Study finds NDE memories are not of imagined events
Research NewsSkeptics have long proposed that NDEs are dream-like memories of events that never happened or are altered memories of real events which are partly or fully imagined. A recently published study from the University of Liège in Belgium compared the memories of NDEs with memories of others who were in coma without an NDE. They found that memories of NDEs are significantly different from coma patients without an NDE. In particular they have significantly more characteristics, like visual details, memory clarity, self-referential information (being involved in the event) and emotional content.
The researchers propose that NDEs can't be considered as imagined events. which have significantly fewer characteristics. NDE events are really perceived but since the events did not occur in reality and likely result from physiological conditions (e.g., neurological dysfunction), the events are actually hallucinatory (see also ULg video). This conclusion is based on assumptions that are inconsistent with other evidence from NDEs. Other interpretations are possible.
Last Updated ( Friday, 01 November 2013 17:33 )
Parnia interviewed on Fresh Air about his book 'Erasing Death'
Dr. Sam Parnia was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air about his new book, Erasing Death: The science that is rewriting the boundaries between life and death, released in February. The book reveals that death is not a moment in time, but rather a process that can be interrupted well after it has begun. Dr. Parnia reveals how some form of "afterlife" may be uniquely ours, as evidenced by the continuation of the human mind and psyche after the brain stops functioning.
In the interview, Parnia relates some initial results of the AWARE study: only about 1 in 1,000 patients has remembered an NDE with an OBE component. A number of OBEs were reported but some occurred with no target images installed and some patients looked at events at a different angle from where the target was installed, but still described accurate details. The researchers are adjusting the study. See also excellent article in The Guardian.
Last Updated ( Monday, 12 August 2013 21:37 )
Alexander debates skeptic Shermer on Larry King Now
Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander debated skeptic Michael Shermer on the Larry King Now show about "Does heaven exist?", along with spiritual activist Marianne Williamson and Rabbi Marvin Hier. Larry King had earlier interviewed Dr. Alexander and later the debate among the four thinkers was recorded.
Shermer's argument was that all experience derives from the brain as we can see from cases of senility and dementia. Alexander's near-death experience can be explained completely by neurological phenomena occurring very quickly as he came out of coma, producing a very powerful dream-like hallucination which Alexander later elaborated with confabulations. Alexander countered that his experience was way too real and rich to be an hallucination and that it is a mistake to assume that all experience occurs through the brain.
Last Updated ( Monday, 05 August 2013 20:06 )
AWARE study preliminary results due in the fall
The AWARE study (AWAreness during REsuscitation) is a multi-hospital clinical study of the brain and consciousness during cardiac arrest, including tests of the validity of perceptions during the out-of-body portion of near-death experiences. The latest status is that more data and larger scale studies will probably be required, and an end to the study is not anticipated in the near future. A report of preliminary results from the first five years of the study is likely this fall, to be presented through a scientific journal or a scientific conference.
In the meantime, Dr. Sam Parnia, Director of the AWARE study, has written a new book, Erasing Death: The science that is rewriting the boundaries between life and death, to be released in February. The book reveals that death is not a moment in time, but rather a process that can be interrupted well after it has begun. Dr. Parnia reveals how some form of "afterlife" may be uniquely ours, as evidenced by the continuation of the human mind and psyche after the brain stops functioning.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 July 2013 22:49 )
Author uses IANDS NDE accounts in her new book
IANDS member Ann Frances Ellis drew on 478 NDE accounts submitted over the years to the IANDS research archives for her book Revelations of Profound Love (also here). When people submit their near- death experience to IANDS, the account can be used by NDE researchers.
Dr. Ellis used the IANDS research archives to write her Ph.D. dissertation and now to publish a book on the profound Love that is revealed in NDEs. She was recently interviewed on Fox News about her book. In 2010, she presented her research at the IANDS Conference in Denver (part1, part2). One reviewer said, "Revelations of Profound Love is a rich book filled with stories of many people who have experienced near-death experiences. When you read story after story of people experiencing profound love, you gain confidence and faith that we don't die when our bodies do."
