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

Third Phase of AWARE II

It looks like the post docs and other next generation of researchers in Sam Parnia’s lab have finally taken control of our favourite ER doctor’s social media accounts. Let’s face it, it needed to happen…he was averaging about 1 Tweet every 6 months…or maybe he has been abducted by TPTB for threatening to undermine their materialist domination of modern culture and society and his juniors have filled the void. Either way, maybe now we will have something to talk about more often. (thanks Snezna for the tip off).

So from the latest post, an Instagram video by Tori Williams, one of his researchers, we can see in the side bar that it is mentioned the AWARE studies are entering ”phase III”. It seems they are expanding the remit of the study into understanding the effects of CPR on consciousness. One wonders what this subtle change in emphasis in the study is due to, and what it means. It definitely feels like a slight shift in the materialist direction. Rather than seeking to understand what is happening to the conscious while the heart stops (and CPR was coincident to that) they are now looking at the physiological effect of CPR, and how that effects consciousness. Previously, the assumption, indeed assertion, was that it didn’t. Is this because they haven’t had anything to give them reason to continue pursuing the non-materialist explanation, or are they under pressure to anchor their research in territory that is more acceptable to the academic establishment in which they reside?

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82 thoughts on “Third Phase of AWARE II

  1. Sorry Ben, where did you find the information regarding aware 3 and the effects of CPR on conciousness? I can’t see it anywhere except what they mention in the text that comes with the short video of the research coordinator.


    • Mery, it wasn’t AWARE III, but phase III of AWARE II, and I can’t find the passage now. As you mention in your post further down, and I agree, I think they are doing this to demonstrate objectivity and therefore they need to test the alternative hypothesis to duality, namely CPRIC in this instance. Also, as I say in reply to your post, they need to maintain a genuine element of medical research which may show improved outcomes from better CPR. This would be needed to convince ethics review boards and PIs at new sites.

      I do think that any results that support the understanding that the conscious can exist beyond the death of the brain must be balanced by a thorough investigation into alternative explanations that fall within the remit of the study. This would then be a Lancet, NEJM or JAMA + Nature paper, rather than journal of resuscitation.


  2. Eduardo Jorge Fulco on said:

    Unfortunately I do not have the possibility to translate the video…. into Spanish but I wonder. Are they referring to NDEs…or are they not referring, instead; to the disorders of consciousness of many patients who were resuscitated? Caused by brain lesions…A significant proportion of patients whose heart is resuscitated after cardiac arrest do not regain consciousness immediately. Instead, they may be comatose for hours, days or much longer. Some of these patients may recover, and many others die.


  3. I looking at ot from the Bigelow essay released in November myself and think it a stance more rooted in a non materialistic perspective myself.


  4. Ben, if that’s the case, if Parnia really started this Aware 3 phase on cor effects, I agree with you. And the reason your questions are legit is because we didn’t get any conclusions from Parnia regarding Aware 2. It looks like he did not get what he was looking for and subtly changed direction. Well, I hope my conjecture is wrong.


  5. Ben, if that’s the case, if Parnia really started this Aware 3 phase on cpr effects, I agree with you. And the reason your questions are legit is because we didn’t get any conclusions from Parnia regarding Aware 2. It looks like he did not get what he was looking for and subtly changed direction. Well, I hope my conjecture is wrong.


  6. Eduardo Jorge Fulco on said:

    I agree with Z. In his work for the Bigelow, the results of which were released in November 2021, Parnia is in a non-materialistic position.


  7. I read the Essay, and indeed it is a very non materialistic position. It seems Parnia and his student remain in the position they were before Aware 2 results were commented on 2019. For me, it was very interesting that they mention their own published results on aware 2 (2018) and comment on them: “In a recent study, it was shown that although some patterns of brain electrical activity may transiently reappear during CPR (suggesting the heartbeat may have been transiently restored), the majority of the time, no measurable brain electrical activity is observed.113 This is very significant as biologically cardiac arrest and “death” are synonymous, despite the terminology used. During this period, as expected clinical and EEG markers, indicate absence of overall brain function”
    They also comment on CPR induced consciousness as Tim stated in a comment.

    My insights are these: science and research is ambiguous and they are playing both sides because of funding and research reasons. I believe that the Parnia Lab research is showing a more neutral and materialistic position, in order to get funding. Remember the statement they made presenting the Paradoxical lucidity? Now in the Essay they say these surges of cortical activity are just depolarisation and not responsible for NDEs.
    The Task Force on cognition during CA made me hard to tell if they believed CPRIC meant externals signs of consciousness or not. In the study of recalled experiences during CA they again mention the term CPR IC. So it seems to me that some of the researchers in Parnia Lab are using the terminology in an ambiguous way. And again, in the AHA posters they are “selling” their product to the scientific community (you must present results if you are being funded) and they said cognitive activity can arise during CPR based on EEG findings. Now in the Essay they say this doesn’t happen.
    Indeed if you want to get a monetary prize on the survival of conciousness your conclusions should point to that way, but I doubt that if Parnia was now firmly on the materialistic position he would have used his name and corrected this Essay.
    I believe that results and statements from Parnia Lab are going to be ambiguous, and we should also look for interviews and talks given directly by Sam.

