AwareofAware

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

AWARE II preprint analysis

So having had time to look through the preprint of the AWARE II paper, I will only add comments on new information that wasn’t present in the talk at AHA, and it basically boils down to two things – the reports of external awareness – in particular the visual report, and the EEG data.

On the report of visual awareness, this is from the paper:

“…one describing “hands being on him” and voices shouting. Another, “heard people talking…” and drugs given but without specifics. The same person (1/28 [3.5%]) perceived visual awareness of doctors. He felt like he was further away but could see what was going on, including hearing/seeing doctors getting organized and a doctor with a “surgical hat and blue scrubs”. He said he “could feel someone rubbing the bony bit” on his chest. During stage 3, no further information for independent corroboration was provided.”

When you look at this case, I would say this is much more likely to be CIPRIC than a genuine OBE. Not what I would like to say, but nonetheless feels true given he reports feeling procedures. It is possible he was “half-in half-out” but no evidence to support this UNLESS they also collected EEG and it was flat during the episode he describes…which brings me on to the EEG data. I refer specifically to this paragraph:

“EEG data were obtained from n=85 subjects, but due to electrical interference, electrode malfunction, motion artifact data, only 53 had interpretable EEG data. Thus, of 851 total EEG images captured, 466(55%) were interpretable (Figure 1.A). Of these 53, n=49 also had rSO 2 with mean SD rSO 2 43.49, consistent with significant ischemia (normal~70%). Those not-interviewed had a similar rSO 2 to those interviewed. Among the 28 interviewed survivors, mean rSO 2 was similar between those with and without memories. Although, absence of cortical brain activity (suppressed EEG) was a dominant finding (47% of data/images), seizure-like (epileptiform) activity also emerged (5%) (Figure 1.B). Importantly, near-normal/physiological EEG consistent with consciousness also emerged: delta, theta activity in 22% and 12% respectively (up to CPR 60 minutes), alpha 6% of data/images (up to CPR 35 minutes) and beta 1% (Figure 1.B). Near-normal EEG patterns were observed throughout CPR, however, their relative frequency declined over time, especially after 50 minutes of CPR. In parallel, there was a relative increase in suppressed (absent) EEG. Seizure-like activity occurred after 10mins of CPR but remained steady (~12-24% of all EEG recordings) throughout (Figure 1.B). Modeling the likelihood of the emergence of the EEG patterns, we identified a significant difference in the predicted probability of the emergence of the three categories of EEG (normal-near normal, seizure like activity, absence) with prolonged CPR duration (p<0.001) (Figure 1.C)2”

Firstly, the Parnia lab are to be congratulated on what is a truly innovative and ground-breaking piece of research. As they state in the discussion, this is the first time that real-time EEG data has been collected in a prospective study during CPR, and given the fact that near normal EEG patterns were observed in some patients throughout CPR, it raises the possibility that NDEs could be explained by brain activity. However, without further detail, and specifically the tables, I am going to guess that it is quite unlikely given that one of the 6 patients who had “transcendental” experiences has EEG data given that less than 10% of all subjects had interpretable EEG (I am assuming the percentages quoted in the above paragraph are for the whole EEG population, not just those who were interviewed…this should be changed by the editor before final publication with numbers as well as percentages). Now if one of the 6 did have interpretable EEG, then it could prove positive for either camp, but would favour the dualists. There are two scenarios if there was interpretable EEG data for any of the 6:

  1. The EEG data was inconsistent with conscious activity. This would be slightly positive for dualists…but only slightly without time stamping of validated external recollections…which we already know don’t exist.
  2. The EEG data was consistent with the potential for conscious activity. This would be slightly supportive or the materialists, but for the same reason as it would not be conclusive in scenario one it would not be conclusive here.

Ultimately, even when we do see the tables, I am pretty certain we will not be able to draw any definitive conclusions about the nature of consciousness, or of the cause of NDEs from AWARE II. Most, if not all of the EEG data, is for people who didn’t report an NDE.

Parnia points to his study in patients undergoing hypothermic circulatory arrest as maybe unlocking the puzzle. My next post will be about this, and why I am concerned that this may be a false hope, and if he did stop collecting data for AWARE II in March 2020, then he may come to regret it.

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99 thoughts on “AWARE II preprint analysis

  1. Eduardo on said:

    Parnia in recent years (either through his twitter account-when it existed-or on the Parnia Lab website), presented the fact that some patients may have a beating heart but are so sick that their pulse is weak and impalpable by hand, and doctors then initiate CPR and these would also be included in his Aware study. That is, sometimes a person’s heart HAS NOT actually STOPPED, but is beating very weakly, so the person still has such a low blood pressure that you can’t feel a pulse…Those people are also treated with CPR…But since the heart is still beating, the addition of CPR allows the “diastolic” blood pressure to rise enough to get more blood to the brain and sometimes even “wake” the person up.
    In the paper we do not have the elements to make this distinction, nor can we know whether or not these cases, in part, explain some of the electrical activity found during some CPR in the Aware Study.

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  2. Hi Ben,

    Looking forward to your thoughts reagarding the hypothermic circulatory arrest study. I suspect cardiac arrest is just too difficult for these kinds of studies. In every case someones life is on the line and outcome is unpredictable every single time. It’s difficult to imagine any activities not directly linked to improving outcome in these situations. A COOL study setup where the ‘events’ are planned in advance should make it a lot easier. There’s probably a deterministic number of these surgeries per year at a given site making to possible to predict when recruitment will be complete.

    BR
    Steen

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, but Constatiproot…or something like that, posted a link to a paper that was exactly like theCOOL study, and nada. I will discuss it the next post. I have my thoughts on it, but need to do a bit more background reading.

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      • Peter K on said:

        The patients in this study were under anaesthesia for more than 14 hours. Propofol is known to inhibit early memory consolidation in humans very effectively. Even if you have an NDE during DHCA (25 minutes) and you are under anaesthesia for several hours after that, the chance is extremely low to have any memories about that.
        Additionally, you go from a deep anaesthesia via an NDE (if this is happening) directly back to a deep anaesthesia. Even from a psychological view there is a very low chance of any recollection. You see that every night: often when you switch from dream to dream and wake up from deep sleep you cannot remember anything. But when you wake up directly from a dream by your alarm clock, you can remember your dream if you directly reflect on it after waking up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter K on said:

        I would also like to add some comments on the Pam Reynolds case.
        As you can see in the report, Reynolds was able to hear sounds before her cardiac arrest. She reported on the sawing sounds while opening her skull and reported on the fact, that it was told, that her arteries are too small. All these things happened, while Reynolds was only under anesthesia and not in a state of cardiac arrest or reduced blood flow to the brain.
        This shows, that she was awake during her anesthesia and due to the reduced impact of the anesthetic drugs on her brain, she was able to keep her memories on that. Even if memories are not stored in the brain, a human living being needs the brain structures for any recollection.
        After that, she had a deep transcendental NDE with an extremely high Greyson score. I think, this is a result of a combination of both things:
        – a deep NDE caused by complete elimination of brain activity during
        DHCA
        – a good recollection caused by a dose of anesthetic drugs too low to prevent memory consolidation and in comparison to a classic cardiac arrest no disturbance of memory consolidation caused by the damages resulting from resuscitation.

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      • This is very interesting Peter, and something I am thinking about. I will be writing about a 2018 paper on NDEs in DHCA in my next post, and there were no NDE like experiences. This is why I am less excited about Parnia’s study than I was previously. He may be barking up the wrong tree. I guess my question is whether it is a function of ability to remember or something about the procedure that means NDEs are much rarer.

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      • Eduardo on said:

        Pam Reynolds had headphones placed in her ears with sound and white noise at 95-100 decibels…after she was anesthetized and before the operation began.

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      • I was hoping Parnia would do that.

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      • Eduardo on said:

        yo también, Ben. I’m too, Ben

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      • Peter K on said:

        Pam Reynolds could easily hear surrounding noises even though the sound was 100 dB. The click rate was 11.3 clicks per second with a click duration of 12 ms. The BAEP’s are recorded by far- field techniques following broad- band click stimuli (100 µsec rectangular pulse monophasic square waves) delivered via molded ear speakers. Clicks of alternating polarity are used at stimulus levels of 90 to 100 dB (sound pressure level) at rates of 11 to 33/sec. (Spetzler et al., 1988, p. 869).

        Under this parameters you can easily hear your surroundings. In addition to that, during her OBE she was not in cardiac arrest and only under anesthetic drugs. So we have no near-death situation here.

        What I find more exciting is the transcendental part of her experience (going to another realm, meeting deceased relatives etc. ). When looking at the timeline, this could really have happened during DHCA.

        My opinion on that:
        The anesthetic did not work well on Reynolds, so that she was able to perceive her surroundings. During DHCA (which is the nearest state to death, as the complete brain is completely shut down) she had a very deep and intensive NDE. Due to the light anesthesia she was able to remember this during the next phase under anesthesia and after waking up.

