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

You say tomat[e]o, I say toma[re]to – NDE/RED/CPRIC

Thanks again to the eternally vigilant “Z” for spotting this paper which begs the oft repeated question – are NDEs/REDs just another form of CPRIC (CPR induced consciousness)? It is a question that we have answered at length in many past posts but it is important to revisit this due to the context in which it is raised.

While Parnia is not the main author, his influence on it is present, and his work is mentioned and forms part of the analysis. The other authors are from Southmead in Bristol UK, Toronto and Cologne, Germany. Southmead Hospital has a neurology research centre associated with the University of Bristol, and I have been there a fair bit in recent years due to my work in sleep medicine and Alzheimer’s disease (work that has suddenly come to an abrupt end unfortunately due to the vagaries of government regulatory and reimbursement bodies)

Title of the paper: CPR-related cognitive activity, consciousness, awareness and recall, and its management: A scoping review

At first it seems that they are lumping NDEs/REDs in with CPR induced consciousness. From the intro:

“Two types of cognitive activity and awareness were identified [during CPR]. The first includes visible signs of consciousness such as combativeness, groaning, and eye opening and was referred to as CPR induced consciousness. The second, a perception of lucidity with visual and auditory awareness and recall without external signs of consciousness.”

This is then clarified further in the discussion:

“It could be assumed that pain and distress would be expected in patients showing overt physical signs of con- sciousness through CPR. On the other hand, there have also been cases documented where survivors experiencing more transcendental post cardiac arrest experiences whilst not showing signs of pain or distress have benefited from the experience with it having a positive impact on the patient’s life. When considering treatment options, it may be beneficial to consider these two experiences as two separate entities.”

You reckon!? I suspect that the last sentence was most likely due to Parnia’s influence as a co-author.

All of the key pieces of AWARE data published and presented to date, from I (2014) and II (2019), is included in this review, and therefore, in this paper at least, NDEs are lumped in with CPRIC as events of consciousness that occur DURING CPR – related to CPR. This last point is the most important. Association and causation are two different things, and while the first type of experience, where there are physical signs of consciousness, are undoubtedly caused by CPR, the second, RED/NDE type, is only associated in these cases with CPR. The fact that NDEs have been reported outside of the context of CPR further differentiates them from CPRIC, but this is not discussed in the paper, and these types of experience seem to have been put aside for now by Sam Parnia, most likely for very good reasons, possibly to narrow the field of research to experiences that occur in strictly defined situations with scientifically measurable outcomes.

However, despite the fact that the paper does concede that NDE type events are only associated with periods during which CPR is being conducted, you can guarantee skeptics will cite this paper as further evidence that REDs are due to physiological reasons, and nothing else.

As an aside, having lived on both sides of the pond, I can attest to the fact that you really do need to get your pronunciation of the word describing the small round red vegetable correct to be understood. I remember asking a stewardess on a flight to Ottawa for a can of tomato juice, and being a recent arrival to North America, I was still saying Toma[re]to…and despite repeating it 3 times she had no idea what I was saying. It was very strange indeed, I might as well have been asking for a football, it seemed impossible for her to make the connection between the word I was saying and the numerous cans of the substance she had right in front of her on her trolley. It was only when I said Tomat[e]o that she understood. From that point on I reluctantly adopted the local dialect when it came to certain words, particularly important due to the fact that at the time I was smoking and working in HIV (English smokers will know exactly what I am referring to!) Having returned to the UK I have managed to revert back to the mother tongue, except for the word loo…just can’t use it any more, so I still find myself saying washroom! My wife laughs at me for not returning to the British vernacular for the word toilet, despite the fact that she is a Kiwi and therefore has to juggle 3 forms of English in her head. The only concession I make on this is to use the word “bog”, which is another English word to describe toilet, but I generally do not use it other than when I am in a pub with a group of mates, since this word is not deemed polite.

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24 thoughts on “You say tomat[e]o, I say toma[re]to – NDE/RED/CPRIC

  1. Dario on said:

    I did not understand there is hope of life after death seen this post or not?


  2. Cobra on said:

    Would someone elaborate the difference between associated and related in this (scientific) context? Thanks!


  3. Max_B on said:

    Brain networks can be entrained by external EM fields within which they are embedded.

    Brain networks are more sensitive to EM fields than individual neurons.

    Many organisms have been shown to be sensitive to the magnetic component of the EM field, at magnetic field strengthens far below any chemical or thermal explanation.

