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

Publication alert!

My turn to tease! Unfortunately it seems that the publication of AWARE II is not as imminent as hoped. From todays Instagram feed (btw I am Orson if you didn’t already know):

However, if they keep adding interesting stuff to their Instagram account, then maybe we won’t need to wait that long till we get something really meaty. There is obviously more than a hint in this reply that they may not have the answers we are hoping for yet though.

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68 thoughts on “Publication alert!

  1. When they said they were publishing the manuscript soon, I thought by soon they actually meant as in a few weeks, not six/seven months.

    Having said that, I suppose based on the fact that Aware 2 was pilot tested way back in in 2013, and only actually started in May 2015 (at 8 sites) before being expanded (to 25 sites in 208-19) that is relatively soon, I suppose.

    There’s surely no visual hits yet, they just don’t have the numbers (we knew that already) but they obviously do have some significant data which we have seen alluded to, but not qualified.

    I’m just wondering how many more ‘tidbits’ they will be giving us? Will they carry on with it as they have done every few days…seems unlikely to me as that would mean another 50 or so of those instagram posts at least, until September and what could they possibly have to spin it out as long as that ?

    And of course the study is continuing ….Maybe it will be ‘this time next year Rodney’.

    On a more serious note, thanks to all of them for their hard work and what they have been able to tell us so far !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this time next year Rodney is looking more likely than anything! Also, it is looking like that this publication is not of the complete study results, which suggests that there should be something of specific interest in it. However, it is possible that they present some more data at a convention in the near future. We will see.


  2. I mean honestly, there could be a visual. It could be why there are less study participants. I’ve actually wondered that. It also could be why Dr. Parnia felt secure enough to drop his well respected name into the Bigelow essay contest alongside researchers who have been ridiculed by mainstream scientists.


  3. Hi again Ben and good morning to all of you 🙂

    Reading the last post on Instagram, i note that they use the same phrase of the Bigelow essay.

    I am referring to this:

    “while the majority of the time, the EEG data was “flatlined”” (Instagram Post referring to Aware2 preliminary results)


    “…the majority of the time, no measurable brain electrical activity is observed” (page 58 of Parnia’s Bigelow essay talking about the 2018 paper: Reagan EM, Nguyen R, Ravishankar S, Chabra V, et al. Monitoring the Relationship Between Changes in Cerebral Oxygenation and Electroencephalography Patterns During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

    So, I don’t think they could express two different positions within few months (the essay is written in 2021).

    But i ask your help because english is not my native language and i could have difficult with details (I’m from Italy as i said yesterday).

    What exactly you mean when you say “the majority of the time”?

    Because “time” is at singular and not plural “times”, inside the italian grammar “tempo” is “time” (singular) and “volte” is “times” (plural).

    I know that italian language is more complicated than english, this i why sometimes I struggle with details 🙂

    In brief, what they mean with the Instagram post?

    That in all CPR cases there are some pattern of electrical signals EVERY TIME? (for example, in a 60 minutes CPR “the majority of the time” could means that for 55 minutes there is no activity)?

    Or they mean simply that the majority of the CPR have not signals (for example, on 20 CPR “the majority of the time” could means that in 18 attemps there are no signals). I think this second one is the right way to interpret the phrase of the essay.

    If I am right in my translation, I don’t think they have, at the moment, anything new than the position expressed in the Bigelow essay.

    Thank you for helping me!


    • Hi Matt, I think you have got the basic idea right. They are not explicit in saying how often they detect normal or near normal EEG activity during CPR, just that it happens and that it can happen up to an hour after starting CPR. There is nothing about how long, how often etc. That will come, but the key will be correlating this with timed conscious recollections…i.e NDEs. Parnia would not have written the Bigelow essay if he was sitting on evidence that NDEs occur during these episodes of normal EEG. I think it is a given that there will be conscious memories when here is no EEG or oxymetry data supporting brain activity capable of consciousness…it just depends what the evidence is…i think it is going to be auditory rather than visual, which won’t convince the sceptics despite them being blind!


    • Hello, I think I can help clarify. I read the complete mentioned study, and I was looking for the same answer (all EEGs or majority of time in an EEG?) And in the methods section was the answer: they gathered the time of all EEGs as one unit. Meaning they summed all fragments of EEGs time and 80% of it was flatline. So they didn’t specify how much time corresponded to one person, but the time the alpha/thetha/isoelectric etc corresponded to the total amount of time recorded in the study.

      As a researcher, I think what happened is: they had maybe 10 mins recording of a patient, maybe 5 of another, 12 from another, and not the entire CPR time of a single patient. If they had clear and complete duration time of patients they should not have used this methology. The EEG obtained included several times artifacts, and also they could only use recordings performed during CPR pauses for pulse checking. So I believe it is complicated to obtain a complete real time CPR recording. Thus, they gathered all fragments of time into a single unit to calculate percentages. Also the AHA abstract mentioned 64? Patients, and they included more (much more) in the total study, so I assume they don’t have recordings of all patients, that is for sure.

      So it is all related to context: the alpha waves, were they observed in a patient where ECMO or a Thumper was used, for how long, how many patients, was there some ROSC as Parnia suggested in his essay, was there some CPR induced consciousness, etc?

      I agree the same statement was used in the Essay, so it can’t mean a 180 degree flip now concerning interpretation…

      Hope this helped clarifying.


      • Hi Mery, thanks. Great insights into the design. Maybe I misunderstood you, but they must have individual time stamped EEG and oxymetry data for some subjects while they were having CPR. This is the only way they would be able to understand the consciousness aspect. Sure, they would collate all the data for this statement about patients flatlining for most of the time, but there will surely be more granularity in the paper.


      • Hi Ben, indeed they must have the individual information and their timing along with oxymetry at the same moment. The paper also points to the more “normal” waves as to appear over I can’t remember the exact % of O2 levels (40??). But also they observed that isoelectric happened with all O2 levels.

        But to account for the % of time the waves appear they gathered and glued together the fragments recorded. I didn’t understand this methology, because this doesn’t say anything about the individual timing. My guess, they must have very irregular recordings and not for a complete CPR episode.

        I have the complete article, in case you want to read it.


  4. Anthony on said:

    Is it possible that after Bigelow’s essay, Parnia and his team discovered that the NDEs occurred in those 60 minutes of reamination? Perhaps they have a patient who has reported a near-death experience in the last two months? We will see


  5. Michael on said:

    We also need to realize Parnia IS going to find NDE’s that take place during normal times of EEG reads because we have been seeing NDE’s happen during these periods since the beginning of NDE research.

    People who have NDE’s during anesthesia for example.

    Parnia has already said (in his essay) that he and his team have confirmed a case of veridical perception during an NDE (albeit no target) at a time where there was a flatline during the AWARE 1 study.


  6. Michael on said:


    Is this link the study you read to come to your conclusions?

    If so, this study is from 2019 well before the Bigelow essay was submitted.

    I am confused though, why would this study not have been included in the CPR section of the essay? Or was it and I’m missing it?

    Sorry but this has been a huge item of research for me!


    • Hi Michael, this is abstract from the poster he put up from AWARE II. It is what we have been talking about for the past 2 years. It has somewhat been a fly in the ointment. However, the fact that he didn’t include it in the Bigelow essay suggests that the full dataset, which he is privy to, does not contain anything supporting the materialist position.


      • Michael on said:

        I mean the truth of the matter is even in the AHA 2019 abstract, most of the time the EEG was isoelectric. Fleeting moments of alpha waves being the basis for full lucid NDE’s is quite the stretch.

        Also, you need brain waves for memory formation. This just continuously loops back to David Chalmers “Hard Problem of Consciousness.”

        How do electrical changes in the brain give way to emotions? Well, they may not but they do show how the brain correlates those emotions into information the biological system can use.

        It’s feeling the same here. How to short bursts of alpha waves cause a well formulated, fluid, lucid NDE? Well they probably don’t.

        But they may show how they are able to be stored as memory.

        There have already been studies that show that higher levels of brain oxygen correlate with higher numbers of reported NDE’s yet that doesn’t mean higher oxygenation is CAUSING the NDE, just that it can allow one to remember it.

        Alpha waves are similarly reported in people suffering from hypoxia yet that usually results in highly distressed states. And they are experiencing more alpha activity that someone 45 minutes into CPR.


