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

They’re teasing us

Given the Parnia lab seems to be trailing tidbits of its forthcoming publication of the AWARE II study on Instagram, I think it’s probably worth having a post for each teaser that contains particularly interesting content…and yesterday’s was a doozy (click pic for link).

Key quote:

We found that while the majority of the time,  the EEG data was “flatlined”, incredibly, normal or near-normal waves emerged even after 40-60 minutes of CPR. Notably, the incidence of “normal” EEG rhythms was correlated with greater probability of successfully re-starting the heart.

In summary, this expands on the findings of the AHA poster from 2019:

In particular it provides grist for the materialist mill in providing the best evidence yet that the brain is capable of conscious activity during CPR. We have discussed this many times here and while it does give ammo to the materialists, there are two things to consider that give me hope subsequent announcements will be more favourable to the cause of “believers”:

1. Previous reports of CPRIC (CPR induced consciousness) suggest that the recollections of the patients are very different in character from NDE reports. They are often traumatic and confused in nature. Parnia himself points this out in his Bigelow runner’s up prize winning essay. He also makes his position on this subject very clear…brain activity resulting from CPR does not account for NDEs. Why would he say this without concrete evidence? This brings me to my second point.

2. Two years ago I pestered the lab for clarification on this issue. I specifically asked them if they were able to correlate the NDE reports from the first AHA poster with the data from EEG and oximetry readings to determine whether these NDE reports were associated with levels capable of producing consciousness. 2 years of deafening silence. I hope very much we will get our answer to this question in the paper…it would seem to me that Parnia knows the answer or he would be less assertive in his position.

Keep coming back here for key updates and discussion. Looks like the next few weeks are going to be busy…let’s hope it doesn’t end in an anti-climax and the paper is a complete nothing-burger.

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26 thoughts on “They’re teasing us

  1. [content removed was text from Parnia lab Instagram post – please click on link in blog to view]

    Although there are still many things to be known, I think it is quite representative. I am becoming more and more certain that near-death experiences will eventually be fully explained from a physiological point of view. This post would probably go in that direction


    • Hi Anthony, I’d appreciate it if you could not dump the entire post in the discussion. I have provided the link, and give an overview. I have deleted the part of your post that just repeats what is in the link. Thanks.


    • Also, please read my commentary for the reply to your own points. This is not news as it was mentioned back in 2019 in their poster, and we have discussed the implications over and over,and until we see whether the NDE reports are linked directly to the EEG output that suggests the possibility of consciousness, then we will not know either way. But yes, this is your moment in the sun my materialistic friend…I sense a storm is coming though (for you 🙂 )


      • Ben
        I’m not worried about any storm coming my way. And of course I am not closed-minded neither in one nor in another position. I am open to any advances that may come out of these studies by Parnia or any other, for or against a consciousness outside the brain. When I first became interested in these issues I was very much in favor of a non-materialistic approach to it, as time goes on I get closer to the totally opposite position. Time will tell


    • Excuse me Ben, no problem if you delete the part of the post that is repeated

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cool. This discussion section can get very cluttered. Love your engagement though, so please keep it up. I have added a key quote to the post to make it easier for everyone.


    • I feel you might be stressing on this issue, it has been discussed a lot that conciousness may be possible during cpr, that is no new news. However the mistake would be to suggest its a direct correlation to NDE’s or awareness without cpr during cardiac arrest. And still there are still thing to think about such as the audio hit.


  2. That of the Bigelow essay indicates it not related to the EEG. In addition that of a previous instragram post indicates that there three parts to aware 2. Only one of which is NDE or RED related. My reading is that this post related to the non NDE RED part of aware2. But we await to see

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m getting the strong sense that this study is going to leave us with far more questions than answers. The bigelow essay ( and pretty much everything Parnia has ever said on the topic ) contradicts this as an explanation for NDE’s.

    My larger concern is that this study does not bear enough fruit to warrant further study on NDEs in particular, which I think looks rather likely. Would be a pity.


    • If this study shows that NDEs are not directly associated with EEG/oxymetry data consistent with brain activity that supports conscious activity, then this study is a huge milestone…massive…even without a direct visual hit. The second big question I asked was about matching auditory reports with sound recordings and EEG activity. If they can connect all the dots than they may (or may not) have a scientifically verified auditory OBE.

      Certainly very excited about upcoming posts.


      • I’m happy that they’re clearing this up, or beginning to. It’s nothing less than I would have expected, in that they have to present all their findings like these from 2019 that we discussed previously.

        They’ve detected some Alpha waves generated by CPR which are associated with near normal consciousness (Beta waves). This will (most likely) not be the kind of (often inefficient) CPR administered by doctors and nurses (using their hands) it will most likely be the result of machines such as the Lucas ( a hard piston ramming down the chest) or the Life Stat (similar) that they use in these emergency and critical care departments.

        That’s how they are able to perform CPR for 60 minutes, so they tell us. Humans alone can’t do it for that length of time, unless they deploy an exceptional amount of staff to the case? And even then, they are not all trained to do it correctly (perform CPR) to the optimum depth and consistency (even the doctors believe it or not).