        I know the 2008 DHCA study and they really had a complete DHCA for maximum of 30 minutes, which should lead to a deep NDE (if this really shows afterlife). Only after these 30 minutes antegrade cerebral perfusion was applied.
        But all the subjects had been under deep anesthesia for a very long time (duration around 14 hours in all) with drugs, that prevent memory consolidation and additionally lead to a deep sleep with intense dream phases, which are in most cases not remembered (propofol has these features). All this must lead to the situation, that nobody was able to report an NDE

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      • Gunther P on said:

        Wouldn’t the best course of action be a AWARE III without the covid problems?

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      • Peter K, “Pam Reynolds could easily hear surrounding noises even though the sound was 100 dB.”

        From operating neurosurgeon, Robert Spetzler, “At that stage of the operation nobody can observe or hear in that state. I find it inconceivable that your normal senses such as hearing, let alone
        the fact that she had clicking modules in each ear, that there was any
        way for her to hear those through the normal auditory pathways.”

        Also her visual awareness of the instruments she reported even though they were in their packages before the operation and her eyes were taped shut.

        From this link

        Click to access vol26-no4-308.pdf

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter brings up an important point: if Reynolds was able to hear, that points to the possibility that she was experiencing anesthesia awareness rather than an out-of-body experience. Are there any other potential OBE cases where the patient reported things that are confirmed to be impossible to have perceived by normal senses?
        On a related note— does anyone have links to Parnia’s comments in favor of dualism? Everything I’ve read seems firmly neutral.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter K on said:

        “Zee, it seems that Peter states a few private opinions (“Pam Reynolds could easily hear surrounding noises even though the sound was 100 dB.”) as well as some scientific detail”

        It is not my personal opinion. You can try to check it via your computer and a special program. If you have a 12 ms click with 100 dB and the stated frequency of the clicks, of course you can easily hear. Most of the time (around 90 %) there are no clicks.
        There is also a great analysis of Dr. Woerlee on this point.

        Click to access 30-1%20F%20Woerlee.pdf

        I only talk about the acoustic awareness here. The visual awareness is also completely out of explanation for me.

        Additionally, if you state, that the OBE is a result of a shutdown brain, than Reynolds may only have the OBE during she was at cardiac arrest. But Reynolds OBE was during the time, her heart was still fully functioning. All the things she reported during the OBE (opening the skull, searching for blood vessels for the bypass machine) happened before induction of DHCA.

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    • Zee, it seems that Peter states a few private opinions (“Pam Reynolds could easily hear surrounding noises even though the sound was 100 dB.”) as well as some scientific detail but hasn’t refuted Spetzler’s point, I’m assuming he was unaware of it, which would effectively be a scientific one in respect of hearing possibilities during the operation on her. I also had a quick scope on the Web of what 100 dB entails in your ears.

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  3. I cannot help feeling disappointed. With thousands of annedoctal accounts, and even with the study limitations, I expected much more data..

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    • Gunther P. on said:

      My main concern is that the found brain waves could reduce interest in the phenomenon, given that the “skeptics” lying by omission about the nature of the brain waves could affect public discourse, influencing both the motivation and funding of the team.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is a very important point Gunther, and I think you are right. It is analogous to the RNA world theory in the origins of life puzzle. It sounds like it might be plausible, despite the fact that when it is examined thoroughly it most definitively is not, but for the ardent “evangelical” materialists, it is enough for them to spin a web of deceit that people gobble up without question. The EEG story will be the same.

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    • I feel the same Mary. I am sure the Parnia lab did everything they could, but only 28 interviews after 6 years! That is the problem here, nothing else. It was the problem with AWARE I, although I think they had nearly 100 interviews.

      I think we have to conclude that unless there is a global co-ordinated effort to get to the bottom of this, and implement this study in hundreds, if not thousands of hospitals for an extended period, then we will not get enough meaningful data to answer this question through “spontaneous/natural” CA.

      I am beginning to wonder of we are not”meant” to have a definitive answer.May it is “supposed” to remain a mystery that requires faith to move past.

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      • I came to the conclusion that we are not meant to know years ago.

        If you believe that something of consciousness survives death, then I would argue that there must be a purpose to living in the first place, this would imply an overiding conscious being, called god or anything you like.
        If you are here for a purpose would it affect the way you act in the here and now? I would say definately therefore to find that there is a definate afterlife, or survival, would completely invalidate the whole purpose of being here in the first place, and would not be allowed to happen, just my own thoughts and probably completely wrong.

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      • Ron, I think you may have hit the nail on the head. However, we here have had a peak behind the curtain. We will be held to a higher standard…eek!