      • I see where you’re coming from now. All good points. I am hoping that we get a detailed presentation and discussion of all this data on EEG activity from AWARE II, and whether or not any of these episodes correlate with AND could possibly account for the complex and detailed memories formed from NDEs. I suspect Parnia already has a pretty good idea. He didn’t include it in the essay since the details have not been fully published.


  7. michael on said:


    My only concern, and this is pretty far out speculation and probably baseless accusation, is that I hope they didn’t submit that Bigelow essay and leave out the 2019 abstract, in an attempt to put together an essay that posits a more non materialistic approach to try to secure the big funding that contest provided. What do you think?


    • Parnia is a scientist and knows he would lose all credibility if he did this. The abstract has no evidence other than the line that says that at times there was enough activity to support consciousness,which would be CPRIC. However, Parnia fully addresses the issue of CPRIC in his essay, and refers to a paper that he was co-author of on the subject. He is hiding nothing except the evidence that NDEs are not related to these EEG bursts. He has been sitting on whatever he has in that regard for 2 years because I believe he was waiting for more convincing data, or had not been able to get into the granularity of the data behind some of the auditory OBEs.


    • I agree with Ben. First, in the reference they mentioned a published study which usually is more cited in literature than abstracts. Second, what they mention in the Essay can very much apply to the 2019 abstract cause the results are very much the same (thetha waves in 2018, alpha in 2019, in the Essay they don’t mention what kind of waves were observed). And last, imagine they won the big price, to support research for more years based on an essay supporting the survival hypothesis and then tadaaaaaa! they were on the materialist side all the time and that’s what their data showed. Big lie to win money, dirty played on Parnia, and there also goes his reputation among his colleagues (including Greyson and Fenwick). Of course he could say they were interpreting the data, but his reputation will be very much damaged here, and I don’t think they would be comfortable accepting money by deceiving the judges right?

      On the other hand, if Parnia is now on the materialist side and getting money from other institutions, why risking his reputation with a survivalist Essay which bears his name as fist Author?

      That is my opinion, but of course, I might be wrong…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I absolutely agree with this notion: I am surprised that so many of us have missed out an important information shared on their IG account about 4 weeks ago. I believe this post clearly supports the idea that CPR induced consciousness is viewed as an entirely different subject from NDE related experiences by Parnia’s team.

    The title was:

    quote “What is recalled experience of death”

    “Researchers are grappling with many questions. In these moments when people’s hearts have stopped beating, and there is a severely disordered brain, or there is little to no detectable brain activity, how is it that people can lucidly recall such vivid experiences? Why do these experiences contain such consistent themes? And how does being in such an extreme state lead to profound knowledge?”

    The sentence to highlight here is “little to no detectable brain activity”, meaning our current understanding of NDE is still shrouded in mystery and our current scientific framework has yet to proffer any logical reasons for these occurrences.

    I believe this clearly states their view on the matter, where CPR induced brain activity can be differentiated from NDE related experiences.

    Another important detail to note is the coining of the term “recall experience of death”, this suggests that some of the participating patients were able to recall events after passing the threshold of what is commonly known as biological death. If the recall of these events are indeed triggered by CPR, why didn’t they coin the term “CPR induced memories” instead?

    I might be wrong but I truly believe these two pieces of information should help clarify some of the ambiguity we have. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there suggesting that NDE often occur during or immediately before cardiac arrest and are not related to CPRs – In an actual fact, most of the anecdotal evidence I find would counter such a notion:

    But some NDE sceptics often associate OBE with implicit learnings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really good point…the answer was in their question all along!


      • Some very interesting posts ! (My view is already known so nothing to add from me)

        @Ben If Parnia has got persuasive data (if…that is?) do you anticipate that science (Scientific Academia) will actually listen ? I do wonder, you know, if they will ignore it as being inadmissible nonsense because of the nature of what we are talking about here.

        Is it not a fact that other scientists are not necessarily compelled to accept the conclusion of the author(s) whatever that is. It is, isn’t it.

        Reductionist materialist sceptic Steven Novella hailed Parnia’s first paper a failure (even though it wasn’t) and described it as “No evidence of NDE” which was ridiculous in itself.