    Eduardo, in the video she is just summarizing the highlights of Aware 1 and 2, being multicentric and all. She doesn’t mention anything else. The statement on Aware 3 was in the text below but I couldn’t find a especific mention to CPR and conciousness. Ben, where did you read it?


    • Thanks Mery, that is extremely well put. I think you are right, they are trying to navigate the waters keeping an even keel. They need to at least maintain the appearance of objectivity by studying the idea of CPRIC being the cause of NDEs, especially as their AHA poster pointed towards this. I do think it is about more than money though.I think that to recruit new centres to their study they need to show that it is genuine medical research with the potential to improve outcomes. I think the biggest problem with AWARE II is not money, but patient recruitment and they need more sites.

      However, the real gem in your post is your observation on what they say in the essay about “that” AHA poster. That is genuinely NEWS. It answers the question that I have been trying to get out of the lab for past 2 years. I must admit, I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to read the essay, but now I will as it is clear there are things in it that may shed light on what they know, rather than what they are telling.

      It may be I am a lot less busy soon as the Alzheimer’s drug I am dealing with is not viewed favourably by the committee that advises the EMA. After watching my father die of Alzheimer’s I am currently working very hard to (compliantly) insure at least some access to potentially disease modifying medication to sufferers. It is a vile disease, worse than anything I have dealt with so I am very focused for the next few weeks. We will see.


      • Well, actually the study they are referencing is the published paper (2018) on a subset of patients that showed delta activity and some other patterns. It was the same results as the AHA poster of 2019 but without the alpha waves. All those patients died so they couldn’t obtain any NDE or memory after ROSC. In that paper they suggested mental/concious activity, as was suggested in the AHA poster.
        If you remember, the AHA poster results stated that they were unsure that those EEG waves corresponded to transient periods of ROSC. Now they clearly suggest that possibility in the Essay, and never mention that CPR might be the cause of NDEs.

        I still think they didn’t get any correlation in the Aware 2 (due to bad luck, possibly no readings available for the recalled memories), so perhaps now, in order to get funding and people involved in their research is to try something different. Because, they already had a lot of centers and patients included, maybe they cannot get any larger than that…


    • @ Mery

      Good post, Mery and I think you are probably right about the ‘balancing act’ to get funding. Just with reference to Parnia’s essay, I think it’s fairly clear that it is written from the the perspective of someone who is satisfied that the data does not support a physiological explanation. Would you agree with that ?

      Are we therefore entitled to draw any tentative conclusions from it? I would say yes but I’m reluctant to extrapolate too much from it, due to this guessing game we are left to play (inevitably, no criticism of Parnia and co)


      I can’t find the statement about CPR in your OP.

      Ben said >” Rather than seeking to understand what is happening to the conscious while the heart stops (and CPR was coincident to that) they are now looking at the physiological effect of CPR, and how that effects consciousness. ”

      From Parnia’s essay CPRIC has an incidence of 0.3% during CPR attempts. ref 125* (I can’t find this reference BTW in the section at the end ??)

      Is it not impossible based on nothing more than logical deduction, that CPR induced consciousness cannot be the explanation for NDE/OBE’s as the percentage is far too small. NDE’s occur in 10-20% of cardiac arrest survivors and even out of body experiences occur considerably more often than 0.3%


      • Apols. to butt in!

        Tim “From Parnia’s essay CPRIC has an incidence of 0.3% during CPR attempts”

        Hi Tim, just remembered from this discussion we had on October 27 where the other doctor says “Awareness during CPR is an extremely rare event,” from my previous comment here,

        So that statement by him links and confirms with the 0.3% incidence in the Bigelow essay by Sam Parnia and his colleague.
        Just reading that whole section to do with CPR-induced consciousness in the Bigelow essay which has the 0.3% figure they imply this is quite distinct from actual NDEs. I also did a search of their Bigelow essay of “CPRIC” and it only comes up four times in that section and is not mentioned anywhere else in the paper. So, like others, I guess we can conclude in the end it just isn’t relevant at all.

        I found the 117 reference you couldn’t by doing Resuscitation 2017; 113: 44-50 on Google.


      • Thanks, Alan !


    • Hi Mery, what is the reference for the 2018 paper? On the topic of no correlation in AWARE II, as I show in my book, they just didn’t have enough surviving participants for the data presented to date, the same problem as AWARE I. However, we have only ever seen about a third of the planned recruitment. The 2019 poster was based on 2018 data. I think they only had a couple of dozen interviews with survivors…all very bizarre.


    • Hi Mery,

      The AHA poster does not necessarily refer to transient ROSC. This is the line that has bugged me for 2 years, but due to what you guys say the Bigelow essay states (and that I will now read), I am no longer bugged by:

      “These data raise questions regarding assumptions of irreversible brain damage with prolonged CPR, as well as the possibility of consciousness and cognitive activity during CPR.”

      This is non-specific in terms of what the cause is. Spontaneous circulation requires heart activity, the line in the AHA poster could equally well refer to CPR sufficient to provide adequately oxygenated blood to produce EEG associated with consciousness without any heartbeat.


      • Hi Ben,

        That line indeed may refer to CPR being sufficient to produce EEG activity.

        Howeverz in the poster they stated “we are unsure whether the alpha rythms occurred during brief transient period of ROSC” (or something like that, I have not copy-pasted)

        In the Essay they are using this possible transient periods of ROSC to favour their position that NDEs are not explained by CPR.

        What I understand is this: you need to sell a poster to a high starndar scientific Congress (AHA), then you take a more materialist approach, but always leave the door open for speculation since you can’t make an assertion of certainty (possible transient periods of ROSC, etc) (I publish in journals and congresses, this is how it works)
        You write an Essay on survival, you have room and freedom to discuss whatever you need. I believe that if Parnia was contrary to the statements made in the Essay he wouldn’t have added his name and done corrections on it (I am assuming the student wrote it).

        Indeed in 2019 he seemed to present his data on a more materialistic manner. But since late 2020, in his interviews, he seemed to go back, and never presented his work as confirming the hypothesis of better CPR being the cause for NDEs.

        Based on what has been published, the hypothesis of the Parnia Lab website (that awareness was correlated with better CPR quality) has never been demonstrated: they correlated cerebral O2 durin CPR with ROSC and neurological outcomes. And EEG waves with cerebral O2 (delta and so appeared with more than 40% of O2, but isoelectric appeared with all % of O2, this is all in the 2018 paper). But they never obtained a correlation between experiences, awareness and O2, or between awareness and EEG.
        Maybe that is why he takes that position in the Essay…I don’t know.

        But as Tim says, Parnia gets me confused…


  8. Eduardo Jorge Fulco on said:

    thanks so much Mery!!


  9. I think we should try to keep a more positive outlook since we do only know so little of the actual results and since they haven’t published the whole study, all we can do is speculate, we really can’t draw conclusions from puzzle pieces without the whole puzzle. I at least remain optimistic that there are good findings Sam Parnia hasn’t revealed, what those are I don’t know. All we can do is wait and see.


    • I agree Tom, and after the observation that Mery made from the essay, I am more optimistic than I have been for a while. However,you will never stop us speculating!


      • @Ben

        “I agree Tom, and after the observation that Mery made from the essay”

        Have I missed something, Ben ? What specific observation, other than what has already been discussed, are we talking about now ?


      • OK, going to hold my hands up and say I obviously missed some of the discussion from the previous post I made in this blog, particularly the 0.3% bit from the Bigelow essay…only the most important bit! The truth I was sick with a bug that gave “mind fog” for much of November, work has been insane and I have been moving into a half renovated home. Dropped the ball there guys and gals, sorry. Won’t do it again!


      • Oh totally agree, speculating and discussing is what makes it fun. I was never trying to stop anyone from speculating l, quite the opposite, I was just trying to convey more optimism🙂


    • Ben, this is the article they are referencing in the Essay:

      Reagan EM, Nguyen R, Ravishankar S, Chabra V, et al. Monitoring the Relationship Between Changes in Cerebral
      Oxygenation and Electroencephalography Patterns During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Feasibility Study.
      Crit Care Medicine 2018; 46:757-763

      I have the full article. It is similar to the AHA poster, but with a smaller number of patients.

      I was browsing the Parnia Lab website, and found this:
      “In our studies of cardiac arrest and its effects on consciousness, our data led us to hypothesize that higher-quality resuscitation is associated with a higher level of conscious awareness during cardiac arrest and resuscitation”. This was the section on deep hypothermic CA.

      I didn’t see it before. They were mentioning, and Parnia also answered with this to a question from the public in 2019, that the hypothesis would be that better blood flow to the brain allows people to have these experiences. Or as the website says, the quality of CPR is associated with concious awareness. Parnia said “but let’s see what the data show”.
      However, their publications, and posters never showed a correlation between EEG and Awareness, or between cerebral Oxygenation and awareness. So I wonder if this is data/site are not updated and are part of the presentation on of Aware 2.
      The most recent and up to date information we have now is the Essay. And the radio interviews from August and December 2020. Parnia has never since mentioned that CPR and awareness are correlated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Mery

        Mery said > (quoting Parnia) “our data led us to hypothesize that higher-quality resuscitation is associated with a higher level of conscious awareness during cardiac arrest and resuscitation”.

        Yes, he has always said this because he can’t say anything else, as I understand it, if he wants to get the funding. He has to stay within the remit of the possibilities of mainstream science (looking for a physiological cause such as better oxygen delivery rather than a disembodied mind) until he has the evidence to state otherwise.

