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

More data from AWARE II(maybe), news on AWARE III and my book.

It’s been a while, so I thought I should post some thoughts and updates. In terms of the latter, this has been a very quiet year, not just from Sam Parnia, but in general on the subject of NDEs. Of course everything has been overshadowed by COVID. Most conventions or scientific meetings have either been cancelled or held virtually.

I recently attended a virtual European convention on sleep science, and it was an illuminating experience. In some ways it was better – no airport security queues, or late night rides in a smelly taxi to soulless hotels where I would be away from my family for days on end. I found I was able to interact with other researchers quite well when they were presenting data, and I was able to look at the things I was interested in at my leisure – while wearing very casual attire. However, in general it was vastly inferior to an in person convention, and while my job was already one that was done partly from home, and in future things will be a hybrid, I cannot wait till I am able to get back into the hospitals and universities to meet with physicians and scientific researchers face to face.

As a result of this year, many of the meetings where someone like Dr Parnia would present have not occurred in the normal way, and when you google him, or the AWARE study, most of the links come from previous years. The truly awful Daily Express seems to create recent links to a rehashed story on Dr Parnia explaining NDEs in terms of something that can be explained by physiological means, but I have never heard him say that in a meeting or in a written article. However, he did just publish a paper exploring the link between cerebral oxygen levels and neurological outcomes after Cardiac Arrest (CA). The abstract published in last month’s Resuscitation does not hint at any data on consciousness, so I am going to withhold my $36 to buy the full text, although if we continue to experience this NDE news drought, I may well go ahead and buy it! There was data he presented at AHA last year that did seem to hint at a possible link between conscious brain activity during CA and oxygen levels, so I suspect this new data may have come from his AWARE research group – hence the teaser of data from AWARE II in the title! (I know, somewhat tenuous, but these are desperate times for an NDE research blogger!). The link is here:

The association between post-cardiac arrest cerebral oxygenation and survival with favorable neurological outcomes: A multicenter study

So other than this, we have been left with Sam Parnia’s very quiet Twitter feed and the Parnia lab website which has been updated as the year has gone by. The most significant thing to come out of that has been the announcement of the commencement of the study on awareness during deep hypothermic circulatory arrest. This is in essence the COOL study mark II.

The COOL study was set up in Montreal at the beginning of the last decade and designed to investigate reports of NDEs and OBEs during deep hypothermic cardio circulatory arrest. Out of 33 returned questionnaires, 3 reported conscious mental activity (very much in line with the 10% reported from CA NDEs) one veridical OBE report was made from this study in which a young pregnant woman reported seeing various instruments that were behind her head, and was later verified by hospital staff (VOLUME 83, ISSUE 1, E19 2012. Conscious mental activity during a deep hypothermic cardio circulatory arrest? Mario Beauregard). The study was retrospective and did not have the kinds of experiments built into it that could prove an OBE. This is where Dr Parnia’s study is different since it is prospective and uses the same equipment that is used in the AWARE II study. I am dubbing this new study the AWARE III study, since it falls under the same AWARE research umbrella. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this study has a lot more chance of eventually getting “a hit” than AWARE II due to the controlled conditions (vs a random CA in an ER unit), prior patient awareness of the presence of the iPad and most importantly, the chance of surviving long enough to be interviewed. Dr Parnia tweeted that the first patient had been recruited in July of this year.

For a while there was a bit of confusion over whether AWARE II had wrapped up, partly due to one of the research portals saying recruitment had closed. However, on the Parnia Lab website it states that recruitment is still ongoing, and indeed they are looking to expand the number of research centers over the next two years.

So one day we will hear more from AWARE II or III. It may not be till next year now due to all the delays in everyone’s lives, especially someone like Dr Parnia who would have been in the thick of things earlier this year (although if he is anything like ICU and ER physicians I know in the UK, he will have had the quietest summer of his career!).