      • Science provides information. What you do with that information is a subjective decision based on a myriad of influencing factors. Our ongoing experience with COVID (no, not an invitation to discuss here, just an example) shows this.Both sides of the lockdown/mask/vaccine mandate divide say they are following the science, but the science does not lead, it just provides information on relative risk and benefit. With materialists it is more extreme though, and you are right…they won’t believe this till they’re dead.


  9. I think alot of the focus on the last instragram post was because it came after the aware 2 instragram post. If it came after the RED Post but before the aware 2 post, or even before the RED Post the way it perceived be different again. The perception of how we are presented things is a thing in itself. But I digress.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I may be stating the “bleedin’ obvious” here but the fact they entered the Bigelow Essay contest at all means they believed beforehand, on balance of the evidence, you can’t explain NDEs with a materialistic model. At the end of their Essay there’s the bit about consciousness being an “undiscovered scientific entity”, which was in Parnia’s (2013) book Erasing Death. So that’s 8 years of the same.

    But guys, I’m stuck and I don’t mean to put a spanner in this. When we normally experience something like an apple, there’s a long chain of brain causal processes starting with the light hitting the retina. So why does an NDE’er still experience the apple, looking the same (or even “clearer”), without those processes? Is the apple radiating something other than light? Why is the apple *in*, or *within* the newly enhanced mind of the NDE’er? Why? I guess I can only conclude that we already experience the apple as if we are in some kind of mind state other than materialism suggests. The apple is directly experienced.
    Sorry Orson, said all this before, but got no answer and don’t mean to change the conversation.


    • I discuss this in my book. Our observed reality is possibly just a construct…a spiritual sandbox for us to learn in, and which our spirits, or consciousness observe through the bodies in which we reside…our bodies are the sandbox – consciousness interface. Outside of this sandbox is the true reality with different constructs that we “observe” with senses that are the same but no longer confined to the body. However, we are able to observe this constructed sandbox with the same senses even when released from the body. Now you think I’m nuts!


      • Dang! Now I’m going to have to buy it. Kind of get what you say. Didn’t Ray Moody also talk of using “nonsense” to explain all this? I remember a speech he gave. So you’re not nuts man! I just googled and got this. You have to ditch normal logic, looks like.


      • Seriously, can’t believe you haven’t bought it already!


      • Just to add, I have made a few alterations in the past week, and uploading a fresh version tonight, so wait till tomorrow.


      • Hi Alan, the slightly updated version of my NDE book is now available on Amazon as both a paperback and ebook. It is basically an essay that looks at the data produced from peer reviewed publications, as well the AWARE I and II studies, and then discusses the implications from this and from the recollections that people have from NDEs. It is part science and part philosophy and explores the implications of reports from people who have NDEs on what the after life may be like, evidence of God’s existence and possible explanations for the reduction in incidence of NDE reports post CA and CPR recovery with age. The updates I have added recently include very brief reference to Parnia’s Bigelow essay and the discussion of additional possible explanations for the reduction in incidence of NDE reports with age. BUY IT 🙂


      • Orson, nice one 🙂


    • Thanks, Ben !


      Your question is a very good one and I’ve always wondered about the same thing. If the mind is separable from the brain (and I’m happy that is) then it won’t be “seeing” in the same way that eyes receive light and the brain (occipital lobe) receives signals and turns it into a picture.

      A disembodied mind will more than likely be capable of “seeing” because that is it’s intrinsic nature (one of the properties of it anyway) but what that nature is…is a complete mystery. It seems not only to be able to see what is going on around it (in 360 degrees) but what is going on down the hall, out into the parking lot and all the way to California.

      Consciousness may be fundamental and because as in quantum mechanics everything was connected (?) before it split apart, everything may still be connected which is maybe why NDErs claim to be able to be traverse the universe instantly and even back and forward in time.

      Then again, the mind, the self, the soul, consciousness maybe something that is completely and forever beyond approach, no matter what tools we develop in the future.

      Personally, I don’t think it’s worth worrying about; if people really can see and think without their brains (which is a ludicrous notion scientifically) then we just have to accept it as a fact.


      • Whenever I read NDEs I get excited about death! I mean seriously (and again I touch on this in my book), how exciting will it be to access the universal space/time library and be able to observe and experience every event that has ever happened and will happen in this history throughout the entire universe. As I say in my book (the one Alan has yet to buy)…you won’t need Netflix in heaven!