Last Updated ( Friday, 31 May 2013 22:11 )
Eben Alexander answers skeptics' criticisms
Research NewsIn October,a Newsweek article featured an excerpt from neurosurgeon Eben Alexander's new book, Proof of Heaven. Several skeptics wrote articles critical of Dr. Alexander's Newsweek account, notably neuroscientist Sam Harris. Harris disputes that Alexander's cortex was shut down which allowed the “hyper-real” experience of heaven Alexander reported. While the severity and duration of the meningitis infection, the resulting coma, an enhanced CT scan and neurological examinations all indicate global impairment of the neocortex which would not support consciousness, to Harris these constitute only secondary evidence and consciousness could still have been possible. For Harris, complete brain inactivity can be demonstrated only by brain imaging like fMRI and EEG. It should be noted that while he has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, Harris does not practice neuroscience and is not a clinician.
Alexander responded to these criticisms on Alex Tsakiris' Skeptiko podcast.
Last Updated ( Monday, 05 August 2013 20:08 )
Dancing Past the Dark available in paperback!
Dancing Past the Dark: Distressing Near-Death Experiences by Nancy Evans Bush is available in paperback!
The IANDS Conference bookstore will have copies at a discount, or it can be ordered from the publisher, Parson's Porch Books. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other outlets will have it shortly. IANDS will receive half of the income from this groundbreaking book. Ask your local library to order a copy.
“…absolutely enthralling—literary, adventurous, incisive, informative and smart… one of the strongest, most thought-provoking books on the paranormal I've ever seen.” -- Steve Volk, author of Fringe-ology
“Dancing Past the Dark is what we have all been waiting for… a must for any experiencer of…any type of encounter with the numinous. -- P. M. H. Atwater, LHD, author of Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story
Last Updated ( Sunday, 24 February 2013 23:58 )
$5M Templeton grant for NDE and afterlife research
The John Templeton Foundation has awarded a three-year $5 million grant to University of California Riverside philosopher John Fischer to research aspects of immortality, including near-death experiences and the impact of belief in an afterlife on human behavior, according to a UCR report. The Immortality Project will solicit research proposals from scientists, philosophers and theologians whose work will be reviewed by respected leaders in their fields and published in academic and popular journals. "We have a deep human need to figure out what happens to us after death," said Fischer, principal investigator of the Immortality Project.
"Anecdotal reports of near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences and past lives are plentiful, but it is important to subject these reports to careful analysis," Fischer said.
Last Updated ( Friday, 22 February 2013 01:05 )
Skeptiko interviews two important NDE researchers
Alex Tsakiris recently interviewed two important NDE researchers on his Skeptiko.com podcast, a leading source for the skeptic vs. believer debate on science and spirituality. Dr. Melvin Morse spoke about NDE researchers' attitudes about the NDE: "We studied every survivor of cardiac arrest and virtually every child that we studied told us of some [type of near-death] experience. I’m wondering why we don’t simply accept it? ... Why don’t we just say, 'Oh, okay, that must be what happens when we die.'?”
In a separate interview, Dr. Raymond Moody spoke about his recent memoir, Paranormal: My life in pursuit of the afterlife and his new online course, "A New Way of Thinking", and related the experience of a surgeon who was operating on a man injured in an accident when the room “opened up into another dimension” and he saw and talked with the wife of the man he was working on, who had been killed in the accident.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 01 December 2012 13:56 )
Bioethics Forum: research on NDEs and dying
Research NewsThe 11th annual International Bioethics Forum of the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute in Madison, Wisconsin focused on near-death experiences and the experience of dying. The videos of the talks and panels are available. The first day focused on NDE research:
- Pim van Lommel: Nonlocal Consciousness: Explanatory model for NDE
- Penny Sartori: Research on NDE: An intensive care prospective study
- A Conversation with Eben Alexander, MD - Near Death Experiencer
- Raymond Moody: Shared Death Experiences: Implications
- Eric Weiss: A New Philosophy of Physics, NDEs and Life After Death
- Panel Discussion, Day 1
The full set of videos for the conference is here.
Last Updated ( Monday, 08 October 2012 21:39 )