    Endogenous sensory data from neurons, embed the brains networks within it’s own EM field. In between the EM field strengths necessary for wakeful consciousness, and em field strengths that are too low to allow the brains networks to become entrained at all, is an energy sweet spot. This sweet spot of energy, is sufficient to allow the brain to become entrained, but insufficient to embed the brain within it’s own EM field of sensory data (the sense of being an individual). This sweet spot of low energy, increases the probability that the brains networks can become temporarily entrained by *compatible* external EM fields.

    One speculates that some undiscovered mechanism within the brains networks, allows the brain to add-up Classical spacetime patterns, non-classically (outside of spacetime).

    The everyday wakeful world we experience, would therefore be a construct of added-up non-classical patterns that match. We can only share matching patterns. Only matching patterns can become coherent. If patterns don’t match, they cannot be shared.

    Patterns (coherence) can be either repelling, or attractive, and any state in between these two.

    Some of the others already know all of this in their own way.


  4. Thanks to Z for spotting that (again !!) and thanks to Ben for the critique.

    I’ve had a quick look through it. Nothing there that we weren’t previously aware of.
    CPR induced consciousness seems to be (somewhat predictably) associated with heart rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia etc (apparently).

    Sometimes a palpable pulse can’t be detected (apparently) and so an assumption is made that the heart has stopped when it actually hasn’t (not true cardiac arrest as Parnia and his colleagues have previously explained). So the patient wakes up during the procedures.

    It doesn’t typically happen in total heart stoppage such as ventricular fibrillation or asystole (99.99% of the time) but I’ll leave that to the experts, of course.

    Ben said >”you can guarantee skeptics will cite this paper as further evidence that REDs are due to physiological reasons, and nothing else.

    Well, if they do, Ben they will be mistaken because it doesn’t support such an assumption. The biggest problem for those that want to make a case for that is not least the incidence of it (CPRIC) 0.23% — 0.9%. That is far too low to match the incidence of NDE’s.

    From the paper : Nothing new.

    “Two types of cognitive activity and awareness were identified. The first includes visible signs of consciousness such as combativeness, groaning, and eye opening and was referred to as CPR-induced consciousness.”

    “The second, a perception of lucidity with visual and auditory awareness and recall without external signs of consciousness.”

    “Observational studies estimated that CPR-induced consciousness occurred in 0.23% to 0.9%”

    “Instances of CPR-induced consciousness appear to be more common in professional rescuer witnessed sudden cardiac arrests caused by shockable rhythms with presumed cardiac aetiology”

    my input (* ventricular fibrillation IS a shockable rhythm of course and also complete heart stoppage of the pump action but I think they are referring to tachycardia ( a furious pounding of the heart (200-230-250 beats a minute) which then leads to VF (apparently)

    “There are multiple narrative articles exploring the theory of physical entity, the mind, consciousness and how these are interlinked and related to CPR-induced consciousness and instances of awareness or recall after CPR.47., 48. A recurring feature reported is a paradoxical perception of separated external visual and auditory awareness, which has at times been referred to using the ill-defined and ill-understood phenomenon of “out of body experiences”. Unlike overt signs of consciousness, such as movement, obeying commands and speaking as mentioned in several of the studies, patient awareness and recall is much more difficult to define. The term near death experience has previously been used to describe the range of memories, thoughts, feelings and auras that patients experienced post cardiac arrest, and attempts have been made to categorise and study these through the Near-Death Experience Scale developed by Greyson.2 Parnia has identified multiple cognitive themes, including fear, that do not fit into the classical near-death experience definition, suggesting that this term may not encompass the entire patient experience”.9., 11.

    “Furthermore, in one study 2 patients reported a sense of separated external visual and auditory awareness and in one case, the accuracy of the perceived recollections by the patient was able to be confirmed”

    Just my opinion, feel free to call bullsh*t if anyone cares to. All in all, a good read ! and very interesting to NDE nerds like me.


  5. Alan on said:

    Thanks Z!

    Just comparing Parnia’s Bigelow paper – “What is the Best Available Evidence for the Survival of Human Consciousness After Permanent Bodily
    Death?” (CPRIC mentioned only four times in this very long paper) … “CPR-induced consciousness (CPRIC), which has an incidence of 0.3% during CPR attempts.”

    with the above paper … “The reported prevalence of CPR-induced consciousness was between 0.23% to 0.9% of resuscitation attempts”. So in the same ballpark and nothing like the incidence rate of NDEs/REDs, as Tim says above.

    IMHO, seems to me this paper deals with CPRIC and then “gets it out of the way” compared NDEs/REDs, esp. where Orson quotes … “these two experiences as two separate entities”. Still on track?


