What is happening to the AWARE II study? That is the question that myself, Peter (who is a bit of an internet sleuth and able to dig up all kinds of valuable tidbits), and I’m sure many others are wondering. Such is the state of angst among those in the NDE community that someone even asked if I was Sam Parnia! Unfortunately, I am not, if I were I would obviously know what is happening with AWARE II.
So why the angst? Any of you who check up on the AWARE II status at the UK research gateway site, will have noticed that the study has disappeared and the link just returns an error code. Other searches, such as clinicaltrials.gov don’t yield any hits at all. This is a relatively recent development, and so what is happening?
There are a number of potential explanations:
- Conspiracy Theorist’s Explanation:
The global elite have suppressed this study as the idea that man is potentially spirit and therefore his destiny should not revolve solely around consumption of junk food, junk TV and disposable everything, challenges the economic model upon which they maintain their elite status.
Trump supporters variation of this: Hilary Clinton, through her network of New World Order chums somehow applied pressure for the study to stop, possibly using James Comey in a double bluff type situation.
- Pessimist’s Explanation:
The study has been shut down for one or more of the following reasons:
- Ran out of money.
- Exceptionally poor recruitment.
- Issues with ethics committees.
- Optimist’s explanation:
They have enough hits (as in confirmed, scientifically validated OBEs) to provide convincing evidence that OBEs and therefore NDEs are a real phenomenon. As I write this, Dr Parnia is straightening his Bow Tie in preparation for a press conference in which he will announce the findings that will change forever the way man looks at himself (at least the sceptics).
- Realist’s explanation:
The study team have taken the study off the UK research portal as they are making some changes to the design, or evaluating whether to continue.
So there is something that Peter dug up which may help inform us a little. The link below is to a series of slide sets that a certain Caitlin O’Neill of Stony Brook hospital in New York state, presented to study teams in the UK (Barts, a couple of other London hospitals, Birmingham and Southampton). In these presentations Caitlan presents the current recruitment status of each site, and opens up a discussion on ideas on how to improve recruitment, such as providing cash incentives to the investigating teams to improve their stats.
Link to presentations
Before I give my thoughts on what this means for the status of the study, there are a few details from the slides that are worth noting.
Firstly, at the time of these presentations the recruitment total stood at about 108 (I only counted once, so may have got it wrong). This explains the need for the talks, they are half way through the study in terms of time and a long way off their target of about 1000 patients.
Secondly, this is not all bad news. It appears that this time they are being much more selective in their inclusion criteria. If the subject spontaneously came around (ROSC) after their Cardiac arrest (CA), they were excluded; if the specialist crash cart with the screens didn’t appear before the patient had been resuscitated, they were excluded. This means that all 108 of those patients who were included had the right equipment and personnel present at the time of their resuscitation. Given that only about 10% of people report having NDEs after dying and coming back, and that of these only about 20% report an OBE, the chances of a hit are quite slim…but not vanishingly so. I would wager that at least one of these patients reported an NDE with an OBE, but did they see the images on the screen…was there scientific validation? All speculation on my part of course.
Thirdly, the issues the team seem to face are mostly resource related, in respect of the fact that staff weren’t around to rush to the event. This is where the offer of further financial incentive presumably comes in…more cash may mean more resources available.
So what does this mean? Well, I don’t think Hilary has had the opportunity to interfere at this stage, but what about the other possible explanations? They clearly haven’t run out of money if they are offering to increase the rewards for recruitment. Clearly there is poor recruitment, but they don’t appear to have given up at this stage (of course it is possible that the feedback at these meetings was so bad, they did decide to walk away). They may have a hit, they may not, but I doubt they have enough at this stage to convince even a soft sceptic, and maybe that is what lies behind this. Maybe they know they are finally on to something and are eager to press on. Of course this may mean that they are making changes, but maybe they aren’t.
These ideas have been running through my head since I learned the study had been removed, and unfortunately the study team are not being very helpful when it comes to responding to emails or calls. In the past Dr Parnia and the study administrator seemed more than happy to help out, but now I get no response to my emails. I have tried phoning a few times, but no one answers…they have gone dark…or they are too busy to talk to the likes of me.
So, given all of this, I remain cautiously optimistic that the study is ongoing. If OBEs are real, then I suspect they may already have a hit from the numbers they have recruited, and it is my hope that this is the case and that the reason for them going all “Secret Squirrel” is that they want to keep their cards close to their chests while they push on to get more hits.
As always, I wish Dr Parnia and his team all the best of luck.