Research News

Skeptiko interviews two important NDE researchers

Alex TsakirisAlex 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.

Listen to the full interviews here: Melvin Morse and Raymond Moody.

Bioethics Forum: research on NDEs and dying

Bioethics Forum 2012The 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.

Dr. Jan Holden presents The Handbook of NDEs

Dr. Janice HoldenThe Handbook of Near-Death ExperiencesDr. Janice Holden, editor of IANDS' Journal of Near-Death Studies, recently presented an excellent two-hour lecture on The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty years of investigation, of which she is a co-editor. The Handbook is a compilation of the first 30 years of NDE research.

In the lecture, Dr. Holden summarizes the main points of the book. The presentation is given in four parts, roughly 30 minutes each: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Throughout the presentation, Dr. Holden uses an interview with Tricia to illustrate her points. Tricia, a community college English teacher, suffered cardiac arrest during surgery following an automobile accident and experienced an extensive near-death experience, with a veridical element and with numerous aftereffects.

Brain Wars: NDEs help define mind-brain relationship

Dr. Mario BeauregardBrain WarsA new book by neuroscience researcher Mario Beauregard, deals with the relationship of the mind to the brain. Brain Wars: The scientific battle over the existence of the mind and the proof that will change the way we live our lives presents near-death experiences as one of several lines of evidence that "strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity". Dr. Beauregard is associate research professor at the University of Montreal Neuroscience Research Center.

An excerpt on NDEs from the book, titled "Near Death, Explained", appeared recently at Salon.com. A strong critique by PZ Myers, a biologist and skeptic at the University of Minnesota Morris, was later published, to which Dr. Beauregard responded.

Important new research on distressing NDEs

Dancing Past the DarkAn important addition to research on distressing NDEs has just been published by former IANDS President, Nancy Evans Bush. Dancing Past the Dark: Distressing Near-Death Experiences is the first comprehensive exploration of disturbing NDEs and how people interpret them. The book has already received several very positive reviews: "Engagingly written", "A must for any experiencer of a near-death state", "The perfect combination of research, personal narrative, and analysis".

Nanch Evans Bush, MAThe book is packed with solid information and first-person narratives that, although marked by dismaying and even terrifying features, turn out to have something vital to say about life itself. It's now available as an e-book from several vendors. More information here.

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JNDS Editor responds to skeptical NDE paper

Alex Tsakiris Janice HoldenDr. Janice Holden, editor of IANDS' Journal of Near-Death Studies, was recently interviewed by Alex Tsakiris on Skeptiko.com. She commented on a recent paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences by Dean Mobbs and Caroline Watt, "There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences", which concluded in part, "Research suggests that there is nothing paranormal about these experiences. Instead, near-death experiences are the manifestation of normal brain function gone awry."

Holden responded, "The material that’s out there actually supports a different conclusion. To quote my colleague Bruce Greyson, 'If you ignore everything paranormal about NDEs then it’s easy to conclude that there is nothing paranormal about them.'" ... Listen to the full interview here.

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Participate in NDE Research Studies

Near-Death Experience Information and Research is a website for NDErs to participate in ongoing research studies and for researchers to advertise their current research. If you are a near-death experiencer (NDEr), consider participating in one or more of these ongoing research studies.

Cheryl_FracassoThe website was developed and is maintained by Cheryl Fracasso, Ph.D. This website provides a central place for researchers to advertise any NDE research that is currently underway and provides a database of NDErs who wish to participate in future research that can be shared with NDE researchers.

If you believe you have had an NDE and are interested in participating in future research, you can add your information to a participant list to share with NDE researchers. A variety of research studies is currently underway.

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Dalai Lama Receives Handbook of NDEs

Bruce Greyson presents book to Dalai LamaNDE researcher Bruce Greyson was recently invited to speak with the Dalai Lama at a dialogue between Western neuroscientists and Buddhist monks, as part of His Holiness's long-term effort to build a bridge between science and Buddhism. Greyson presented the Dalai Lama with a copy of The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences, which summarizes the first thirty years of research on NDEs; it is edited by Janice Holden, Greyson, and Debbie James. The Director of the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, which preserves and publishes modern editions of ancient Tibetan texts, asked for permission to translate the Handbook into Tibetan, so they could use it in the monastic curriculum for their monks.

Veridical OBE Perceptions in a "Standstill" Operation

Dr. Mario BeauregardNeuroscience researcher Dr. Mario Beauregard and colleagues recently reported a 2008 case of veridical (real, verified) perceptions in a patient undergoing a deep hypothermic cardiocirculatory arrest or "standstill" operation similar to Pam Reynolds' operation in 1991.

The 31-year-old patient J.S. underwent emergency surgical correction of an aortic dissection. She did not see or talk to members of the surgical team. It was not possible for her to see the machines behind the head section of the operating table as she was wheeled into the operating room. J.S. was given general anesthesia and her eyes were taped shut. In an out-of-body experience (OBE) during the operation, J.S. reported feelings of peace and joy and seeing a bright light. From a vantage point above, she reported seeing a nurse passing surgical instruments to the cardiothoracic surgeon and seeing anesthesia and echography machines located behind her head. Beauregard and his colleagues verified that her descriptions were accurate, confirmed by the surgeon who operated on her.

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Update on AWARE Study from UK Hospital

UK hospital in the midst of AWARE project...A recent article indicates the international AWARE study is proceeding towards its targeted conclusion next year.  Dr. Sam Parnia, one of the project originators, mentions interesting results but provides no clues about whether a target has been identified by an out-of-body experiencer.  He said: “The evidence that is interesting to me is that, contrary to my training, the entity we call the human mind and consciousness appears to continue to exist during the early stage of death.” In another recent interview , Dr. