Frank – just one thing. Losing one’s fear of death can be a chemically induced experience. DMT is one such example.

    Best,
    Paul

    Like

    • Yes I agree, transformative aspects can be either positive or negative. Some people get anxiety or depression following CA, others stay the same, a smaller group with NDEs usually have benefits from it.

      And also, I really doubt that the brain is completely shut down during CA, and we know now that it actually has some activity during CPR.

      Drugs and CPR are probably key to understand NDEs

      Like

      • Anton Efimov on said:

        If you read the latest abstract where people experience OBE/NDE during drowning, there are not that many drugs they can be high on… unless they are tripping on water.
        CPR could theoretically cause it post-factum, but we’ll see.
        As of now I wouldn’t say the traces of alpha-waves found during CPR can explain NDEs
        But it’s just my opinion

        Like

      • Anton Efimov on said:

        By the way, by “latest abstract” I mean the one which Ben referenced in this post

        Like

      • @Raf

        Raf said >”Drugs and CPR are probably key to understand NDEs”

        Raf…you keep repeating this statement without justification. Where is the evidence to support it ?

        We’ve got stacks of OBE/NDE’s where no CPR was being performed. (I’d stick some of them up but you’d just ignore them).

        THAT… in itself ought to tell you that CPR cannot be the explanation (any proper explanation has to account for all the data) and with the exception of DMT, drugs have been ruled out in five previous prospective studies. (DMT remains just theoretical BTW )

        Until Parnia finishes his latest study, why not take the hints that are already available to us ? In Van Lommel’s previous study, patients that had a deep NDE were extremely significantly (p<0001) more likely to die within thirty days of their cardiac arrest than other patients…and yet their physiological condition was no different.

        Why would that be ? (as Van Lommel commented) We don't know, of course, but common sense suggests that they more than likely experienced something extraordinary that made them "want to go".

        And it's unlikely that "that something" was merely the joyful prospect of annihilation.

        Like

    • Is this DMT induced effect permanent? If so, I would like to see some references to research.
      Pim van Lommel showed that in case of an NDE, the transformations were still in effect after many years.

      Like

  7. No Ben I do not think I confuse this. Prior to this study with the Pigs there were claims that nothing like that can happen that the brain is dead in mere minutes because there is no oxygen. However after that it changed and according to Nature it also suggested that oxygen deprivation is not so much damaging to brain cells:

    Overall, the feat met with more excitement than concern. Sestan’s results suggested that oxygen deprivation, which can happen during a stroke or severe injury, was not as damaging to brain cells as previously thought.

    Source: https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-019-03749-0/index.html

    True it did not showed consciosness and we do not know anything besides that however it showed that the brain has many secrets we do not know about and that it takes more time for the brain to die even according to David Myers a thing that even Dr. Sam Parnia agrees after the pig brain study according to David Myers blog.

    Like

    • Oops apologies I meat that the brain cells are going to die out in mere minutes and not that you are dead. My mistake sorry.

      Like

    • No it is known for a fact there cannot be consciousness minute after 0% blood flow.

      “however it showed that the brain has many secrets we do not know about”

      What does this have to do with consciousness during CA? I’m really sick of replying to this over and over against, a couple of cells active WILL NOT INDUCE HYPER LUCID HYPER COHERENT THOUGH PROCESSES. I thought you were a real skeptic but now im too wondering if you’re trolling.

      Like

      • I never said anything like that there is consciousness Chad. I just said the pig study destroyed the motion that the cells are dying in a fast place like it was claimed before. That is all. Where did you get that I claimed consciousness. Nowhere I agreed with you.

        Also I am getting sick here that every time I write something here that I am accused being a troll. I thought you people here wanted to know the truth but no.

        I am starting to believe that you just want that Dr. Sam Parnia confirms your believes and you are not interested in the truth anymore and that is all. Therefore I will not write here anymore.

        Like

      • I deleted a troll recently who just kept asking inane repetitve questions that had been answered before. I don’t think you’re a troll, but I think you are over estimating the implications of the pig head study. Chad has been called a troll in the past, so don’t take it personally!

        Like

      • Right, reading your previous post and paulbounce/Raf’s post made me think it’s the same old “deep brain activity during CA” again.

        I am interested in the truth, but also want Parnia to confirm NDEs obviously. I’m just sick of seeing the same old pseudoskeptic staunch materialist crap, very edgy and thought you were implying the usual deep brain activity and that beheaded rat junk study again.