  6. I think the concept of serperating the two experiences another step in the road. And I do think they are two serperate experiences but like all experiences they may Overlap. I suppose it easy to go from say CPR induced experiences to a proper RED as both experiences occur in the same area. For example when someone has a traditional NDE or RED and it a positive experience and the moment they return to their body it painful and one can easily imagine a scenario where this person is getting CPR but being aware of it. In other words REDS be like day and CPR induced experiences be like night, it logical to think at times there a dusk Overlap too.

    Overall I thing a good step in serperating both experiences. This the second paper like this as the CHEST paper there too.


  7. Eduardo on said:

    El estudio de Parnia trata sobre conciencia en la resucitación, así que es lógico y esperable que esté involucrado en todo tipo de conciencia que pueda llegar a producirse durante la reanimación de un paro cardíaco. Esto informado tal como lo insinúa Tim no agrega ni quita nada a la verdadera naturaleza de las NDEs.
    Parnia’s study deals with consciousness in resuscitation, so it is logical and expected that he would be involved in all types of consciousness that may occur during resuscitation from cardiac arrest. This reporting, as Tim implies, neither adds nor takes away from the true nature of NDEs.


  8. David on said:

    This is for Orsons Origin of !ife. From Nature this week. A prebiotically plausible scenario of an DNA peptide world. Got it from a troll on UFO twitter.


    • Hi David, thanks for this. It proposes a hybrid RNA peptide world based on the idea that peptides could form along portions of RNA, in a hypothetical RNA world, that has to come into being first. It does not come even slightly close to explaining the emergence of a DNA protein world, or most fundamentally the DNA code. neither does it explain how an RNA world would appear, or where the peptides would gain the information to form in such a way as to be proteins. However, to the those who don’t understand these things, it makes it sound as though they have made progress. They haven’t…zilch, nada.


      • David on said:

        Some guy trolling UF O Twitter sent that after I noted we have far more evidence of UFOs than say Origin Of Life. Yes some speculation is better than trained pilots matching radar and infra red. ……….


      • You will like my upcoming novel…it is based on NDE plus a bit of UFO thrown in.


  9. Parnia Lab has posted something new on their Instagram page, check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Something about “Post-mortem neuronal revival”

    Liked by 1 person

    • eduardo on said:

      Wich is link, Máximo??


      • Here is the link.

        I think this came up a week or so ago in a UK newspaper. It is just about the fact that cells do not decay as fast as we once thought, and remain viable, even at room temperature, for a reasonable amount of time after death. It possibly extends the period during which CPR could be conducted with the possibility that the person could achieve ROSC with little to no damage. I think this is highly dependent on very good CPR maintaining good levels of oxygen circulation throughout the body so as to reduce the chances of reperfusion injury. Also, I think without excellent artificial supply of oxygenated blood I think these findings will prove to be tissue dependent, but I have no evidence for that…just a gut feeling.

        Another possibility it raises is the idea of freezing a body and brining it back to life when new treatments for diseases emerge. The big issue is reperfusion, and overcoming this. There is a precedent for this from incidents where people fall into frozen water.

        Of course, the big question is what happens to the consciousness during this period?


  11. They have posted further items on twitter, instragram and primarily the YouTube channel. Nothing regular followers here would not have seen before, as they give a general overview such as REDS.


    • For once I actually beat you to it Z, although I was creating the post as you posted this, so technically you were first 🙂 Agreed, it is not news to any of us, but it must surely enforce our hope that they have something more substantial to share, from a scientific perspective.


      • Your blog so your rules hahaha 😆

        This video after 3 minutes 20 seconds said accurately described events but mentions events not accurately in the typed wording although I think it a editing issue


      • It’s sort of my blog, but in truth I hope others see it as a valuable resource, made much more so by contributions from the likes of you, Tim and others. I see it more as a forum. I am s busy with my day job and writing other stuff, that in truth I rely on you guys to help with keeping us all up to date.

        There is nothing new here in this video, but good to have it on their channel. I think they are preparing for the release of AWARE II, which will hopefully have more of a scientifically verified EVA.


    • They are doing something that I was planning to do on YouTube, but I am sure they will do a better job, so probably saved me some time!


    • Except I left my post in the drafts folder!


  12. They also uploaded the panel discussion from the brain awareness week on YouTube: “Lucid Dying: Exloring Brain and Consciousness at the End of Life”


  13. They also uploaded the panel discussion from the brain awareness week on YouTube. “Lucid Dying: Exloring Brain and Consciousness at the End of Life”

    Liked by 1 person

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