        I think the three of us, you, me and Ben (no disrespect and no disrespect to any of the other contributors here) are unwittingly leading each other up the garden path :)– :)– :). lol !

        (The deep hypothermic study is a separate issue entirely (isn’t it ?).

        But going back to Parnia’s essay, if that’s not Parnia’s take on the data, then what is it ? It’s hard to imagine that he could write THAT in the manner he has, and then on the other hand, revert back to proposing a physiological cause. But I’m getting confused myself, now.

        Whatever, I think I can say this much with some confidence. Even if Parnia IS now satisfied (based on the probabilities) that mind and brain are separate, unless he’s got some (other) extraordinary evidence that we are not party to, he is STILL going to have to get those double blind target hits, before mainstream science will sit up and take notice.

        @Ben (no worries about dropping the ball, you haven’t and we know you’re busy at the moment )

        Liked by 1 person

      • I need to read that essay! It is long though…more of a mini-book. I may have train journey tomorrow,so will download it.


  10. Anthony on said:

    In this type of study, the totally scientific and even materialistic approach I think is the 100% appropriate approach. I am sure that with time all these phenomena will be explained from a physiological point of view, and that will be the end of those who profit by alluding to paranormal phenomena and more. But there is always a tiny window to something that escapes the current scientific paradigm, of course.


    • One warning Anthony. You are trolling, and it is unwanted.


    • @Anthony

      Anthony said > “I am sure that with time all these phenomena will be explained from a physiological point of view”

      With time ? Materialist science has had over 45 years and still hasn’t explained them. Have you read Parnia’s essay ?

      Just to remind you, he’s the one that’s conducting the world’s largest study into this phenomenon (with real resuscitated patients in over twenty hospitals), so it seems likely he might actually know a thing or two about it, believe it or not.

      What he appears to be saying is exactly the opposite of what you’ve speculated there. Now I’m not saying anymore than that, other than you are entitled to your opinion, but it seems unlikely now (at least) that your opinion is going to prove to be correct.


      • Hi, Eduardo !

        Just to clarify, if you’re going to slice and dice the figures like that, you have to take into account the 900 (out of the 1000) who didn’t survive, and the 10-20 percent of those that would have had an NDE but didn’t live to report it. So that would be between one and 200 patients who must have had an NDE.

        You can’t compare CPR induced consciousness with NDE in a 1000 patient sample of resuscitation attempts and then forget that 900 of those patients cannot report an NDE even if they had one.


    • Anthony, piling in here and echoing others … the thing the “burden of proof” has now shifted. *You* have to provide a materialistic explanation for NDEs which involves all the features, so the onus is on yourself. It’s not good enough to kind of handwave and just say materialism. I’ve yet to see anything like this proposed.
      In an odd way, by science not knowing enough about the physical, in that there could be something at core conscious in everything, physical could be the explanation. I think Bertrand Russell said something like this as well as the current philosopher Galen Strawson who starts with Russell’s argument to argue that *selves* exist (but doesn’t mention an afterlife and everything else). Philip Goff (Durham) also is currently arguing from Russell but again doesn’t talk about an afterlife etc. I’m also absolutely sure they know of all this as well but hesitate to mention, which is natural. But it’s a start.


      • Anthony on said:

        I don´t know who Russell and Strawson are, as I have once said, my knowledge on this subject is not as extensive as the people who participate here, also I am not fluent in English to understand everything you say
        My skepticism about these issues stems from the fact that I know first-hand, and through other people, that there is a lot of fraud on these issues, but that does not in any way invalidate that these phenomena have always existed, but I consider that a 100% scientific approach is needed. as surely as Sam Parnia is doing, and not speculate with anything beyond what we have in the current scientific paradigm
        My opinion can be philosophical and even unscientific. But I think that when cardiac arrest occurs, the cells that make up the brain are not immediately annihilated, I think they can continue to generate some kind of minimal activity for a time, perhaps not detectable by the technology we have (minutes, hours, I don’t know) . The brain generates substances in that period of time, related to the feeling of well-being and peace that many comment


      • Hi Anthony “The brain generates substances in that period of time, related to the feeling of well-being and peace that many comment”

        What “substances” are these? And the phenomenology of the experiences, if you’ve done any research on this, is much more than just “the feeling of well-being and peace” produced by your “substances”. To be honest your theory doesn’t explain these at all.

        As for fraud, again, if you’ve actually listened or read NDE accounts it’s quite clear fraud is something not seriously considered by researchers. Is it worth you backing up your claim with any evidence on this?


      • @Anthony. We do speculate on here, but usually based on some tidbit of evidence or a report that has been presented from a credible source. Just saying “my opinion…” without citing either some research or an experts theoretical musings on the subject (such as a famous neuro scientist), is not adding to the discussion, it is just creating negative noise that is distracting. If this is repeated after a warning (now your second), I hit the eject button.

        Also, as Alan says, just stating that there is a lot fraud on these issues is insulting to the millions of people who have reported NDEs, including my father.

        Either provide thoughtful, substantiated comments, or say nothing.

        Thank you.


      • Anthony on said:

        Ben Williams, you are a disrespectful person, more in front of someone who has said more than once that he does not have the knowledge that others have on these topics and that he does not speak English. Being scientific and so intolerant the truth is something strange
        What I was commenting on above about the substances that are released in the brain, there are many hypotheses in this regard, not really proven but as valid as other quite implausible ones that are discussed regarding paranormal matters and that are not scientifically proven at all
        This article is a brief summary of this by the professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid: Francisco José Rubia Vila. Knowing his work and his opinions about it would help many around here
        And as for the fraud that I mentioned above, I recommend reading Susan Blackmore, who investigated about it and has very good theories that explain these phenomena much better than some that are proposed by some people with other interests behind. Of course, she will be branded a materialist as if that were a negative thing.
        And beyond that, it also helps to have a family member who is a neurologist to try to understand these things, but some who are scientists have very closed minds, and even believe in God and deny the theory of evolution, with that is all said. By the way, what God? The Muslim or Christian vision? The polytheism of Ancient Egypt?
        Some directly reach the ridiculous, have a good life;)


      • Hi. A very long time lurker here, and a fellow scientist (or at least a person with PhD). I think that this discussion is becoming heavily biased. I do think that there is a lot of stuff worth investigating in NDEs. I can’t see Anthony crossing any lines or being a troll. On the contrary, actually.
        Ben, while I appreciate this website very much, I think that you as a scientist you should be more open to opinions that differ from yours. Otherwise the site will become an echo chamber. Or maybe it has already become – I see that opinions that differ are attacked, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Zilch, thanks for coming out of the shadows. My objection to Anthony is not that he is a materialist, but that he has, until now, failed to support his materialist assertions with any evidence. I am also aware of people with multiple profiles. The fact that Anthony has now posted some material for us to discuss means that my finger is further from the button, despite the personal attack. I have happily enjoyed the presence of a number of materialists (most notably Chad) who add to the debate and test our understanding. Anthony needs to do a lot more to be included in that illustrious group.


      • @Anthony. I earn no money from this site. I am extremely busy in my work against Alzheimer’s Disease, and give materialists a lot of latitude. What I do not tolerate is people just lobbing their negative opinions on here without substantiation to rile those on here who use their intelligence to find answers to deep questions. That kind of behaviour is trolling and it is what you were doing. Neither will I tolerate insults. You have made a start in the right direction in terms of posting some material, and I hope you will now engage in thoughtful evidence based dialogue, but your insults have undermined much of the good will I am prepared to show you. One more, to me, or anyone else, and you are gone.


  11. Eduardo on said:

    It should be clarified that the percentage of 0.3 percent of CPR (CPR-induced awareness), to which Parnia refers in the trial, is the incidence on the total of resuscitation attempts (and not on the total of patients who are managed to revive). To this we must calculate the survival rate for cardiac arrests, which according to hospitals varies a lot, but in general it does not fall below 10% (in-hospital). In a “pessimistic” calculation we could conjecture that out of 1000 patients who attempt to resuscitate only 100 survive. Of those 100 there are only 10 to 20 patients who report an NDE (NDE), while with CPR-induced consciousness there would be only 3 (0 , 3% of 1000).


    • @Anthony

      Near-death experiences
      Authors: Francisco J. Rubia Vila
      Location: Annals of the Royal National Academy of Medicine, ISSN 0034-0634,

      No. 1, 2012, pp. 281-294

      Language: Spanish
      Exemplary Full Text
      Near-death experiences are those reported by people who, having been clinically dead, come back to life spontaneously or through resuscitation maneuvers. They have traditionally nurtured belief in the existence of the soul and life beyond death. However, today neuroscience tries to explain these experiences from the scientific point of view, that is, alluding to their brain base. Their resemblance to mystical experiences and altered states of consciousness seems to indicate that they are due to a hyperactivity of limbic system structures produced by anoxia and/or hypercapnia.


      Your link didn’t work but presumably this (above) is what you are referring to ?

      This paper was created or published in 2012. It states that NDE’s resemble mystical experiences and altered states of consciousness and this seems to indicate that they are due to a hyperactivity of limbic system structures produced by anoxia and/or hypercapnia.

      So it’s basically the same old theory (with no supporting evidence) of oxygen deprivation or too much carbon dioxide (Hypercapnia/hypercarbia).

      In effect, the “dying brain theory” as hypothesised by psychologist Susan Blackmore in the early eighties. Blackmore, though, never conducted any notable NDE research herself to provide any evidence of this, never mind on real patients. It was all just armchair speculation that developed a life of it’s own.

      However, seven prospective hospital studies since then have refuted/ruled out oxygen deprivation and carbon dioxide overload. Furthermore, the current prospective studies focus on patients who have objectively died, not nearly died. No one conducting these studies seriously entertained those old ideas anymore, such as Rubia Vila espoused.

      I’ve tried to point this out to you several times, but you don’t seem to want to hear it and I understand that. Your ‘religion’ (materialism) is very important to you.

      But rather than pretend that you’re an open minded sceptic, why not just admit that you will never accept any other explanation, other than a physiological materialist one. And then you don’t have to pretend anymore.


  12. Eduardo on said:

    You are absolutely right Tim I totally agree, I just wanted to make a scenario as “pessimistic” as possible.


  13. I think this blog is, at least for me, one of the better sources of information about NDEs and aware study. But I have to agree with Zilch: this must be a place of debating, putting some different ideas and theories to discussion. That’s the ony way we can look at things in perspective and keep on learning. This should be a place for all and not only for nde belivers.


  14. Stanley on said:

    Ben and others, if I could just throw my two cents in, I think what’s important for this blog ( as a discussion space ) moving forwards is avoiding unnecessary repetition. What always impresses me about the best and frequent contributors on here is that when there’s nothing new to say, this blog goes relatively quiet. This might sound weird but in the absence of any new discussion points or data that’s also how it should be.

    I’m not going to point fingers but my ( others may vary ) definition of a “troll” is repeated comments without substance. At this point we know the opinions of regular contributors, and if newcomers want to lay out their stance I think that’s great, but personally I don’t see the value in the same folk repeat their stance on believing/not believing in NDE’s with the same information over and over.

    Just wanted to throw my cent is as I don’t necessarily agree that with comments that Ben or any other regulars are being biased, many of the best contributors on here have been/are materialists, as I would consider myself too. But opinions must move the discussion forward, regardless of how you interpret NDE’s.


  15. Ben,

    I disagree that by studying consciousness and CPR it is shifting to a materialist position. Rather this is trying to rule out all other possibilities before concluding something metaphysical (kind of like the Catholic Church when they try to determine who is a saint). This is good science. The last thing you’d want to do is publish something that has a major impact in not just science circles but also the public only to have to retract it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you misunderstand what I am saying Nic. I absolutely want every stone to be looked under from a materialist perspective so that there is no doubt about the results.


    • Just to add, I understand where you are coming from. My concern was when I posted this first, that there may have been a shift in emphasis at the Parnia lab, and that may have reflected an underlying change in philosophical understanding, but I have been sufficiently convinced by lots of posts on here, that I was being overly pessimistic.Yes, this is good science.


      • Makes sense, Ben. Falsifiability is a very important part of a scientific theory. Results need to be reported as they are observed, and not what the experimenter wants to see. If not we end up with problems like the replication crisis, evolutionary psych, behaviorism, etc (you can probably guess I don’t consider psychology a real science).

        This also has to go both ways. There are a also a significant amount of people in science and even more in science journalism who have concluded that something is only a scientific theory if it proves materialism which of course is nonsense.


    • @Nic

      The guilty “suspect” here (the culprit/explanation) looks more and more like it’s the soul (separate mind). The soul’s “prints” are all over the crime scene. There is evidence in abundance that the ‘soul’ is responsible. I would argue that in a courts of law comparison, the soul would have been found guilty by now.

      However, because this is such an extraordinary area, we do need extraordinary evidence. Where do you suggest that we/they look for it ? Over twenty explanations have been so far proposed and none of them are satisfactory.

      I wonder if it is the case that a separate mind is simply inadmissible. What do you think ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps.


      • It does indeed sound like a soul.

        I will more or less quote Sam Parnia here since I’ve heard him say this so many times (first time was when I was back in high school!).

        If you ask philosophers, physicians, or psychologists if they believe in the psyche or self, they will say most definitely. However, if you ask them if they believe in a soul you may get less people agreeing even though they both essentially mean the same thing. There are two main views of the psyche or soul; Aristotle’s view where the soul was the form of the body (see hylomorphism) and died with the body. Plato’s view on the other hand held that the soul was separate from the body (substance dualism) and would separate from the body upon death. Our results thus far seems that at least in the initial moments after death, the soul is not obliterated. That leads us to need to seriously consider the second view of the soul.

        Interestingly, my Christian denomination tends to hold the first; soul is the form of the body and dies with the body and will come back with the bodily resurrection.


    • Well spotted, Z !

      Actually, I think it’s more than a general comment. There’s a new acronym in there that they appear to be using…RED. Recalled experience of death.

      I wonder if they’ve decided to run with that over the ADE, actual death experience. Looks like NDE is being retired which is bad news for those sceptics who had been labelling everything an NDE, including drug trips.

      Interesting tasty fish for us seals. Oink oink. (sorry couldn’t resist that, just my terrible humour)

      Liked by 1 person

  16. ADE and RED could co-exist, no?


  17. One means the actual experience itself, the other, the memory of it.


    • @Yitz

      Yitz said >” One means the actual experience itself, the other, the memory of it.”

      Hi, Yitz ! No, they’re both referring to the same thing. And they’re an attempt to make the experience less open to individual interpretation (so Parnia has intimated) as all kinds of experiences (DMT trips for example) are now labelled as NDE’s (are they not?)

      The term near death (experience) has always been far too vague and imprecise which has tended to suggest that maybe there is nothing remarkable about the experience (NDE) and therefore nothing needs to be addressed ‘paradigm wise’ about what they mean.

      Actual death experience or recalled experience of death means that the patient has actually met the criteria for death as defined by medics.

      So sceptics will not now be able to label Parnia’s patients ‘near death’ and use the excuse that the patient hadn’t really died. It’s a tightening/streamlining of the field and should lead to the debate moving on from the same old tired objections. Hopefully, that is 😉


  18. Matthew on said:

    I think this chart should give one food for though:

    You stated their was no reason for older adults to recall information less than younger adults. But we do see that trend for dream recall.


  19. Stanley on said:

    Looks like we’re getting aware 2 updates very soon – Twitter says nothing about whether it’s the final results or not though.


    • @Stanley

      Yes, it would appear so, Stanley. I’d be very surprised if the study has been concluded, what with the pandemic getting in the way etc etc.

      I also can’t imagine that the “exciting news” is connected to Aware 2, he simply won’t have the numbers (recruited survivors interviewed) yet, to have landed the ‘big fish’ and if there’s one thing we know about Parnia’s research, lucky, he certainly is not !

      I really admire him though for his stoical perseverance nonetheless. I suppose it can be compared to a laborious and methodical archaeological dig (excavation). We know there’s something there, they’ve just got to get it out in sufficient quantities.

      Happy new year to Ben and all on here, sceptics included !


      • It is completely impossible to predict what the update will look like. If there’s new data then he will either present it at a convention or in a publication. If it’s just recruitment status, then on Twitter or his website. @Tim, he hasn’t been unlucky…he just hadn’t recruited enough subjects to be even close to having a visually verified hit. Anyway, given what the lab Twitter feed says, it will be worth keeping a close eye on things over the coming months.


      • @Ben

        “Unlucky” as regards the two patients who had out of body experiences in Aware 1,
        were not in a research area (with a board fitted). And the second patient (Vanessa) was too ill to be interviewed further, in depth, in what was a promising report, initially. Some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs have occurred through a piece of “luck”, although luck is an unscientific premise.

        In his first study at Southampton, he collected several NDE’s in the one year it rolled for, but none of them had out of body experiences. And yet when they are not looking for them, patients seem to report them quite frequently. Maybe that’s a quantum effect, lol !


  20. Nevermind on said:

    There was a recent publish made by Dr Parnia back in June 2021, I stumbled across this journal upon researching Parnia’s profile which is available from the university website:

    The journal title and the opening paragraphs seem to suggest a correlation between conscious activity and CPR.

    Titled “A proposed classification for CPR-related cognitive
    activity, consciousness, awareness and recall”

    This is what I’ve quoted from the journal

    There is increasing evidence of cognitive activity in relation to
    cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in 1020% of cardiac arrest
    (CA) survivors.1 This includes consciousness and awareness, as well
    as recall of CPR events by survivors. Although in the past the poorly
    defined umbrella term of ‘near death experiences (NDEs)’
    2 has been
    used to refer to CA experiences, recent data suggest this does not
    adequately describe the breadth of these experiences.

    But after delving further into the article, I do not find anything specific about the research findings relating to Sam’s AWARE research, or evidence suggesting a material cause for NDE.

    While I believe it is a step forward in classifying the wide range of phenomenon experienced by CA survivors, it can also be interpreted as a more material approach into understanding CA related experiences. Please share your thoughts


    • I think they’re trying to include a very small subset of cases to be complete and to preclude any hand waving by skeptics. I’d be shocked if he did a complete 180 and backed off of what he’s been saying for years about NDEs having a nonmaterial origin.


  21. @tim, right.


  22. Michael on said:

    I’m not a scientist but I have been very interested in this topic for many years after my fathers NDE. Anyway, mine will be very brief but holding weight on the leanings toward materialistic/ or non materialistic approaches to the NDE based solely or heavily on hypotheses about CPR is really putting these experiences in a box. Lots of these experiences are reported when CPR wasn’t performed at all. I think this is such a trivial piece of the whole NDE puzzle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Michael

      Is there anything you can tell us about your father’s NDE? I’m always curious to hear another story.


      • Michael on said:

        My dad had a really serious case of pneumonia when he was 58. His heart never actually stopped but his oxygen levels were down in the 40s for days and he was brain dead. Lots more medical issues as well like renal failure and septic shock etc…. We were just waiting for him to die but he pulled through. After he was well enough to get out of the icu I asked him if he felt anything while he was sick. I was wondering if he suffered. My dad was incredibly logical, linear thinking, and not religious but when I asked him that he cried and said it was wonderful. He said out of nowhere he left his body and was immediately in a field outside of a small white country church that he didn’t recognize. Coming through the fence around the church to greet him was my sister Jaclyn who passed away, also of pneumonia, years earlier in 2004 when she was 13. He also saw his deceased sister Johanna, my moms deceased grandparents Betty and Bert, the man Betty remarried after Bert died, Tom, and my dad’s deceased parents Earl and Eugenia. All of them had been deceased for years. He remembers every detail of this experience down to the exact lines on the clothing they were wearing. He said they didn’t “speak” to him but instead he “knew” what was being said. Basically he knew he was supposed to be there yet and immediately he was back unconscious until he recovered.

        To make everything crazier, my dad has never seen this church. A few weeks after leaving the hospital my mom convinced him to tell my uncle Bill, Johanna’s husband about this and that he saw Johanna. When he was describing the church to Bill he got emotional and asked my dad to wait and he got a picture of him and Johanna standing outside a small country church. My dad was floored because he says it was the church he saw. The church was one that Bill and Johanna had gone to in the late 70s in New Hampshire but my dad had never seen it.

        This completely transformed my dad. Also me through hearing it from him. If it had been anyone else in my family I would have chalked it up to some sort of dream I guess but my dad is incredibly smart and logical. He is telling the entire truth. Knowing that he saw my sister in a positive situation has changed our lives and removed a lot of grief. It is a blessing to know we will see her again.

        These experiences come through all sorts of close to death issues, not just when cpr is being performed.


      • That is a great NDE account, and reflects the fact that people are often transformed by the experience. You are right that these experiences are not exclusive to CPR, but they are easier to verify in an ER with timelines of when people are coding etc.


      • @Michael

        That’s a really nice NDE, thanks for posting it ! I accept it just as your father reported it because I have no reason not to, even if there hadn’t been a veridical element to it (The church he had never seen etc) which of course there was.

        It reminded me of another case I think I’ve read or heard online somewhere, but I can no longer remember where.

        So, your father came into possession of correct information paranormally in a situation where he was aware that he had died (he said he left his body).

        For the sceptics of course, such information will not be specific or unique enough, lucky guesses or cryptomnesia or mere chance will always be enough for them to dismiss it. And that’s not having a go at them, it’s just the nature of the ‘beast’.

        But I disagree with them because there are far too many just like this in the literature, now. Thanks again!


  23. Michael on said:


    Yes I think NDEs in a CA/ CPR situation should be continue to be the main road for NDE research because of all the controls. But I’m not sure that the heat stopping is even the culprit of these experiences. I think consciousness is more mysterious than that.

    It’s my guess that it’s more in line with a breakdown of organized brain function that allows almost a “release” of a person’s consciousness.

    Studies into psychedelics have kind of pushed me in that direction.

    Also, I really don’t find it to be big news for quality cpr to lead to some eeg reads. But saying that causes ndes is highly speculative.


    • I agree Michael. I had an experience as a 17 year old.It was a dream, but it was more real than anything I have experienced in reality. The conscious, and the interactions with realms beyond this one are indeed mysterious and interesting.

      I am going to pot a bit more on the CPR – EEG thing in the next week. I have now read Parnia’s essay and there is no way on earth he would say what he says if he was sitting on data that showed that CPR could be behind NDEs. I want to read the paper that he cites in full. It would be good to get more data from AWARE too.


      • Michael on said:

        I put a lot of weight in Dr. Bruce Greysons research as well. He’s covered so much ground over 50 years.


      • Hi Ben.

        If you need to read the article, I have the full pdf, maybe I can send it to you somehow.

        That article is similar to the results on the AHA poster on EEG readings, but without the alpha rithm. They focused their results on some delta (or theta, I don’t remember now) waves, suggesting that concious experience can be present in these patients, or at least wondering if that would be the case, since all subjects included died without an interview.
        So in the Essay he kind of dismissed the results of his very own study (which was materialistic) and took a more anti-materialistiv approach.
        I don’t know if that makes sense, he is kind of playing both sides. The side you need to sell to scientific journals and congresses, and the more personal interpretation….


  24. Parnia Lab added a new post an hour ago to their Twitter/Instagram (mainly to the latter). Perhaps a sneak peak into their exciting news and updates on the Aware II study that they recently promised on their Twitter in the new year?

    “Amazingly, 10-15% of cardiac arrest survivors can recall details during the time they were beyond the threshold of death. Some have described reviewing their actions and intentions toward others throughout their lives, while others have recalled details of their resuscitation.

    Similarly, people suffering from terminal illness, such as severe dementia, have also exhibited a return of mental clarity around the time of death. This has been witnessed by family members and caretakers, who’s loved ones suddenly regain their memory or ability to communicate for a short period of time.

    The common question for both is, how do we explain the phenomenon of mental lucidity when it is thought to be neurologically impossible?”


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