Thanks to Z for picking up on the new website for the “Parnia Lab”. The old link to his research projects had become a very bland summary of the medical aspects of his research, and I couldn’t find the new one…Z to the rescue again! Dr Parnia obviously has a lot of clout at NYU to have a lab named after himself before he retires, gets a chair or dies! Fair play to him, he deserves it. He is a true pioneer. It may also be something to do with the research grants his work attracts (that’s how it usually works).
The site is very slick, and well worth a visit. The site’s primary focus is on the important research that his group are conducting in resuscitation medicine, and it is clear that he is establishing himself as world leader in this area due to his focus on prolonging the viability of brain cells during CA so that when patients achieve ROSC, they won’t be impaired.
His discussions of NDEs are little more scientific and somewhat less philosophical in their tone, but nonetheless he does say this:
However, in a true cardiac arrest, when there is no heartbeat, even with CPR there is insufficient blood flow to the brain (around 20 percent) to meet the needs of brain cells. Consequently, seconds after cardiac arrest, brain function ceases as evidenced by brain stem reflexes and electrical activity in the brain. People also immediately lose any visible signs of consciousness and are deemed unconscious by all available clinical assessments.
However, cognitive activity and conscious awareness have been reported by 10 to 20 percent of people from the period of true cardiac arrest. Studies of cardiac arrest survivors’ experiences of awareness during a time when the brain is not functioning support the idea that—as with many other conditions that biologically mimic death, such as deep hypothermic circulatory arrest—even when people lose conscious awareness of the outside world and do not feel pain or discomfort, the entity of the human consciousness and mind may not become immediately annihilated once the heartbeat ceases.
The first paragraph does somewhat contradict the findings that he presented in his own poster presented at AHA last Fall in which it was suggested that they had recorded sufficient brain activity during CPR to potentially support conscious activity. This has been disputed by others here due to the type of brain waves, but the poster is quite explicit in stating this possibility.
He also mentions on the homepage how their new discoveries are providing insights into understanding the nature of consciousness that bridges the gap between science and philosophy (thanks for pointing this out Clay). The tone of this site is definitely more focused on the medical science than consciousness side of things. This can only help further establish his credentials as a serious scientist.
Anyway, it is good that he has own website now, and hopefully we will see more in the way of frequent updates. No doubt Z or someone else will get there first!