In the meantime, I have been focusing on my work in Neuroscience and on writing books. My non-fiction book on NDEs is now complete and has been copy edited. I will be publishing it imminently, maybe through extracts on here first. I have also found myself in the fortunate position of having 7 weeks gardening leave as I switch from one Biotech Neuroscience medical scientist role to another, and I have decided to devote this time to rewriting my second novel, which is based on a more outlandish extrapolation of NDE possibilities (think of Flatliners on steroids and you will be getting close). An idea along these lines has been knocking around my hard drive in various forms for over 20 years now, so it’ll be good to finally finish it!

Anyway, I continue to browse the web and pubmed a couple of times a week for news on Sam Parnia and NDEs, and I know others who come here do the same, so please get in touch with me if you see something. Rest assured, when things finally do get interesting again…which I have no doubt they will, I will be here starting a discussion on it!.

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23 thoughts on “More data from AWARE II(maybe), news on AWARE III and my book.

  1. blijruud on said:

    I think you have a big chance of having a OBE if you do
    a hypothermicc cardio circulatory arrest study in 25 hospital, then you have with the aware 1 and 2 study. More than 700 operated people.


  2. Thanks for the update. Glad to hear your book is going well.

    I’m excited about the COOL study results. It has been a long wait this year but hopefully we’ll get some updates from Sam soon. Thanks again for keeping us updated!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Daniel Caldeira on said:

    Hello everyone! I am here to share a recommendation of a book written by a French teacher in the the 19th century. It contains very interesting ideas that have a huge ressonance with the philosophical ideas obtained by NDE’ers. It is a very interesting work about the true nature of the counsciuousness. However it is not a strictly scientific work and I belive it was influenced by christian dogmas. Still, I believe it’s worth reading. Here is the link for the book in Amazon:


  4. Very interesting. I think these studies will yield positive results. The nature of consciousness is a mystery that has baffled humanity for the longest time. Parnia and doctors like him are essentially opening Pandora’s Box but you know it’s best to have knowledge of things rather then be left in the dark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AWARE I and II have already yielded positive results, albeit very limited. I am surprised that Parnia hasn’t written up the posters from AHA last year in a journal article, they were very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am new writing here but been following this blog for a few months now. I am a doctor and researcher (although not the same field of research as Parnia). About Parnia writing an article about the posters from AHA, I believe that the one on EEG findings should be very interesting. However, it may be that their results are limited here too to make correlations with the other poster. That meaning, in May 2019 (posters already written cause that was about the Congress deadline) he mentioned they did not have data to correlate EEG and NDEs/awareness. The 2016 article on EEG findings (no alpha waves then) could not stablish any correlation cause all the 16 patients died in hospital. The New sample was 60something patients (some may have been overlaps with the 2016 paper) but maybe they don’t have EEG data (or was artifacted) from the 4 accounts on conciousness during CPR, or maybe they reported hearing but not an OBE/NDE…research can be tricky and disappointing, What I would like to know is Parnia’s mind on this. Did the patient/s with alpha waves report any experience? Was it a visual full NDE? Maybe he really doesn’t have the data?
        I am looking also for Greyson’s new book, or any comments from Fenwick on his YouTube channel (maybe we got some information from Sam?), No new information is coming from anywhere. Do you think Greyson’s book will include Parnia’s new results?

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Mery, welcome to the chat. You make some very relevant points, and ask the big question that has not yet been answered…namely did any of the EEG results overlap with NDE reports. Parnia has been very illusive on this. I have tried multiple ways of getting to this data, including contacting all the authors on the poster etc.