      • Thanks Tim, food for thought. I can only guess at something beyond quantum physics, but there should also be some interface with it. I have to say, my uni. physics courses in QP never dealt with this but that’s not surprising.


      • The Matrix is my favourite movie of all time since it touches on what may be the truth. Everything around us is an illusion. As a chemist I know that atoms are mostly made up of nothing. Protons and electrons are tiny. In fact if you were to put all of the human race together, and remove all the gaps between the protons and electrons, the space we collectively take up would be the size of a sugar cube. But when you start delving into quantum mechanics you understand (well sort of) that subatomic particles themselves do not have a physical presence at one place at any time. Everything is an illusion, and our consciousnesses are trapped here momentarily for a purpose that the prophets and philosophers reveal to us through their teaching. However, we only get glimpses because if we know too much then the whole point of our lives is taken away. Anyway, that is my thinking on this subject…not original but certainly not aligned with modern materialist thinking that so dominates our culture.


    • michael on said:

      Perception is weird. To me, it’s not surprising at all that a disembodied human consciousness could perceive an apple in the same way one would perceive it while in the body.

      I would guess it is because at some point during all NDE’s the brain DOES get physiologically involved to store the experience as a memory.

      If we keep going down this line of thinking then we note that all of our sensory organs are quite literally consciousness perception filters. To pick one, the eye.

      You can look at the eye as it’s own individual sensory organ OR you can look at the eye as an EXTENSION of the brain.

      The human eye is built so as to perceive only a certain range of colors and sizes which is why the apple appears as a single green unit. If you were to alter the human eye OR (emphasis on or) the part of the brain that perceives vision then you could see that same apple as say a cluster of billions of atoms and up to literally millions of colors.

      If you look at the eye as an extension of the brain (because it really is) then what you start seeing is that not just the eye but the whole brain is already filtering out biologically irrelevant perceptions of consciousness.

      So, it is not surprising to me that once a person survives a near death experience the brain would store much of the memory of the near death experience in the way that the brain already filters our visual reality through the eye in our day to day world.


      • Absolutely Michael, you understand it. Again, I go into all of this in my book. In fact, I point out that we don’t actually see with our eyes, we see with our brains. I have been working in neurology for the past 3.5 years, and everything we experience of the outside world is just the result of our brain receiving signals which it interprets for our consciousness to understand.

        I also talk bout memory, and this is where I think you may be slightly wrong. I am not convinced that memory is stored in the brain only, if at all. If that were that were the case then all human (and other conscious) experience would be lost when the brain dies. Everything that has ever happened, including how those events were perceived by those who experienced them, is stored in a giant universal “server” for want of better word. People who have NDEs describe being able to feel how others experienced their actions…that is only possible if all memory is stored external of the brain.

        the brain is central processing interface between our consciousness and the “created reality” in which we find ourselves. I also believe that is capable of interacting with elements of the “real reality”.

        This is all my own personal belief and understanding from the tidbits we have received from the prophets and those who have had NDEs.


      • Ok, Michael I see that. But I also would suggest, like Orson, memory is somehow stored somewhere else apart from the brain, esp. that people are having memories (and obviously thinking) when the brain isn’t functioning during an NDE. Or somehow several things happening?


  11. I’ve often wondered about some kind of dangerous information overload when you mention “glimpses” and that it wouldn’t be good for many of us. So a combination of scientific and guided spiritual teaching seems complementary.


    • Historically you may have been right,but in the modern era when the counter to this is so well defined in scientific terms, I think we need a bit more to keep the balance, and NDEs offer that. It is still only glimpse but enough to anchor our understanding of the eternal in the context of observed science.


    • Hi Z, thanks for this. This is scientific click bait for NDE believers! I may do a new post on this, but I am not convinced it is worth the effort except to address this awful statement from the paper:

      “To investigate oscillatory changes during NDE, we analyzed neuronal oscillations from EEG recordings obtained during the transition period to death.”

      During NDE. Seriously. There is no reported NDE in this case study. The patient has severe brain damage due to cancer and subsequent surgery. The patient was monitored just prior to during after CA (for 30s), and the EEG data reported. the patient did not survive so was not able to report any recollections. There was no NDE.