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  4. Charlie on said:

    From an NDE basis the results seem inconclusive at best. But I think the team should be applauded for the efforts on advancing resuscitation science. I suspect the presence of some brain activity with cpr for nearly an hour could greatly aid advancements in understanding how the brain could recover from cpr and maybe develop tools to preserve brain function during cpr to minimize neurological damage in these patients. I just think it’s important to consider possible other positive outcomes even if the NDE component was lacking

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  5. Just puzzled how “NDE could be explained by brain activity…” on what ground?

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    • Oleg, the word “could” is the vital word here. In the absence of validated OBEs, you could argue that the observed brain activity consistent with consciousness during CPR supports the theory that NDEs are the result of brain activity. However, the moment you throw in validated OBEs, of which their are thousands, it falls apart. However, in the absence of a scientifically validated OBE, the hypothesis that NDEs are the result of brain activity is not disproven in an experiment (neither is it proven). In other words it could….

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      • No NDE can be explain by brain activity, as we have no even remote clue how brain activity can generate anything.

        Not staying it to argue just don’t understand the statement. We don’t know how thoughts are form, there is no chemical or physical “calculation” of thoughts.

        The same though applicable to OBE – no verified cases of learning information around, will lead to any proof until such time we can describe mechanism of generated thoughts, feelings, emotions etc.

        This is why I frankly think Parnia is so calm and irrelevant to results of any of those studies. His initial claim was to study consciousness, not to prove anything for anybody, and as far as I see he didn’t move inch in his personal views that consciousness is separate to the brain. But what does it mean – very different question.

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      • I agree with you, but just because we don’t know, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be explained by brain activity. It is about being balanced in our assessment of the EEG data in relation to NDEs. However, even if there was an NDE which was time stamped at the same time as EEG signals consistent with conscious processes, it still does not prove anything for the materialists because it just be the brain interacting with consciousness that is separating or even separate at this point.

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      • So, I just highlighted that regardless of views, materialist, dualist etc… absence of scientifically described and verified mechanism that produce consciousness would never allow you to stand fully on one ground or another. NDE as other experiences of “normal” life are fully part of it.

        I am not materialist nor anything else, it is irrelevant to the topic of NDE even for simple fact that consciousness could be unknown form of matter, then what? Who you are if that confirms ever. There could be very well unknown physics behind yet possible to discover in the future.

        What I was trying to say that Aware 2 or cool study will never answer definitely on reality of this experiences as the matter of fact we don’t really know how consciousness is produced. Nor at large scale nor (and moreover) at molecular. This is the reality of it.

        However those studies definitely push the borderline of the knowledge much further, exploring the whole field.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Roberta on said:

    Thanks for posting and for this information.

    NDE wise I think this study is pretty inconclusive, most people don’t have EEG, a small number have EEG consistent with normal EEG, but we don’t know if this is the people who had NDE’s or not. Is that correct?

    I assume this data has been around for a while to the Aware team? If so, Parnia’s comments in interviews which seem to be in favour of NDE’s suggesting consciousness persists beyond bodily death, the brain could be a receiver etc, suggests to me the NDE’rs did not have EEG? Otherwise why does he think this?

    I definitely agree the study is not powered enough, nowhere near enough people were interviewed, and frankly prospective NDE studies are obviously very difficult to carry out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree.
      Based on the expectations and the “publicity” that was given by Parnia Lab on Instagram back in March-April, results are very disappointing. With such low numbers and artifacts in the EEG it is very difficult to make anything of the gathered data
      I wanted to remark the same thing as Roberta: these data were around quite for a long time, since 2019 when they published their first results in the AHA November 2019. Any dualist inclination on the part of Parnia that came after that must be influenced by something they know/believe. And there have been several.
      For me it is also remarkable the comments on the discussion section defending (or not ruling out) duality. In the AHA congress he was very careful, Parnia seems to only defend dualism in more “private” circles. And this is a serious publication.
      Ben, I don’t know about the tables, but if there was any correlation or EEG reading connected to an experience, they would have probably mentioned it in the results section, cause it would be remarkable.
      Also, what about patients with alpha and beta waves…did they recall anything “normal”? (if that is conscious activity, we could also expect them to have CPRIC, or vage memories, etc) Everyone seems to be ready to link alpha – beta whatever to NDEs, but nobody mentions this activity to be related to being in a light coma, lethargic or semi-conscious.

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      • Always good to have your insights Mery. Yes, there was very little in the way of extra cases after AHA 2019. The data in this study cuts off at the beginning of the pandemic…personally I would have considered that a rather good time to gather data, but maybe that’s not the most compassionate way of looking at it. either way they have fallen a long way short of their target for recruitment. Does that mean the study is still recruiting, or they’ve just given up? I will put my thoughts on that into the next post on DHCA.

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  7. Gunther P on said:

    I think Parnia says this because of other accounts, such as Van Lommel’s teeth study, the shoe OBE, and other consciousness’ related phenomena give him confidence in survival.

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  8. There are not just Dualist and Materialist positions. There are remaining ideas to explore both between, and different, from those extreme philosophical positions, like my own… 😉

    Whereby verifiable and anomalous OBE information is obtained as the result of the brains neural networks becoming temporarily entrained by the local external EM fields within which they are embedded. And further, that this classical pattern of entrainment then leads to non-classical adding-up, from which the OBE experience (and all experience) arises. As the brains energy starved neural networks continue to run out of energy, they are unable to maintain entrainment by the external EM fields within which they are embedded, allowing the experience to transition to the NDE. And if not resuscitated, eventually [non-classically] spreading out to transcend spacetime, and whatever lies beyond…

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  9. Thanks for your detailed reviews Orson. Done as a true scientist! And I guess they’re never going to stop collecting data, so may get one day a real hit.
    Key punchy points in the Conclusion look to be to me … “a perception of death and a different, ineffable reality” … “consciousness … as a separate undiscovered entity” … “the finding of paradoxical lucidity and heightened reality when brain function is severely disordered, or has ceased *raises the need* [my emphasis] to consider alternatives to the epiphenomenon theory” (refs. 33, 35, 37 given after this last one look interesting in that new ideas of consciousness seem needed). I guess from these three quotes at least it’s all “on track” for something special.

    I noticed they also refd. the NYAS paper of 2022 which has that detailed supplementary stuff esp. about other dimensions of reality.
    Just wonder whether they’ll include something similar as an Appendix in this paper once it’s got peer-reviewed. Should cause a stir! But even if not both papers read together surely are hinting at something they can’t explicitly quite say yet.

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    • Gunther P on said:

      So you think they have something that makes them reach this conclusion instead of mere personal opinion? Interesting, but I personally doubt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think they have what they have Gunther in terms of science and what will make it through peer-review. Orson would know how strict this is. But there are amazing NDE anecdotes Sam and team would know of but won’t get into a paper like this. On a side note I was listening to an interview this morning with Prof. Garry Nolan of Stanford by Lt. Ryan Graves (former F-18 pilot and UFO witness) on UFOs. Garry mentioned whether anecdotal sightings could be subject to scientific analysis.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s the weight of anecdotal accounts in terms of numbers and reliability of sources, combined with the consistency of what is reported that provides extremely strong evidence, but it is hard to apply the scientific method to these accounts,so they will remain anecdotal.

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      • I think they have personal experience, and have had many discussions with other HCPs who have had experiences. All reliable, scientifically minded people who can explain what they observed by accepting a dualist explanation. As for scientific data, it would appear not.

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      • Orson, it would be good if they could talk a lot more about those discussions! Don’t mean to go off topic but Garry Nolan had his own UFO and “beings” experiences which he’s spoken of candidly and he said he doesn’t need anyone to tell him whether they were real. So he suggested looking at anecdotal reports scientifically. I just thought of the crossover here with NDEs.

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      • Hi Alan, while I agree it would be good for us to have those discussions, and they did at the NYU meeting in 2019, there is a time and a place, and the scientific literature is one of those places. It is not possible really to look at anecdotal reports scientifically.

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      • I agree and surely it is the anecdotes that drive the studies to get a true *scientific* hit. But I also like the point that nobody can tell someone what they saw (or experienced) wasn’t real. I’d guess these medical teams also know of so much more in different fields of afterlife studies. But this is their work. We must be patient.

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  10. As an aside or an analogy of sorts the data gathered reminds me of one of the end scenes in the 1997 film contact whereby they have only when through something for a moment but managed 18 hours of static noise. There’s something there but cannot put they fingers on it exactly.

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    • I remember that like yesterday! James Woods, who’s the special US Gov. advisor, says something like “that is interesting” (about the static). And Ellie get more SETI funding.

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      • Yes although not seen film in years

        But I think it indicates in a sense data and how it difficult to put into showing a clear picture of things.

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    • matthew on said:

      It also reminds me of the attempt by philosopher Raymond Moody in categorizing different kinds of nonsense as it relates to the NDE experience since not all information is communicable in words. For the paradigm to change their has to be memory formation without brain activity. But how could this be true even with the filter hypothesis? When does the signal arrive and what would its signature be but noise to us?

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      • Matthew, I listened to that “nonsense” talk by Moody while painting a bedroom. Impressive I thought.

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    • Paul Battista on said:

      Aware 3 coming soon. Looking forward to the cool study results.

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  11. Eduardo on said:

    I have quickly reviewed the literature I have and this leads me to question the “biomarkers of lucid consciousness during resuscitation”.
    During chest compressions blood pressure is well below normal generally. If they were hypothetically perfect they could improve systolic pressure but not so much diastolic pressure, and even with vasopressor drugs, they would still be at low levels….
    To this must be added the fact that in cardiac arrests of more than 37 seconds the interruption of oxygen reaching the brain causes inflammation or swelling of the brain (cerebral edema), which makes it necessary to have a blood pressure above normal to supply the brain with sufficiently oxygenated blood in order to dislodge the accumulated carbon dioxide. This situation can be alleviated not during resuscitation but after the return of cardiac rhythm.
    Only cooling methods were promising to be able to decrease brain swelling during resuscitation but, as reported in Parnia Lab, their results were limited, and (if I did not mistranslate) not mentioned in the pre-print paper. On the other hand, there is no blood pressure data for the patients recruited… So all this leads me to think that it is unlikely that the electrical activity seen in Aware II CPRs is necessarily and inexorably indicative of the presence of lucid consciousness (as is an NDE), but that, on the contrary, there would still be an oxygen deficiency in the brain, which would result in, at best, if not unconsciousness, confusion and agitation.

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    • I agree, as I am sure does Parnia. However, if there are EEG signals that could be associated with consciousness, then he has to report this and the materialists will leap on it, even if every other parameter screams unconscious.

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      • Eduardo on said:

        I disagree with what you say, Ben. First of all Parnia clings to the case of the 87 year old man (Zemmar case), interpreting that he was dead when in fact he was not. (he omitted to see Figure 2 A). Second, if we “call” any spike in electrical activity an indicator of consciousness, then we are “toast”…. Parnia told the media that these spikes arise for a very short period…which would imply that Ecms should then be experiences of intermittent consciousness…. And we know they are not, they are experiences of continuous consciousness.

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      • I get where you are coming from, but he has repeatedly said that the EEG data has periods where it is “normal” during CPR.

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      • Eduardo on said:

        Entonces por qué dijo lo otro?!!

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  12. Gunther P on said:

    Besides the problem with analysing NDE’s in a laboratory, there are also some individuals who have experiences similar to them without the clinical death aspect. In the accounts they simply happen out of nowhere interestingly.

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  13. To Ben and anyone else who wants to chime in,

    1. I feel that this data hasn’t really changed anything? We have known for quite some time that experience is correlated with brain activity and if the “skeptics”, among others, want to posit that NDE’s do not show proof of anything as the person had not died… Well then that cuts both ways and it becomes moot.

    2. It seems that the spikes of EEG are not consistent with normal consciousness either… Meaning, why is that a decrease in brain activity has a increase in experience?

    3. The interpretations of the data that we have for certain metaphysical positions are pretty open and little is ruled out. The dualist can hold that the NDE must have some correlation of brain activity as during normal waking life there is a correlation of experience and brain activity. The interaction of mind/consciousness and brain are these spikes of activity, etc. So it would make sense that if the person had not died then we should find some activity?

    4. So the point remains, has this tilted the balance? If so, is it valid for Materialism? Idealism? Panpsychism? Dualism? None?

    Would love to hear what anyone has to say as I could be missing something.

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    • Hi Hans,

      If I understand you correctly, you are saying that this data correlates brain activity with NDE reports? If that is the case, then that is incorrect.

      All we know so far is that there was EEG activity measured in a number of patients, and that some of this activity could be described as near normal – i.e. possibly of the type of activity that has previously been associated with consciousness. However, we do not know if any of these reports were from patients who reported “transcendental” experiences, and in fact given the paucity of interpretable EEG readouts, this is unlikely. Moreover, given that there are no “time-stamped” reports of experiences, even if one or more of the NDEs occurred in a patient who had EEG activity consistent with consciousness, unless there was this type of EEG activity all the time, the best they could say is that there is a possible association between EEG activity and NDEs. But like I said, there is a very slim chance of them having this.

      Correlation is very different from association. There will be no correlation from this study given what we currently know. At best a weak association, and even that is unlikely…the rest is speculation.

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  14. Ben,

    I read this wrong then. It seemed to me that the results included EEGs of persons with confirmed NDE’s and their brain activity correlated with the NDE’s.

    Yet, all we have are random EEG readings from persons undergoing CPR which could be muscles contracting, residual movement from equipment, etc.

    Is that right?

    (Apologies, I read this with some heavy biases the first time through).

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what we currently know about the results, it is reasonable to speculate that random EEG recordings during CPR, not correlated in any meaningful way with “transcendental” experiences, is precisely what we have. The one visual recollection reported seems a lot like CIPRIC, so I would absolutely expect EEG activity with that…if they recorded it.

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  15. Ben, I did my own read-up on NDE during DHCAs which for now have made me quite pessimistic regarding future scientific advances in this field. Can I ask you if you know anyone working in Resuscitation who have first hand experiences in these events? I feel there’s very far between the firsthand witnesses (did a completely anecdotal search og quora and reddit)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Ben,

    Do you mind sharing the reasons of your pessimism?
    I do wish Tim is reading this right now and will return to the blog, since he is a subject expert in this matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is, and he won’t.

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    • I will be posting on the paper this weekend. It makes for depressing reading and is much more rigorous in its analysis than Beregaud (and I will spell that 10 different ways by the end of this discussion!).

      Like

      • Eduardo on said:

        There are many dark spots in Sam Parnia
        1- he made many times ambiguous and unclear statements in the media when he appeared,
        2- even on November 6 in Chicago.
        3- I never knew why the patients recruited from Aware II were from May 2017 to March 2020, when those from Aware I were from September 2008 to December 31, 2012. What happened from 2013 to the beginning of 2017?
        4- What happened to the cooling methods so promising in Aware I and in your book Ersing death? Were they applied in Aware II? It is not known.
        5-I have written to Parnia more than 5 times over the years, even proposing different methods of validating EBOs (which I stopped doing thanks to other researchers who believe, and with good reason, that his method of testing EBOs is unsuccessful). I never received a reply from Parnia.
        6 – I personally believe, although I may be wrong, that Parnia has acquired great prestige in the medical community over the years as a “resuscitator”, and therefore does not want to confront a lot of scientists with materialistic ideology.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Eduardo, regarding your bullet 3, I imagine the coronavirus crisis ended recruting into Aware II. I’m not sure if the study actually has ended, but it probably has since they decided to publish their results now.

        I often wonder if anyone else on this planet working with resusication is into NDE science(Pim Van Lommel comes to mind). The lack of other interested researchers in this space is not a good sign.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Roberta on said:

        Hi Ben,

        Depressing reading in term’s of what it means for NDE’s, or not enough results, or other kind of reasons?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Roberta, In my view, the combined weight of evidence be it anecdotal, in clinical settings and in prospective studies, means there is enough data to convince all but the most obstinate skeptics.

        Like

      • Not enough results

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      • Hi Steen,
        I say there lots more interested in ndes from a resuscitation perspective. This my assumption but when you read many of nde papers etc there is lots of other names attached. It just generally the lead researcher or two that gain prominence. And the time and resouces to look into it and then write a paper while doing the day job of medical work. Plus personal circumstances all contribute to whether or not one can conduct lots of reseach. But I only assuming

        Liked by 1 person

    • Roberta on said:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your reply.

      I should have been clearer in my question sorry!

      You said ‘ will be posting on the paper this weekend. It makes for depressing reading and is much more rigorous in its analysis than Beregaud (and I will spell that 10 different ways by the end of this discussion!).’

      I was curious as to why it makes for depressing reading? And why you are pessimistic about future NDE research?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Valentine on said:

    So in the end we have only one really verified OBE experience in history?

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  18. Peter K on said:

    “Zee, it seems that Peter states a few private opinions (“Pam Reynolds could easily hear surrounding noises even though the sound was 100 dB.”) as well as some scientific detail”

    It is not my personal opinion. You can try to check it via your computer and a special program. If you have a 12 ms click with 100 dB and the stated frequency of the clicks, of course you can easily hear. Most of the time (around 90 %) there are no clicks.
    There is also a great analysis of Dr. Woerlee on this point.

    Click to access 30-1%20F%20Woerlee.pdf

    Additionally, if you state, that the OBE is a result of a shutdown brain, than Reynolds may only have the OBE during she was at cardiac arrest. But Reynolds OBE was during the time, her heart was still fully functioning. All the things she reported during the OBE (opening the skull, searching for blood vessels for the bypass machine) happened before induction of DHCA.

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    • Peter K, there’s more commentary on this in this review I link below of Bruce Greyson’s recent “After” book. The comments by the operating neurosurgeon Robert Spetzler still stand out (which I linked to above).
      https://philrsblog.com/life-and-death-the-soul/book-review-survey-article-bruce-greyson-after-a-doctor-explores-what-near-death-experiences-reveal-about-life-and-beyond/

      I wonder if Woerlee took up Chris Carter’s challenge and headed off to the Barrow Neurological Institute with him?

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    • Anybody more qualified than me (I’m particle physics) or Peter K wish to chime in? Medical preferably.

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    • There’s no shortage of responses to Woerlee’s criticisms to the Pam Reynolds case, and the fact that he eventually stopped responding goes to suggest that he didn’t have any explanation to the points that were raised.

      The technologist who inserted the headphones into Pam’s ears attested that the tape and gauze used to keep the headphones in place completely covered the ear entrance, making any kind of outside hearing impossible. As for the timing of her NDE, it is true that it started as the saw started up. BUT, she heard the song Hotel California being played during her OBE at the end of the operation when her cardiac arrest was still ongoing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This case has been discussed to death… either you accept Pam was in burst suppression during the periods she apparently recalls information from, as the surgical team claim, or you don’t.

      There are lots of other – better – cases IMO. And to be frank, much more generally anomalous access to information which is not the experiencers, is so well documented, that it’s well past time to argue about whether people get access to anomalous information which is not their own, they do.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Michael DeCarli on said:

    I’m still excited for the DHCA studies. There have only been two of them. One had positive results, one didn’t.

    There have been NUMEROUS studies like the AWARE studies. Some have had better results than others.

    Do you know how many experiments had to happen before a rocket could get through our atmosphere? Hundreds. And with a lot more funding lol.

    This is a marathon not a sprint but we all already know the outcome. The evidence points to a survival conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Well this seems to be a disappointment at least in terms of NDEs. Nothing groundbreaking it seems from that point of view. Much of it is still inconclusive. Frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I have to admit I am also disappointed that we haven’t had more results by now. The fact there are so few studies and they lack financial and institutional support from government and others for what is without doubt the most important question in life is sad to say the least. I am trying to stay hopeful about the DHCA study as well as the AWARE studies. I just think Parnia should have more support and funding than he has had so far, but fingers crossed things get better.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Mark Mahin on said:

    The authors stated in the discussion section:

    Recent reports of a surge of gamma electrical activity (ordinarily seen during conscious perception) during cardiac standstill, led to speculation that a biomarker of lucid consciousness at death may exist 11–13. While, our data supports this intriguing possibility, the mechanism of consciousness and its relationship with brain resuscitation and function remain undiscovered. “Bottom‐up” or “top-down” mechanisms are proposed for the emergence of consciousness 33. The former considers consciousness as an epiphenomenon from brain activities 34; the latter, as a separate undiscovered entity not produced by conventionally understood brain mechanisms, which can independently modulate brain activity 33,35. The identification of a potential biomarker of consciousness doesn’t resolve this conundrum, as an association doesn’t imply causation 36. However, the finding of paradoxical lucidity and heightened reality when brain function is severely disordered, or has ceased raises the need to consider alternatives to the epiphenomenon theory 33,35.

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4246760

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything except the last line is nothing new, but the last line is only new and confirmed if they have a documented transcendent experience with flatline EEG.

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    • Flatline EEG experiences have indeed happened before this isn’t necessarily new. It’s just not mainstream as of yet or accepted by public consensus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As far as I am aware, there is nothing documented in the literature where a person had an NDE with a flat EEG. The thing about these three studies is that you have a potentially clear trail of evidence pointing to a silent brain being associated with NDEs and a brain that is still clinically live, but inactive, not producing NDEs. Bottom line is there is a clear experiment to validate or invalidate the emerging hypothesis COOLAWARE IV…cool people’s brains to 16!

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  23. Stanley Samwise on said:

    Not much to take from this to be honest…I’m an “agnostic materialist” so I wasn’t “expecting” a hit necessarily, but looking at the study, the methodology and recruitment numbers basically guarantees there was never going to be a hit either.

    I’d say the survival theory has taken somewhat of a blow with this one, but then again, still no data has been collected to disprove it either…making this study, in terms of furthering science, a huge letdown.

    Hopefully COOL has something to offer. It’s hard being an NDE enthusiast, we seemed doomed to perpetually be disappointed until we inevitably find out for ourselves :).

    Hope everyone’s well either way. Thanks for the reporting Orson, even when there’s very little to report.

    Liked by 1 person

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