        Now, to corelate these alpha brainwaves with the occurrence of NDE’s requires assumption after assumption after assumption. We have to assume that patients don’t have NDE’s without CPR (They absolutely do in vast numbers).

        We have to assume that dreamlike or semi dreamlike brain states (which is what alpha waves denote) can produce the ultra clear consciousness associated/reported during NDE’s (hyper awareness) ?

        We have to assume they have their eyes open (somehow) at least in some cases where specific events were seen and could >only< have been seen, not heard and reconstructed as a mind model or imagined…and they don't have their eyes open, at least not for long enough to see anything around them.

        We have to assume that somehow they are conscious and aware enough to gather information and 'generate' or 'confabulate' an NDE (which is in the vast majority of cases peaceful and painless) when they are going through one of the most traumatic and painful events that anyone could be subjected to.

        The pain inflicted by CPR even when it's carried out by humans is (apparently agonising). Goodness knows what it would or must be like to be conscious with a rock hard piston ramming your ribs down to the level of your heart and beyond, breaking them your ribs (as is the case) for up to an hour.

        Let alone the general brutal nature of everything else they have to do, injections of all sorts of drugs etc sometimes into your bones etc. It's torture, nothing less !

        There is no way (assuming that the patient's consciousness resides and stays within the brain/body) that patients would report an NDE and not any of that level of enormous pain and anguish. And yet they don't when they report their NDE's.

        So, I'm glad that Parnia and his team are clearing all this up and if I'm wrong, well, I'll look rather foolish but after over 40 years of looking at the thousands of cases out there, it would be a miracle if these researchers can officially pin down the culprit as CPR.

        Maybe that's what the sceptics are hoping for. I don't think they'll get it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Great comments Tim. I think this is a case of throwing the sceptics a bone…hopefully we will get some real meat in the coming days.


  4. Maybe they are covering all bases and first releasing information which would not be considered controversial (from a materialist viewpoint)? An open scientific point. Just saying. But yep, the clash with the statements in his co-authored Bigelow paper is huge. Thanks for update!


  5. Hi Ben, I’m from Italy, following your Blog since months. Thank you very much for your constant updates! I have just a question for you: what do you think, if you know it, about Prof. Stuart Hameroff’s idea on quantum consciousness? In particular, in one video interview, he talked about psychedelic experiment, showing that, contrary on what is usually thought, electrical activity during these kind of experience is lower, much lower (as a “cold zone”), than during normal activities. This seems to indicate that the quantum “substance” of consciousness could “leave” the brain when it is shut down or damaged. I agree with all your comments on the question about EGG. But what I’m trying to say is that, independently of the results of Aware2, even if thew will show some electrical activities during a RED, that will not necessarily show that consciousness is produced by the brain. It could be that the “quantum substance” interact with the brain that is a “receiver” and this will justify electrical signals. I think for example, to a radio device, that is able to receive a signal, but if this radio i totally damaged we will not find any kind of “signal”, but the signal is off course there, somewhere. If the radio device is starting to “recover”, we will start to catch some signals. Off course this will not prove anything about the possibility of consciousness surviving death, but it will not prove the contrary as well. Everything will remain in the field of “faith” and hypotesis, both materialistic and the non-materialistic view. And I repeat, this in case they will show that ALL the RED are releated to an active EGG. But what it seems to me, when they say “most of the time EGG is flatline”, is that there are almost some RED that are not releating to detectable brain waves. Don’t you think? Thank you again and have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michael on said:

    It’s important to remember that the verified instance of accurate recall during the AWARE 1 study happened during a time of flatline.

    You have to explain how that is possible.

    Periods of eeg reads during cpr creating a RED/NDE is pretty much guesswork.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe they are right about consciousness being present during Cpr. But that doesn’t really say much. People alsof have these experiences before cpr is started. So to me this is not a valid argument from a materialistic point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Stefan

      They haven’t actually said that they were conscious, yet. They found alpha brainwaves in a very small percentage of patients undergoing vigorous CPR. They told us this in 2019.

      If they are doing CPR for an hour with a machine providing 100-120 deep compressions a minute, then it’s not really so surprising that some level of brain activity is restored occasionally.

      Some of these machines also ventilate the lungs at the same time, thereby oxygenating the blood to some extent. But apparently, the brain resists blood flow after cardiac arrest because it swells up in reaction to the oxygen and glucose deprivation, which is a massive insult, so they tell us.


      • I think you point that they haven’t said they were conscious yet is a very important one. It is possible that some of these patients never recovered consciousness, especially considering they were undergoing CPR for up to an hour, so for them we will never know for them. We will only know that the EEG suggested near normal brain activity.


      • @Ben

        It’s a sad fact that the vast majority wouldn’t have (survived), Ben. And somewhere in that 4–500 patients (?) who were recruited into the study but didn’t survive to interview, probably dwells our holy grail, the golden bullseye hit.

        They will have floated away up the tunnel, without being able to tell us what it was and confound those darn sceptics once and for all…. 😉


      • Yep…they are probably having a chuckle about us right now!


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