      As for the rest of it we could just cut and paste our response to the rat studies. It is irrelevant if there is strong EEG activity for 30s post CA, many of the reports of NDEs are of events that occur many minutes after CA, and where there is no EEG activity whatsoever (AWARE I).

      This does nothing for the materialist cause except create noise.


      • @Ben and Z

        That really is a terrible paper, so misleading (deliberately?). As Ben says, they seem almost desperate to make the leap of connecting this “brain activity” with a near death experience. It’s ridiculous, not least because they could never have known if the patient actually had any experience, at all.

        Before the patient had even had a full cardiac arrest, he’d developed burst suppression in both hemispheres. You can’t have any conscious experience (physiologically) in burst suppression, it is almost as good as dead; the ultimate anaesthesia state without actually killing the patient. (Anyone that doubts this feel free to consult Gerry Woerlee)

        From the paper :

        Shortly thereafter, electrographic activity over both hemispheres demonstrated a burst suppression pattern, which was followed by development of ventricular tachycardia with apneustic respirations and clinical cardiorespiratory arrest. After discussion with the patient’s family and in consideration of the “Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)” status of the patient, no further treatment was administered and the patient passed away.

        It’s the same as the rat study. My, how desperate they are to dispose of NDE’s.


      • Yep. It reminds me of some of the garbage I read in origins of life research. They hope that by using large amounts of jargon, people will believe their assertions and not notice the fact that there is actually no verified science backing them. It is the MO of some materialists.


  12. Yes I agree. To be fair 6 caveats are pointed at end of paper but unsure will they be viewed.

    Also just saw this. Nothing major but another piece re future of nde. Only saw abstract however


  13. Co published with Grayson, Fenwick and Long.
    Perhaps this fact alone puts to bed any rumours that Parnia has discovered a materialist explanation.


  14. Stanley on said:

    Ben, I would say the focus of the paper is on the need for a new categorisation of NDE’s, and proposals for what they should look like. In those proposals is several interesting pieces of information, as the team makes an effort to redefine “real”NDE’s ( renamed to RED’s ) away from hallucinations, dreams, “ICU delusions” and most interestingly, CPRIC (cardiopulmonary resuscitation-induced consciousness). This is obviously heavily summarising it, but I think the paper will help redefine and focus the debate around NDE’s, and hopefully reduce confusion between contrasting opinions. It could perhaps be important to understanding future literature in context.

    For anyone who doesn’t have access/doesn’t intend to purchase the paper, the “blue whale” line will no doubt be the last of the paper, in the future studies section –

    “ Finally, we suggest that although systematic studies have not been able to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness in relation to death, it has been impossible to disclaim them either. Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine empirical investigation without prejudice ( Parnia, 2022 ). “

    The optimist in me would say that they are setting the stage for a later publication that could possibly be quite exciting. The realist would say…perhaps the same?

    Hope all is well.


    • Excellent, thanks Stanley. I agree, they are setting the stage. I understand better now why they are looking to define things more precisely and move away from NDE as well. It does make sense as the original acronym has become associated with o many different things. Moreover, creating specific categories of other conscious experiences related to CPR and ICU stays is smart. Think I will buy this paper as there will terminology and definitions that will no doubt be used over and over in future publications.


    • Hi Stanley

      Is that blue whale from the 2022 piece itself? It similar to the 2014 aware line if I correct.


  15. Thanks Stanley


    • Michael on said:

      I was just about to ask about this.


    • michael on said:

      Pretty sure we were already here in 2009 though lol


    • Michael on said:

      Okay so here is the link to the full study in regards to the 87 year old patient that is making headlines today.

      At first I was confused why the article headlines kept saying that this was the first time electrical bursts in EEG readings had been demonstrated in humans at the time of death because Parnia referenced a study from 2009 in his Bigelow essay that measured EEG readings in 7 patients as they died. In the 2009 study he referenced, all 7 showed a burst of EEG activity in the 30 seconds after death. Just like the 2013 rat study. However, after reading the study from today, it becomes clear that the 2009 human study was only gathering EEG reads from the frontal cortex while the 2022 study had full brain EEG gatherings and they were really able to dive into the specific wave types that were recorded (increases in gamma).

      Hopefully someone with more experience here can chime in but it sounds to me like that is the only difference.

      I have a few questions.

      1.) in Parnia’s Bigelow essay, he says that the spikes in EEG readings in the 2013 rat study and 2009 human study are probably attributed to depolarization of brain cells due to lack of oxygen. When brain cells are deprived of oxygen they “dump” mass amounts of calcium and other components quickly which causes electrical activity and really doesn’t correlate with conscious experience. This is also called “excitotoxicity.” In the 2009 full study they do state that these EEG readings are probably caused by excitotoxicity. However, in the 2022 case report they make no mention of excitotoxicity. How can they be sure that these recent EEG readings aren’t excitotoxicity or depolarization when it seems as if the only difference in the findings is the frontal cortex EEG readings vs. Full brain EEG?

      Any help is appreciated.


      • Hi Michael, my personal take on this is to not get distracted by the details too much. There is an awful lot of technical jargon in this paper that is not easily understood unless you have specialist knowledge of their meaning, but is not relevant to the key debate. However, the points previously made about excitotoxicity would apply to the whole brain since the cellular processes apply to all brain matter. The fact it isn’t mentioned belies the disingenuous nature of the authors intentions, and their desperation to discount the possibility that NDEs show the consciousness is a capable of surviving death.

        However, this is all a bit irrelevant. The key points are this:

        1. The activity only lasts for up to 30s. Many veridical NDE reports include events that occurred after this initial 30s, and in the AWARE I NDE, when there is no EEG activity and the timing of the report was documented.

        2. The patient in this case did not report an NDE, so the EEG data is essentially irrelevant to the debate as to whether or not NDEs are a “real” phenomenon.

        They are setting up a straw man.


  16. Hi Ben,

    Thank you. That is what I was thinking as well. Quick question though, in the AWARE I study, we’re they actually able to be certain that for the hit they’re did have, how did they know his EEG was flat? Did they have EEG hooked up to him even though his cardiac arrest happened in a emergency setting? Thanks!


    • @Michael

      They know his EEG was flat because his heart had stopped. How do they know his heart had stopped? Because they had observed that he had died and quickly attached the pads of an automated defibrillator to his chest which then analysed his heart rhythm (or no rhythm as in asystole) which was ventricular fibrillation.

      In VF, the heart cannot pump any blood (the same as asystole) and neuroscientists know that after heart stoppage, the brain waves (EEG) go flat within 10-20 seconds.

      So although they obviously did not have EEG on his head (they wouldn’t do that in an ordinary hospital setting) they know his brain was completely non functional. It remained non functional for 3-5 minutes.

      Please could you answer the question about Blue Whale (what is it) above, much appreciated !


      • Tim, yep…no ECG, no EEG after 30 seconds…impossible without blood flow. However, it is possible that CPR produced EEG artifacts or even activity described as “near normal”. However, given Parnia’s now clearly stated position on CPRIC, I suspect we are going to get data on REDs which are time stamped and verified through auditory (or dream come true, visually) tests, and correlated with EEG readout as this was planned in the study.


      • I have not come across the Blue Whale metaphor before in this context, but I suspect it is meant to imply big or important.


      • Michael on said:

        Okay I see. I have no medical background so I’m understanding most of this but also have a lot of questions. Thank you!

        “Blue Whale” is a saying that means “Big Deal.” We use it where I’m from in Indiana a lot.


      • @Ben

        Thanks for all your kind comments over on the other thread (latest). Not sure I deserve them, but thanks anyway. Just in relation to your comment here (below)

        Ben said >”However, it is possible that CPR produced EEG artifacts or even activity described as “near normal”.”

        With this particular case actually that was not possible, at least with reference to when Mr A heard the >first< automated instruction to shock the patient. No CPR would have been given before the first shock, they don't do that, they attach the pads and shock them first, then a round of CPR.

        When he somehow heard and remembered that automated voice (shock the patient) his heart must have been stopped. And it must have been stopped for more than one minute, nearer to two, as that is how long it takes the defibrillator machine to analyse the rhythm and recommend a shock.

        So he could not have had any brain activity at all, not possible. And he called it twice (as Parnia told me). Also, if he had been somehow consciously aware with his brain, he would have felt the enormous pain of the shock and he would have reported it, but he didn't mention anything about it.


        Thanks, I understand now—Blue whale as in "the Elephant in the room" for instance (metaphor)

        Liked by 1 person

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