        Like

      • I do like your directness Chad…but its possible others don’t. My natural personality disposition is much like yours, but I curb it here to foster informative debate.

        Like

      • Yea I’m not a subtle person, have little patience for political correctness or forcing politeness towards someone who deserves worse. Lukas I’m sorry i misinterpreted your post, I said before I have a very impatient personality. I watch a lot of video of materialists talking about NDEs and hand waving away with the usual deep brain activity and other nonsense, with other pseudoskeptic posts from here it gets to my head.

        Like

  8. Yep. Chad.agree with you

    Like

  9. I watched a movie about Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein the new Prometheus.
    They were really taken with Galvinism . They were able to get movement of limbs or corpses with electricity. That is sure what the pig stuff looks like .

    Like

  10. Werner Bartl on said:

    they deleted me, and I’m definitely not a troll, I don’t even know what they call a troll, I’m Austrian and I asked the questions because most of the answers here are very superficial.

    Like

    • Let’s redefine our way out of something we can’t explain into something we can . Just because my Ring doorbell sees stuff doesn’t mean it feels anything like the car and I do.
      But they did show pictures that show complex brain functions So how do they explain these dead people recalling things accurately when they are at most having some random cells firing?

      If this is all they have …..

      Like

    • Uh oh, yet another one of these articles…

      “We propose that the epistemic gap between an experience and a scientific model of its neural mechanisms stems from the fact that the model is merely a theoretical construct based on observations, and distinct from the concrete phenomenon it models, namely the experience itself. In this sense, there is a gap between any natural phenomenon and its scientific model.”

      how original, the authors came up with something truly original that’ll definitely solve the hard problem. This is definitely something panpsychists and idealists from the 19th century didn’t think of, truly on the level of Einstein’s break through on gravity!!!

      “Experiences are concrete phenomena that can be scientifically observed and modelled”

      they’ll need to lmk when they do that. Meanwhile i will wait the sun to burn out, form a black hole, then evaporate, think i have enough time to wait for all stars in the universe to form black holes and evaporate. Maybe even have time for waiting to see when a Boltzmann brain forms 1 trillion times over.

      Like

      • They might have googled quantum physics news and they would have found there are serious questions about objective reality. …..I
        I will try to find a link to a more interesting one soon.

        Like

    • @max

      Not much… too much philosophical twaddle for me.

      Like

  11. @Chad:

    Thanks and I accept.

    Have a nice day.

    Like

  12. I actually find this one quite interessting even though its very short.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31836416

    Like

    • Its another 2 to 3 minute thing . They revive the rats .Once again makes the case for Parnia .Hard time seeing the value in any of this stuff

      Like

      • They seem to be doing research on improving quality of resuscitation, but had to include NDEs in the keyword. It amazes me the amount of dedication they have trying to debunk and stall NDE research. How are they any different from the inquisition? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399124/. Sorry Ben I had to vent, the establishment is trying to slow NDE research and make researchers outcasts, strongly discouraging people from studying what happens to consciousness during CA. It’s not their attitude that enrages me so much it’s that we’d already know whether NDEs are real or hallucinations if the opposition wasn’t so fierce from the very start.

        Like

    • @max

      Had a very quick look at the paper you referenced, thanks. They find exactly the same activity as Borjigin (2013) at 10 – 35 seconds into the rodents asphyxiation… but they suggest their results actually challenge Borjigin’s idea that this activity may have something to do with the NDE/OBE… IIRC because they define this activity as some type of regular Pyramidal neuronal cell firing. They don’t seem to go into any explanation as to why this may be a challenge to Borjigin 2013, they just state it. They also seem to suggest that the period of activity is in any case too short to ever account for the NDE/OBE, because of a paper by Moody, which states it is too short?

      I really need to take some more time to understand their arguments, and why they feel that this type of Pyramidal cell firing challenges Borjigins study… but at present I’m rather skeptical of their conclusion… I’m not sure they are really touching Borjigins study. And Moodys ”too short’ argument never really made any sense to me… I’ve had a dream that appeared to last years… but actually took place in a 5 minute snooze period after my alarm clock went off, that oddity of time is well known. I’m just not sure of the relevance of trying to compare objective time to NDE time. We know NDE’s are often reported as strange and timeless.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: