AwareofAware

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

Premature Publication

In my impatience with the progress of the AWARE studies, my frustration at the lack of clarification from Sam Parnia about the auditory reports he presented in November 2019, and my eagerness to get my “message” out there to coincide with the “Surviving Death” series, I hit the publish button on my book too soon. Having reread it again, the book relies on more convincing data from the AWARE studies to really stand on its own, so I have unpublished it.

What did frustrate me a little was some communication I received on the issue of my bringing “God” into the discussion, and how it reduced my credibility. I go with the evidence, and NDE reports include encounters with a supreme Being Of Light that many describe as God. That is a fact, and to ignore it is to ignore evidence on one of the most important questions man has.

I am going to be true to my word and go with the evidence now. To date the AWARE studies have failed to provide proper scientific validation of OBEs, and until they do my book will go back on ice.

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123 thoughts on “Premature Publication

  1. karl coulby on said:

    Keep up the great work Ben, look forwards to reading it someday when you publish it! Love your posts 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. No bother Orson. Cancelled order there

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  3. I respect everyone’s opinion, but I also believe that God has no place in something as important as near-death experiences. He has no place beyond what a person can perceive in those experiences when his heart stops, of course

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  4. I’m sorry to hear this. I thought the book was great. I fortunately ordered it on kindle immediately upon publishing and thoroughly enjoyed it, including the spiritual parts. The only part I found troubling was the discussion about the possible reason for only 10% of older people having NDEs being due to soul death. I would like to think there are alternative explanations such as soul disconnection from the body because the idea of soul death I found quite disturbing. I’d be interested though in some further discussion on this blog of this question. I’ve never had an NDE but have experienced the hollow darkness in the vicinity of others that was discussed in the book, afterword I looked online and found some interesting information on the “realm of outer darkness” from Edgar Cayce readings, including the following:

    https://www.near-death.com/paranormal/edgar-cayce/harvey-green-on-afterlife-realms.html#a05

    Thanks again for your work on this blog and the book. I think it just needs to be reframed to something like NDE: Near Death Experiences and Aware Studies – What We Know So far or the Knowledge to Date. I say this because even though the Aware Studies are still in progress your book was a great introduction and helped me understand what has happened thus far and to ponder the ramifications and meanings of what we have learned so far from a spiritual and scientific perspective. Thank you!

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    • Hi Anna, that is really encouraging feedback. One of the reasons I took it off is that I reread it and came across the sentence “The momentous results of the AWARE studies”…what a load of nonsense! I originally wrote this book in preparation for such results to occur, but oh my goodness we have been waiting so long! So I may well take your thoughts and change a few things based on some early feedback (t costs me about $200 to change things though which is why I want to wait till I have a better idea of things). I’m not sure I can change the title, and I think “proof of the soul and God?” Are now linked to the ISBN, which I can’t change either I don’t think.

      On your other point, I have already thought about the whole death of the soul thing and come up with another potential explanation that I didn’t explore, but my current work in Alzherimer’s research has made me ponder. The brain loses some function as we grow older, as I discuss in the book, but the changes in memory alone in normal ageing (non-dementia ageing) do not account for the decline in percentages of NDE experiences. However, what if the very highest functions of the brain, the ones that engage the “spiritual realm” are more sensitive to minor incremental changes in brain health as you age, and that the ability to recall this experience is related to that rather than to the ability of teh brain to recall memories from the physical realm.

      Yes, good to have this discussion, I will start a thread soon.

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  5. Hi Ben, thanks for your reply. I can understanding more now how it is tricky and can definitely see why you would want to wait until more substantial results from the Aware study were available – it would be the best option, but as you say the wait has been longer than expected. I suppose something I hadn’t thought of also is if results do appear in the future that this would result in a second book on the same topic (although not unheard of). I would definitely encourage you to do whatever feels best to you. I just wanted to let you know I found what you had written very interesting and helpful. I hadn’t known all the background information that was in the book so I learned a lot, and as mentioned very much enjoyed the spiritual parts as well.

    I’m happy to hear there are some other explanations for the 10% NDE results as the idea of soul death is a little disturbing and something I hope does not prove true.

    I agree with you on the incredible shift in understanding the Aware studies could bring and am especially hopeful about Aware 3 for obtaining more results.

    Thanks again for all the work you have put into your books and this blog. Whichever path you choose I am sure it will be the best one and I look forward to reading what you write here and in your books. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When you say God, most people automatically assume you mean a personal God in the christian sense, and they don’t agree with the religious/biblical notion of God. I am one such person, but I won’t say it reduces “your credibility”, as long as you’re not saying specific things are true without evidence. There’s just a strong bias against the biblical God, even among some non materialists, better to say beings of light imo won’t raise any prejudices among the readers. NDE researchers like Sam and Bruce try to avoid any discussion of God and focus on the tangible aspects of NDEs.

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    • I guess I must hold my hands up, and say that because of my personal beliefs, I will say more than Sam and Bruce are prepared to say. It’s a fine line to walk, as I honestly just want to stimulate thinking on this subject, but at the same time I am wedded to an evangelistic belief system. Squaring the circle is not always easy.

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    • BTW, good to hear from you again…been a while!

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  7. Werner Bartl on said:

    https://www.livescience.com/amp/netflix-surviving-death.html
    Interwi by Sam Parnia, and why he refused to take part in the Netflix documentary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Werner, great pick-up, and reflects my thoughts on the series. First episode good, the rest pretty rubbish and unfortunately discredits the first episode. Parnia chose wisely.

      “Parnia was asked to participate in “Surviving Death,” he said, but he turned the producers down because the show made no distinction between scientific research on topics such as the recalled experience of death and the pseudoscience of ghosts and mediums.”

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  8. I found this quote from the article interesting:

    “Dr. Sam Parnia…surveyed survivors of cardiac arrest and found that of the 140 interviewees, 46% had a sense of being conscious during the event”

    It reminds me of what reader Monique reported after she had an operation in which her heart was temporarily stopped:

    “This friday I had my operation. No near death experience guys 👐 Just a black hole. Nevertheless there is something that is aware of that too!”

    So according to the Aware research almost half of survivors had a sense of awareness like Monique had even though only 10% reported a typical NDE.

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  9. Bigalow Instiute for Consciousness studies. Check it out on Google news. He has a contest that I think Parnia has won.

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  10. omnihilon on said:

    Sorry to hijack this post’s theme again, but is anyone else here familiar with militant materialist Ian Sawyer on Quora? He’s been making me feel quite down lately.

    He basically spends most of his time on Quora stroking his own ego while claiming with 100% (unironically) that there is no afterlife. When presented with evidence, he dismisses it, ignores it, gives vague arguments based on a misunderstanding of cardiology (AFAIK) or attacks a person’s credibility. He flat-out refuses to accept that he could be wrong.

    For example, with the Reynolds case, he claims it was anaesthesia awareness, which is a flawed explanation IIRC that has already been addressed many times. He considers anyone who disagrees with him to be ‘gullible or delusionsal’. His bio just comes off as unbearably smug and egotistical: https://www.quora.com/profile/Ian-Sawyer/answers/Afterlife

    Has anyone else argued with this guy before? What the hell is his problem?

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  11. No ignore it. Declarations with no evidence…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JP Rand on said:

    But yeah I bought him up several times in the past around here. He’s an example of a problem with the atheist community. He treats a belief or a theory of his as if it was a fact. He will dismiss any form of evidence that goes against his claims as nonsense. I hate him. The fact that there are people who are braindead enough to upvote his egotistical answers makes me sick.

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  13. Astra Bulfo on said:

    Off topic but I recently emailed the resucitation lab Parnia runs in NYU regarding recall of memories as a measure of consciousness. As in, if people wake up from a coma or operation with no memories of what happened during it, doesn’t that mean consciousness is annhilated at least momentarily?

    This was the response given:
    “Thanks for your email and reaching out to us. My name is Tara and I work with Dr. Parnia. Unfortunately I won’t be able to speak on behalf of Dr. Parnia but much research has indicated that the absence of recall of a memory does not imply that consciousness has not been present. In fact this is not an accurate measure to determine whether consciousness is present or not.”

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    • Very interesting perspective. How then do thy measure consciousness of the person cannot remember being conscious?

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      • How would you interpret it Ben?

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      • Thinking regarding this Sam parnia has mentioned elsewhere that drugs can suppress memories but this does not mean consciousness is not there (to paraphrase a lot)

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      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        It seems to me that it’s a similar state to us having a sleep but without remembering dreams. It’s a fact that we are conscious and dreaming during sleep even if we don’t remember it. Perhaps heavy anesthetic suppresses memory or the brain just decides not to store the memories during that state.

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    • My guess is that memory can be impaired during after death experiences. There could be contributing factors to this that we have yet to know. It could pretain maybe as to how some people can recall dreams. Others though have trouble recalling them. It doesn’t mean people don’t have them. It means that people may not simply remember having them. That’s my two cents.

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  14. I understand his explanation about drugs, but that does not stand up against the evidence I cite in my book which I will republish at some point, namely that memory of NDEs drops radically with age, much more so than memory function, and given that the same drugs and procedures are used, this cannot be accounted for by those factors alone. For me there are two possible explanations, one which I give in my book is that the older we get the less likely our consciousness is to escape the body on physical death, the other which I am going to add, is that there is some physiological change in brains as we age that mean we are less likely to remember the kind of memory that an NDE is. Drugs or other aspects of CPR etc do not explain the fact that 90% of kids have NDEs and 90% of elderly adults don’t.

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    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      I think the point is more about anaesthetics suppressing memories during operations and stuff that can make people forget any kind of conscious experience while they were under the knife.

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  15. I had this experience under anaesthetic and it was disturbing in that there was just a second of blackness when I was put under then I was awake, with no sense of time passing, like a light switch turned on and off. Normally when you sleep you don’t remember the dreams but there is a sense of time having passed when you wake up, whereas this was nothing like that. Very strange experience and the only thing that has ever really made me doubt the afterlife. My brother had the same experience under anaesthetic and felt the same way. I felt comforted when I read about the amnesia affect of some of these meds as an explanation for the experience.

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    • I had general anesthesia when I was 14, and I remember being “concious” or in a “dream like” state, definitely not that description of not a second passing by. I remember being surrounded by blackness (but it was not scary), being totally relaxed, fine, and extremely curious about some kind of line shapes falling from above in front of me. Like the lines were the most important thing in the word in that moment. It is a memory, I don’t have a sequence, not a storyline, I remember waking up in the recovery room, but can’t connect it with the “lines” part.
      I did have a sense of time passing. It could be dreaming while waking up, whatever, I don’t really know.

      Also, some years ago I was doing surgery on a patient in the OR who started moving a bit while under GA, it happens sometimes (very few, fortunately), the anaesthetist put some more drugs, and I expressed my concern about the patient being aware, and she said “it doesn’t matter they are aware during that moment, since we give them drugs to cause amnesia, so the important thing is they don’t remember anything”. For them, the important thing is avoiding the patient a traumatic memory. In addition, when a patient has moved during GA I always ask them if they remember anything during the operation, and they don’t.

      I also have a friend who had surgery, I was there. She was just sedated, talking even during the procedure. And then she didn’t remember a word, nor a big chunk of the time after the operation where she was in another room with me. She didn’t remember at all.

      So, sedatives, drugs and memory…weird cocktail for conciousness.

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      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        It’s totally normal to have a conscious experience or even dream under anesthetic. Really its person to person and probably depends on how much is admnistered. I know people who were put under for dental work and had pretty regular dreams like we have when we sleep. Ketamine is even used as an anesthetic and I think its very well documented what kind of experiences people have while on that. I really think the people who just go under and wake up just have memories suppressed during the operation. Probably for the better!

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      • Interesting story, especially the part about the lines. Its interesting how something like a line can take on such a deeper meaning in different states of consciousness (dreams etc) as if the object itself is conscious in some mysterious way.

        Also interesting about the amnesiac effect of the medication even on people who “wake up”, move or even talk during operations. This is quite a fascinating subject. Hopefully the “no time passing” experience is simply a result of the amnesia and not an indication of no consciousness as these examples seem to show clear consciousness (talking) even where there is no memory. I’d be curious how many people also have experienced the “no time” effect and what their situations were.

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  16. Doctors use anesthesia for two things. 1. to remove obvious pain for the patients. 2. Put them in a dream/sleep state of comfort so they don’t know what’s going on outside their own head. I know this because I had surgery once. The actual surgery was painless. Heck I didn’t even know it was happening. When I finally came to and snapped out of my dream like trance I found myself in a hospital recovery room.

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  17. Can you dream while being under anesthesia?

    The short answer is no. (according to experts such as this one (A Sarnat and others)

    A J Sarnat

    First, bear in mind that general anesthesia (GA), while often euphemistically referred to as “sleep,” is in fact a drug-induced deep coma, during which brain activity is profoundly suppressed to produce a state that bears little physiological resemblance to natural sleep.

    Electroencephalography (EEG) studies, which measure brain electrical activity using scalp electrodes, have long confirmed that the normal cyclic pattern of the stages of natural sleep are absent during GA. In particular, the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep associated with arousal of the cerebral cortex for production of dreams is completely lacking during GA.

    Since the question refers only to “anesthesia” and not necessarily GA, one caveat is that it’s possible to have surgery under regional anesthesia (peripheral nerve blocks, spinals, epidurals, etc.) combined with light IV sedation. The patients may be “asleep” in a more conventional sense, since they are already insensible to incisional pain from the nerve block, whereby the sedation is essentially optional.

    Here it’s possible for patients to experience dreaming or dream-like states because they are not, in fact, comatose during surgery. Some intravenous anesthetic agents, such as ketamine, are considered hallucinogenic and commonly associated with dreams or dream-like experiences when used in small doses. Even with more conventional sedative-hypnotic agents, such as Propofol or Versed, some patients report dream activity.

    Which brings me back to my opening statement about dreaming under GA: The short answer is no, but the longer answer is that small number of patients under GA, which usually includes a component of inhalation anesthesia combined with other intravenous components, afterward report dreaming; we believe them.

    I still maintain that this is impossible under full general anesthesia. Once the surgery is completed & the patient is transported to the recovery area, however, the patient is allowed to gradually awaken as they emerge from anesthesia. There is a corresponding transition from deeply suppressed brain activity to normal electrical activity with wakefulness. Unconscious to conscious.

    It is during this transition period of emergence that dreaming might take place. The patient simply regains consciousness and reports the dreams they experienced, not realizing that the dreaming occurred at the end of the anesthetic, during emergence after surgery, rather than while they were fully anesthetized during surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      I would still argue that during these states consciousness isn’t gone as much as it is suppressed. There’s a fine line between those 2 but still a large one.

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  18. You cannot though hallucinate during CA as there’s no blood flow to induce hallucination.

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    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      That’s true but I guess you could make the argument Tim is making about GA and say that the NDE experience occurs when you’re coming out of CA. Not that I agree with that idea.

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      • @Astro Bulfo

        Hi, no I wasn’t making that argument, Astro. Anaesthesiologists seem to be pretty clear that you can’t dream whilst under general anaesthesia. General anaesthesia doesn’t put you to sleep, it puts you into a reversible coma, where your brain activity is suppressed right down to the brain stem (where the autonomous breathing centres are) . That is why they have to intubate you and connect you up to a machine to breathe for you.

        As to when the near death experience occurs, I’m satisfied that it occurs during cardiac arrest when brain activity is lost. There are more than enough reliable veridical cases where this has occurred already but so far it’s not been possible to ‘prove’ it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • omnihilon on said:

        How do you feel about these reported experiences by commenters here then tim? It seems this issue is debated…but then again, it might depend on when the ‘dreaming’ occurs, and how you define these ‘dreams’.

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      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        @tim

        Well my concern would be how come under general anaesthetics we are able to turn off consciousness and nothing happens? Wouldn’t this pretty much prove that consciousness is produced by the brain and has nowhere to go once it is off? I just don’t see how this apparent fact of anaesthesiology and the NDE experience can line up.

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      • The explanation from Sarnat doesn’t say brain activity is suppressed during GA, only that the cortical activation necessary for REM sleep is absent. In fact, under GA there is brain activity, low frequency waves. That the breathing center is not working properly doesn’t mean the brain stem is shut down too. GA has different depth phases, the most profound being Burst suppression. But you don’t usually go for burst suppression for conventional GA.

        Conciousness is very complicated, I don’t think it is a matter of shut it down and going nowhere. During normal deep sleep (no REM) there is “dreaming” too, but very simple imaginery and usually not remembered.
        So, the only extrapolation for NDEs one could obtain from the interesting text by Sarnat is that NDEs happening during GA (with some verification that confirms the timing) are not due to REM sleep (and in my opinion, due to the intensity of the experiences, I very much doubt they are like the dream like activity of no-REM sleep). Of course if it is only a subjective experience it is very difficult to say whether it happened during GA or the recovery phase.

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      • It is not GA that is the elephant in the room. It’s cardiac arrest and how people have experiences DURING it. If GA supposedly suppresses consciousness coupling that with shutting off of the heart and therefore brain due to lack of bloodflow to it just further increases the size of that elephant. There are many holes in the brain theory that are being shown. Whether or not people accept them is their choice. They can deny or accept. I am not one to dictate their choices. But there is no denying something else is there that’s driving consciousness and I don’t think it’s just people’s organs. :/

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      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        @RegenKingReprise

        I agree with what you’re saying, I just think having someone to speak from the other side of the coin is useful in order to flesh out ideas. I believe in NDEs and I believe in the theory that the brain is a receptor, not producer of consciousness. So don’t worry that I could be a bad faith “debunker” trying to score internet points by putting people’s theories down. I just like being devil’s advocate occassionally to ensure that we’re really being smart about our beliefs. Just out of curiosity, what do you think is the most damning evidence against the brain theory?

        Liked by 1 person

  19. @Omni

    Well I would suggest that the dreaming likely occurred when they were coming out of the coma.

    @Astro Bulfo

    Except that we have many well attested and verifiable cases of conscious experience (lucid well structured thoughts and memories) from the period when the patient’s
    brain activity was profoundly supressed (by anaesthesia) or completely absent by burst suppression.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      Okay, I thought you were arguing that consciousness during anasthesia wasn’t possible. I guess I got confused by what you were saying? I think consciousness does exist during anaesthia but based on a lot of the things I’ve read its almost like as soon as information enters the brain during GA its just forgotten. I hope that makes sense.

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      • @Astro

        Normal consciousness shouldn’t be possible, no. The consciousness experienced by patients having OBE/NDE’s is something else. We’re into soul territory but of course that is currently scientifically unacceptable.

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      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        @tim

        Okay, so if consciousness can be turned off then doesn’t that prove its from the brain?

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  20. @Mery

    General Anaesthesia flattens brainwaves. It’s just a fact. See below.

    Surgery is usually performed during phases 2 and 3. In phase 4, the most profound state of general anaesthesia, the EEG is isoelectric (completely flat). An isoelectric EEG may be purposely induced by the administration of a barbiturate or propofol to protect the brain during neurosurgery24 or to stop generalized seizures.25,26

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3162622/

    Scroll down to Maintenance period (bottom of)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Tim. I was referring to fases 1-3. Those are the usual phases for conventional surgeries (I never had a patient in burst suppression, as far as I am concerned). That is why Pam Reynolds case is so interesting. And also my comment was meant to explain that since GA doesn’t always flatten your brain waves (unless burst suppression) doesn’t mean that your conciousness is totally shut down. It could be there somehow in a “dream like” state (no REM) but then you don’t remember anything…or you remember imaginery from the waking up process. Who knows. I find anaesthesia a fascinating speciality, although very demanding and you need to study so much it seems exhausting. I always try to learn from my colleagues when I am in the OR. Also, as an additional note, not really related, we discussed once the anesthesia awareness experiences from patients, and the anaesthetist talking said they never reported OBEs or pleasant trascendental experiences to him, always the typical AA we have been told about in books and articles (hearing, anxiety, not being able to move, fear…).

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      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        @Mery

        The experience of anaesthesia awareness reminds me a lot of a sort of locked in syndrome. The consciousness that exists in that state is far more “normal” than during an OBE/NDE but your ability to express it is hampered.

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      • @Mery

        Very interesting, thanks ! I’m a layperson but I always try to make sure that anything I post is factual or directly from medical experts. I’ve spoken to a great many of them. As an anaesthesiologist, that makes you an expert too !

        Liked by 1 person

      • Astro said >”Okay, so if consciousness can be turned off then doesn’t that prove its from the brain?

        No, because there are many cases of patients reporting conscious experience when they are under general anaesthesia. And I’m not referring to anaesthesia awareness.

        I don’t want to start reproducing the cases here, though (again) they exist and are well documented. Thanks !

        Liked by 1 person

      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        @tim

        I just wonder what that means for the people who don’t have it. I’m not a hard “skeptic” about this stuff but I do think devil’s advocate is useful to make sure ideas are consistent/make sense. If consciousness is not turned off during GA (although I feel like that is what you were saying before) then what is happening? What about the many people who just go in and then come out with no memories or experience during that time?

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      • @tim

        Just to clarify, I am a surgeon, not an anaesthetist. I don’t consider myself an expert in anaesthesia. It is always important to check facts with experts, but we always have to recognise our own limitations and understanding. I was offering my perspective after talking with the anaesthetists working with me in the OR, my own experience with patients and having a background in medicine.
        That is why I find insights from people like Fenwick, Greyson and Parnia who have a background in medicine (and the brain and the mind for two of them) so important.

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  21. @Astro Bulfo

    Astro said > If consciousness is not turned off during GA (although I feel like that is what you were saying before) then what is happening?

    No one knows (this is a fact) how anaesthesia turns off consciousness. There are some theories as to how it might accomplish it, but theories are just theories. Thank goodness it DOES turn off consciousness, or else how on earth would we be able to endure all the surgical interventions that are possible now.

    If you can imagine that the mind may be a separate entity on it’s own, independent
    of the brain, then it is feasible at least, that sometimes it may be able to operate separately from the brain and the neural correlates thought by mainstream science to support it.

    Patients under general anaesthesia not infrequently report floating around the room and seeing objects and events that they couldn’t possibly have seen.

    This is NOT anaesthesia awareness. Anaesthesia awareness is for the most part very unpleasant, terrifying even, very unlike the calm and pleasant nature of the veridical out of body experience. It doesn’t matter that ALL patients don’t report “consciousness” during general anaesthesia.

    The fact that some do is enough to falsify the theory that the brain generates consciousness. One white crow is sufficient to falsify that all crows are black, is it not ?

    Now you might say, well this guy (yours truly–me) doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he’s not an anaesthesiologist etc he’s just a layperson. All I can address to that is, feel free to check out what I’ve said.

    However, even commenters who have the highest possible medical qualifications such as Eben Alexander are dismissed instantly, as soon as they profess to support (basically) a dualistic approach to consciousness. (Just to add, I have had a very good education, just not in medicine).

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    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      @tim

      I agree with your points although I think Eben Alexander has done a lot of things to damage his credibility including his own doctors saying he was making some things up. It’s just that it really makes me ponder what’s happening to do the people who are having nothing happen because its obviously a small minority of people who have veridical OBEs. Sure just one veridical OBE is enough to falsify the idea of brain generated consciousness, but what’s happening to the “black crows” who see nothing?

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  22. @Mery

    Mery said >”It is always important to check facts with experts”

    It certainly is, like I said (and have said many times) that’s what I always do

    Mery said >”but we always have to recognise our own limitations and understanding”

    Yes indeed (I do that is why I don’t claim to be an expert) and so should sceptics in addition. We should be humble before the fact ( Hiroyoshi Takata).

    Mery said >”I was offering my perspective after talking with the anaesthetists working with me in the OR, my own experience with patients and having a background in medicine.

    Yes I know you were. Could you not tell that that I understood that ? I’m not sure what you want me to say ? Two of my oldest friends are physicians. One is a consultant surgeon and the other is a consultant anaesthesiologist. Top guys but they are not particularly familiar with NDE’s. You might be, I don’t know.

    I’m assuming you don’t think that this subject can only be discussed amongst fellow physicians ? I don’t think you are suggesting that, though. You present yourself very pleasantly and politely, thanks.

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    • Not at all Tim, I am very sorry if any part of my comment sounded offensive to you. Not my intention at all. I was clarifying that I am not an anesthesiologist, so I am not an expert in anaesthesia and how it works (although I wish I knew!).
      I am familiar with NDE just like many of you, by reading about them and reading studies and research done on the matter. I also contacted a colleague physician in my country who is a NDE researcher, who discussed his investigations and insights with me and we talk about these experiences now and again. However, I never had one. Nor dare speak about them with my colleagues (it feels like taboo talking about these things in a hospital).
      Concerning your last paragraph, of course I don’t mean that. I think everyone should discuss NDE and the survival hypothesis (including ADC). I think is a matter that needs a lot of different views, including philosophy, physics, language, etc. I also think it is important to go and ask experts and sources for information when we have our doubts, as you do. I confess I also do that. So as you see, being a physician doesn’t make you an expert in NDE…thus of course we physicians shouldn’t be the only ones discussing NDE.

      (This is my first participation in a public forum, starting a few months back, never thought I could cause confusion with a comment…so sorry about that).

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      • @Mery

        No need to apologise, Mery. And you certainly didn’t come across as offensive; I’m sorry if I even accidently implied that because I certainly didn’t mean to and I wasn’t offended in the slightest! Robust, straight talking polite conversation is good though, is it not.

        Anyway that was a very thought provoking post ! I’m really glad to hear that physicians in your country are open to it. There seems to be research ‘ramping up’ all over the world now, in what I believe is possibly the most exciting frontier that science has ever probed. Best regards !

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  23. Anthony on said:

    During anesthesia it is not possible to have consciousness or to dream. Everything that occurs in this regard is at the time when the effects of anesthesia begin to wear off

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  24. I really have little to say here because Tim usually does. And he really does the research.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Brilliant discussion…just catching up on it after having some issues to deal with the past few days. What I am interested in is reports of NDEs while under GA, when the patient has a CA…Pam Reynolds is obviously the most famous. For me if it is shown that there are a significant number of NDEs while under GA, but ALL, or most of those occurred when there was a CA, and none, or a very small number in the absence of a CA, it points to the consciousness being tethered to the body, and the body’s state, while the heart is beating, and only when the heart stops is that “tether” loosened. Not sure if that makes sense, or I have missed something while reading all the great comments.

    Like

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      The levels to consciousness are very poorly understood. We barely even have a toe in the water regarding the study of consciousness and how it arises in the brain so it very well could be that there is always some level of consciousness in a body up until it has died. We also know that transcendent, mystical experiences are possible and reproducible through things like psychedelics which has really changed the game. You can no longer claim that religious or mystical experiences are imaginary or psychotic in nature. They are a real state that can be brought about in a scientifically searchable manner and in my opinion it just really changes the game. We don’t know nearly as much about reality as we like to believe and it’s very likely that our current tools although important are insufficient.

      Like

  26. Astra Bulfo on said:

    I guess not much is going on regarding AWARE II or the NDE scene recently?

    Like

    • Not a sausage from what I understand. Greyson will be releasing a book at the beginning of March, but not sure it will contain anything ground breaking. It would be helpful if Parnia would publish details of the auditory OBEs mentioned at the AHA conference in 2019, but he is keeping schtum…quite annoying really as it either is an important set of results or it isn’t. But leaving everyone in the lurch for so long is not good practise in my view as a scientist. I know there has been COVID, but there’s also been chunks of time when health services have been very quiet over the past year…I know as I speak to doctors all the time, and some are ICU doctors or ones that are pulled in during busy times, have twiddling their thumbs at other times.

      Like

      • Hi, Ben

        It seems unlikely that Parnia and his team(s) will have been able to do anything to continue their cardiac arrest study during this pandemic. I can’t envisage how his “on call” teams would even conceivably be allowed to rush into the room of a cardiac arrest patient, for obvious reasons, let alone touch the patient’s head to put the headphones into place.

        Based on that assumption (and I hope it’s wrong) there will be no more data (from that study) until we’re all jabbed (inoculated) and it becomes safe to return to something like normal.

        The hypothermic cardiac standstill study is surely another matter. That should just progress as planned, so it’s not all bad news. Having said that, a lot of those operations may have been delayed.

        I feel sorry for him (Parnia). The huge efforts and sacrifices he’s made to get all this going and persevere with it for decades, in the face of taking flak from various sources and then this happens. You wouldn’t exactly say the guy was lucky.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ben said >”It would be helpful if Parnia would publish details of the auditory OBEs mentioned at the AHA conference in 2019,

        Assuming that the headphones CAN effectively eliminate external sounds, because of their design (sufficient insulation ?) along with the (loud ?) delivery of the stimuli (the verbal cues into the ears etc)…IF external sounds (beyond the ear stimuli) WERE actually heard (conversation, drugs given etc) one has every reason to suspect that THAT in itself is very significant, surely ? I mean, isn’t that just logical deduction ?

        So… did Parnia want us to ‘logically deduce’ that something significant has occurred ? Or have we fallen prey to a bit of insignificant ‘cheese’ in a ‘mousetrap’. The wait continues….

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the whole point Tim, we don’t know whether that is indeed the case or not (i.e. whether they could hear anything or not), and it is not a big deal for Parnia to confirm it or not. I wrote emails to him, his team and some of the sub-investigators, and nothing. A chap from Birmingham said he couldn’t say anything and to ask Parnia. COVID does not provide a reason for this.

        Like

  27. Hi Tim, I understand what you are saying, but I am not talking about gathering new evidence for AWARE II which must surely, as you’ve pointed out, have been all but put on ice because of the pandemic (maybe), I am taking about the results he presented at AHA, and just those cases that he had already collected data on. The presentation of that data left more questions than it answered…was the noise in the headphones continuous and sufficient to drown out external noise; were the cases correlated with the cases from the other poster in which patients had sufficient levels of oxygen and EEG to potentially experience consciousness. This would be simple to clear up, and my questions on this went completely unanswered….long before anyone had heard of COVID. I have huge respect for Dr Parnia, and sympathies for the fact that he is a pioneer in this field, but I have found this very frustrating. I work in clinical science and unanswered questions bug me when you know the data exists to answer those questions.

    Like

    • Hi Ben. I agree it is frustrating. But I believe that they really have nothing. Otherwise I think they would have said something. In 2013 Parnia gave an advance of the visuals and timing perceived by the patient who had the NDE during the 3 min period in the Aware I study, and that was 1 year before publication of the study. If they did not mention any correlations between those patients hearing during Aware II and the EEG recordings, I think it is because they can’t correlate those data: artifacts, maybe they didn’t get good recordings of that especific patient, etc. Remember the pilot study published in 2018: they talked about Delta waves during 8% of the EEG time (total time of the recordings put together, not of average time for a patient: I think that their study lacked an analysis of average time for individual patients and they didn’t even comment on that) and they didn’t correlate it with anything: because all 16 patients died. When asked about correlation in a clinical session during that time Parnia said “we don’t have enough data yet”. Now, nothing came from 2019. I am sure if they had correlations (for better or for worse) I think he would have talked about it.
      They also need to show results to justify their foundings sources. So they focus on results on resuscitation and survival rates, that is what can attract money and more investment in their research.
      But I absolutely agree. It is frustrating and at least they could have said “we don’t know yet….again”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have been following this since back in 2008 when he announced the launch of the study to UN…maybe even before. So yes, we have no choice but to be patient, and I am sure that there is no one more frustrated than Dr Parnia.

        It is amazing that even in the chaos of the past year he has managed to start a trials in deep hypothermic surgery and terminal lucidity. The area I am now working in, Alzheimer’s research, has been badly hit for study recruitment, which is devastating as we are finally seeing the potential emergence of disease modifying therapies, possibly one the biggest medical breakthroughs of our age. However, despite this current nightmare through which we are living, I must reassure myself with the age old saying “it is always darkest before dawn!”

        Thanks for the encouraging words my friends.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      Patience is a virtue. I know it sucks but there’s been more going on the past year than I think anyone could have expected. It isn’t over until the fat lady sings and so far I don’t think she’s done warming up. Have hope but don’t let yourself get carried away by wanting results as soon as possible. If there is any way to reach out and get updates on the study I think that would be worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe I need to try tapping into some of those psychic abilities that the surviving death series mentioned…I could hitch a ride with a ghost and go through his lab notes! On second thoughts…I’d rather wait.

        Like

  28. I remember in 2011 awaiting the aware 1 results… Didn’t occur till October 2014

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I too think the results not being released do have to do with issues pertaining to the current state of the world. We are facing a plague. That’s essentially what it is. Sure the vaccines will probably eventually stop it but it will take a good while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I say above, it is not about the release of new results, just explanation of previous results presented at AHA…and COVID has nothing to do with that as he could have easily clarified around the time of the AHA conference when I asked valid questions through numerous different channels and was completely ignored. Anyway, it is what it is, he has his reasons and one day all will become clear (I hope!).

      Like

  30. Astra Bulfo on said:

    Came across this paper criticizing the idea that souls exist or that consciousness is recieved by the brain rather than created.

    Click to access SetF.2017.014%2CDuch.pdf

    It specifically brings up the AWARE study so I’m curious of anyone has anything to say to refute the claims the paper makes.

    Like

    • Can’t seem to click on a link

      Like

      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        Yeah for some reason the link just turned into a big empty space. There’s no way to delete the posts for me so oh well. Here are some quotes from it:

        “Exiting body, seeing it from above, moving to other places
        during the cardiac arrest period and other such reports have anecdotal status.
        Attempts to verify that the out-of-body experiences reported by people that
        were resuscitated are real led to a large scale AWARE (AWAreness during
        REsuscitation) project, lasting 4 years. 15 medical centers were involcd and
        over 2000 cases have been examined. Review of the results (Parnia 2014)
        has not confirmed reality of these experiences, not a single subject has read the writings that could be seen only from above in the emergency room.
        Claims that there was no brain activity or EEG signal was flat are not based
        on proper measurements. The lack of signals from a single central EEG
        electrode is not an indication that there is no activity in the whole brain,
        especially in temporal lobes and hippocampus that may store auditory
        information. It is impossible to use any neuroimaging technique under
        resuscitation conditions, as the setting up of equipment takes a long time.
        Residual brain activity, although not conscious, may allow for storing some
        information that is later re-lived and attributed to the time of resuscitation.
        Illusions of being outside own body, having additional limbs or virtual body
        of different sizes, being invisible, can be artificially induced. It is a fascinating
        area of research in neuroscience (see for example work done in H. Ehrsson
        laboratory, http://www.ehrssonlab.se).”

        “If that interaction was local, like in the radio or TV receiver, where the signal from
        the antenna has to be amplified
        and used to create sounds and pictures, then some designated part of the
        brain would have to initiate the activity. However, there is no part of the
        brain where thinking or decision processes start, linear causality does not
        apply to network systems where collective states arise. The whole brain is
        engaged in semantic interpretation of sensory data, associations and memory
        recall. An alternative would be a two-way interaction with the whole cortex,
        large number of brain nuclei and some parts of the autonomous nervous
        system in the body. That would lead to a massive flow of information that
        would be hard to miss. Activity of each part of the brain is explained by the
        global interaction of local activations from other parts. There is no place
        for external driving forces here.”

        “Thoughts and feelings seem to
        arise from nowhere, but using various neuroimaging techniques we can now
        observe neural processes that are correlated with subjective experiences. We
        can recreate sounds and sights from analysis of brain signals, and even say
        what people were dreaming of (Horikawa et al. 2013). The winner-takes-all
        neural mechanism leaves for a short while just one dominant process while
        others compete with each other until one of them wins and is propagated in
        the global neural workspace, becoming a part of the stream of consciousness. “

        Like

  31. omnihilon on said:

    When and where is the paper from Astra?

    Like

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      It’s called “Why minds cannot be received,
      but are created by brains” Wlodzislaw Duch in 2017. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to directly link it here.

      Like

      • omnihilon on said:

        Hmm, so it’s potentially already a tad outdated. Never heard of this guy before, but after sharing this with another researcher, there are some issues. Already that first paragraph comes off as rather unprofessional.

        Those claims about the AWARE study are misleading IMO, as we know some form of veridical information was obtained that always gets glossed over, and there are obvious responses to ‘but nobody saw the targets!’ e.g. I doubt the few people who did have NDE OBEs were thinking to look for a hidden target. Parnia and others have addressed such claims. He also makes some false equivalencies with stimulated OBEs. The examples he gives don’t remind me of many, if any, NDEs. We already know such things can be stimulated, Greyson has noted this and elaborated on how it is fallicious to jump to conclusions based on these similarities, of which there are a limited number. His argument doesn’t come off as well-researched in the field of NDEs at all and from a heavily biased position.

        As for the filter/receiver segment, that’s a bit more challenging due to the terminology he uses, but he seems to be making his own assertions about it such as ‘we should have been able to detect it by now’ and ‘but neural correlates’ while inserting his own speculation. For example, he seems to assume that if the brain receives consciousness it would be isolated to a certain area of the brain.

        Like

  32. Astra Bulfo on said:

    @omnihilon Yeah I don’t advocate for this guy’s views. I just wanted to see what kind of refutation could be made and I like being healthfully skeptical.

    Liked by 1 person

    • omnihilon on said:

      I very much relate to that Astra. No worries 🙂

      Like

    • Anthony on said:

      The husband of a cousin of mine is a neurosurgeon, on occasion I have spoken with him about these issues and he agrees on many ideas with the information you uploaded. Surely everything is intrinsic to the brain, but there is much to discover about how it works

      Like

      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        Well if this is true then NDEs are just hallucinations created by the brain without any actual meaning or signifigance. The issue I raise is that we don’t actually understand how the mind-body problem works and although its true that most neurosurgeons work off the assumption that the physicalist approach is true, it’s only an assumption. There’s no working model that shows how material “stuff” creates consciousn experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is what It have to find out from neuroscience, and it will be an exciting journey for years and decades to come. But most likely, near-death experiences, death-bed phenomena, etc., are nothing more than processes intrinsic to the brain. If there were a field where we left when we died, for example CERN would have already found it

        Like

    • I agree with Omnihilon. I would like to add that:
      -anecdotes are important for research. Of course, concerning level of evidence case reports are the least reliable level of evidence, but still are considered important and most controlled studies come from previous observations of cases (anecdotes). And case reports are published everyday in scientific journals.
      -I too wonder “what if the patient was hearing during CA?” But then the verified observations of visuals are not easily explained. I also think if this would be comparable to dreaming and hearing conversations meanwhile: the conversation gets into the dream but creates weird related situations in the dream, not very comparable to the OBE state where a patient sees and describes the whole situation as it is, and also as an observer, not a participant (like dreams). Again, it may not be comparable, just wondering.
      -the paragraph about brain networks was difficult, but he seems to be assuming to know how conciousness arises in the brain, and this to date has not been understood nor proved. I also don’t really understand the filter hypothesis very well, but I don’t make assumptions about it either. So everyone should be a bit humble here.

      I wonder who the author is, was this published in a scientific paper? Is he a neurologist?

      Neurologists usually defend the materialist position. I found neurosurgeons that have their doubts. I once exchanged opinions with a neurosurgeon, who stated that he had seen so many weird things that defy materialism, that he was moving now more towards mysticism and accepting that conciousness was a mistery that always leads to more questions. He advised me to embrace mystery…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Also, to add something else:

        -there are dozens of studies on EEG during CA. Most research was done in animal experiments, also studies on EEG during CPR, that is why they (including Parnia) always stated that the EEg is flat. I doubt that such assumptions came from incomplete data. I have some of this studies and also a case report of a woman whose EEG was recorded during CA, there were more than just frontal recordings, it was very complete. And it was flat after 27 seconds.

        -recordings in rats (remember Borjigin study in 2013?) were also complete craneal EEG.

        -then we also have patients that have some level of consciousness during CPR as published in some case reports (“anecdotes”) but they never correlated this with NDE (as someone in this forum once mentioned). I read those studies, very few documented but still interesting. Some of them even move and respond to commands.

        -Parnia once wrote that EEG doesn’t come back until ROSC is achieved. In his AHA poster 2019 he stated that they were unsure that the alpha waves corresponded to transient periods of ROSC (it was possible that they did).

        Don’t known if this information is useful for the comments on that paper. I still think that concerning what is conciousness and how it arises those were the author assumptions, but nobody knows.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Astra Bulfo on said:

        Can you think of what things he felt like defied materialism enough for him to change his views?

        Like

  33. @Astra Bulto

    I asked him for what was the most shocking thing that happened to him and he said that a patient that was under burst suppression for brain surgery (it was not a stand still however) reproduced verbatim the conversation he had with his assistant under the microscope while she was under BS. Don’t know more about it. He said it challenged his ideas about memory formation and conciousness, whether it resides truly in the brain or what.

    It may very well be that some residual activity in the hearing area was active? But the way anaesthesia works and BS works should not allow for this, specially for spontaneous recall.
    So…mistery.

    Like

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      @Mery

      What got you interested in NDEs given your line of work?

      Like

      • When I was in Medical school had an anxiety crisis secondary to fear of death. I am not religious nor spiritual, and I find the materialistic view of the world quite depressing. I came across Pam Reynolds case in the Internet. Ever since, I found verified perceptions during CA fascinating.
        I don’t think my line of work had anything to do with my interest. However, as a scientist I tend to analyse data a lot. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.

        Like

  34. Hearing is as complex as hearing.It needs a lot of brain activity period.

    Like

    • Hearing is incredibly complex, and for some reason people don’t seem to equate the idea of hearing during an NDE on the same level as seeing. If there is no EEG activity, the brain cannot receive signals from the auditory nerves and “hear”. You don’t hear with your ears…you hear with your brain which interprets electrical signals from auditory nerves into sounds, just like you don’t actually see with your eyes, but your brain, which interprets signals sent via the optical nerves from your eyes. if your brain is flatlining, but you hear things, then this is absolutely 100% direct evidence that someone has had an OBE, no more or no less so than seeing things from outside of your body. I know you helped me to “see” this David, and 100% buy into it now.

      Sam Parnia will already have enough data to confirm or otherwise whether or not the reports of hearing that were recorded during the AWARE II study and presented in the 2019 AHA poster were genuine auditory OBEs or not. He will have their EEG data, and indeed whether or not noises were being played at the time etc, but he has refused to share that with me (or others) who have repeatedly requested this information. That is his prerogative, and it may be that he has very good reasons for this in terms of protecting the integrity of the data for publication in a major journal, but it is extremely frustrating from our point of view.

      If he hadn’t presented data from the EEG/oximetry side of AWARE II at the same time suggesting that some patients were potentially able to experience consciousness despite no ECG, then we would not be in this state of purgatory, but he did present this, without correlating, or otherwise, the reports of auditory OBEs. We know he knows, but he ain’t spilling the beans…Grrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ben, you said “he has their EEG data”. Maybe he doesn’t have all the EEG data. In research studies some data can be missed, patients sometimes lack some variables from the entire designed protocol, that is why you need big samples. The poster stated less than 100 patients with EEG recordings. And we know for sure 16 of these subjects died in hospital (no interviews I presume). Maybe they could play the audio tape but EEG was more difficult in some patients, or was so full of artifacts that was of no use for a correct reading. I believe that the simple answer here is that no correlation was made because they didn’t have the data of that patient. Or maybe the patient was a bit concious and not having an NDE/OBE. More than a year has passed, and AHA 2020 was something different…
        In my opinion, if he had something worth publishing, he would have published that already.
        I see we all have different opinions here, I like this debate. But it is all speculations after all. The only one who really knows what is going on with those data is Parnia.

        Also remember, in a clinical session (available in the Parnia lab website) from May 2019 (abstract submission dates for AHA 2019) he stated that they didn’t have data for correlations between EEg and NDE.

        Like

  35. We aren’t ever getting anything are we? Aware 2 was probably a bust.

    Like

  36. Iam only going of the character presented by Parnia, and I have also been in contact with Dr Bruce Greyson and he seemed to hint at some new research. As for why Parnia hasn’t gone into further detail regarding the auditory hit in 2019. A few friends and I who are interested in the phenomena have postulated a few reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Okay but seriously I think we are left in the dark on Aware 2 as the details of it’s results seem somewhat vague. I do look forward to future studies though.

    Like

  38. Brand new Guardian article on terminal lucidity where Sam Parnia is mentioned as soon carrying out his own studies
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/feb/23/the-clouds-cleared-what-terminal-lucidity-teaches-us-about-life-death-and-dementia#comments

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alan, a very interesting article. It is strange, and maybe a convenient coincidence for me, especially if Dr Parnia goes to any dementia conventions, but I started working in Alzheimer’s in December. My father died of it two years ago, and I have been moving into neurology after years in HIV so I could get on board the express train of research that is currently departing the station. It is the number one killer in the UK, and it is the most feared disease in the world.

      Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible. Neurons are permanently destroyed, and the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient after death is considerably smaller than a normal elderly patient. I am working on drugs that may be the first in history to stop the process of destruction by removing the plaques that a part of neuronal death. While the data is a bit hit and miss, I believe there is something there, and it is extremely exciting…I’ve never been so motivated, even compared to when I launched a game changing drug in HIV back in 2000. When you have seen someone destroyed by Alzheimer’s, you learn to hate it. However, everything we know about the disease is that the damage might be stopped with new therapies, or slowed, but it cannot be reversed, unless we can grow it back with stem cells but that is not even on the drawing board yet. Terminal lucidity is not a return of normal brain function in my view, it something altogether different.

      Huge respect to Parnia for doing this work. More to the point, I might be able to find him at a poster session at a convention and ask just what the heck happened with those auditory OBEs!

      Like

  39. Thanks Alan, appreciated. I would have thought they would collaborate since Greyson is at Virginia.

    Like

  40. I arrive here looking forward to the next big thing and still nothing been said about Aware 2’s results. I’m losing my confidence. Might as well pour all our finances into SENS.org and Lifepsan.io.

    Like

  41. At least that’s working towards some sort of future through science.

    Like

    • Astra Bulfo on said:

      I don’t mean any offense but if your primary interest in NDEs is as a way to cheat death I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. We’re trying to prove and validate the NDE experience as well as veridical OBEs. It’s worrying to me that so much interest in this seems to be out of the fear of death rather than just searching for an objective fact regardless of what we “want” to be true.

      Like

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