    Personally I don’t think he will have the results published in Greyson’s book first. I think Parnia is more likely to publish in a clinical journal first, but it may well be that he is in the process of writing something up and submitting, knowing that the data will have been published before Greyson’s book, and sharing the data with Greyson with an NDA before Parnia has published. This way he gets a win win. If he doesn’t put it in a peer reviewed medical journal first, then the results will not be held in such high regard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What really intrigues me is, if Parnia has the information on the hearing + what EEG was happening at that moment, something that nobody seems allowed to discuss, what was really his position towards the NDE and conciousness during the November 2019 talks? He mentioned this theory on conciousness not being really produced by the brain that he likes, he mentions these experiences are not like ketamine experiences or drugs, or anoxia etc, but he mentioned is is brain modulated and that brain function is not completely lost even after one hour of CPR…(maybe here he was only referring to “you still can have some electrical activity at times and no permanent brain silence and damage”)

      Like in your old post New era for Parnia, I don’t really get his position now. if he had something that demonstrated that there were brain waves responsible for these experiences (or at least the hearing) why such silence on it? Or the contrary, if he could demonstrate there was no brain function, why not mentioning it? And if the had nothing…why not acknowledging it? “Nope, we don’t have any data on that patient, sorry guys”.
      So I am lost here….

      Liked by 1 person

      • From my own experience with articles and abstracts, I believe if he had something (positive or negative) he would first go for an abstract for a Congress (and only after that you publish, not the other way round since it is against the normative). These data we are talking about are from 2019 and they already had the hearing hit in the AHA Congress in November (and probably May). So my educated guess is that unfortunately they don’t have more information about that patient. Maybe they had EEG readings but not from that very moment (they collected fragmented images from pauses in CPR, some were artifacted)…if he had more information I believe they would have included it in any of both abstracts, or at least comment on the hearing hit in the November meeting and the media would have been commenting on it.
        I believe he might be trying to stay neutral to data, he mentioned the alpha waves (but not linked it to NDE or hearing or even conciousness) and he did not mention the hearing hit. To get an abstract admitted you have to “sell” it well, so maybe their data besides the hit were not so much more interesting than that, even if the abstract looked promising…

        This is just my opinion, I whish there was a positive visual hit. I also wonder, if he is continuing with the COOL study might be cause he believes it is worth it, that something really is going on. Otherwise, if he was clear about being a product of quasy normal brain function, why bothering with the COOL study??

        Sorry my long post, I don’t usually talk about this things with anybody, never in a forum/comment section before. It felt nice sharing my thoughts…

        Liked by 2 people

  6. NDE anonymous! Yes, my real name is not Ben Williams, that is a pseudonym based on the main protagonist in a novel I published. The COOL study is very interesting indeed. I am glad he picked up the torch from Montreal as I always felt that this created the best conditions for a controlled experiment with the iPad. The original COOL study was retrospective, and they only got 33 questionnaires, and 3 NDEs, with one veridical OBE, which does tally well with the NDE statistics. The whole thing with a prospective COOL study is that they can tell the patient in advance to look for the iPad and listen out for stuff. The key for me is how many centres are involved, and how many patients a week. Once they get north of 100 patients they should have a visual hit if the OBE is a real phenomenon. Since the patients should be living after the procedure, it is all dependent on how many procedures.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leonardo on said:

    Hello I have been following this blog for a long time, I wanted to ask you a question if possible. but Sam says that the brain has nothing to do with consciousness and that after a cardiac arrest the brain shuts down , or not , I do not understand , in the post in May you wrote that says this, but from this you do not understand

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi In NDEs, did the patients succeed in identifying the signs that were placed on top of the shelves to prove the reliability of the experiment??!


  9. Pingback: Course Notes on Life and Death/The Soul for Edexcel students - Course notes and revision materials for students of A Level Religious Studies/Philosophy.

  10. Pingback: General A Level Course Notes On Religious Experience (OCR, AQA, Eduqas, Edexcel) - Course notes and revision materials for students of A Level Religious Studies/Philosophy.

  11. Not sure why only the pingback appears. Can’t see the original comment. Interesting site. Some of the types of thinking mentioned, certainly appear in the book that I first published in January, withdrew and about to republish. For me the big question is around whether we need what I describe as “technologically validated” evidence to make a decision. That has been at the heart of my internal debate.


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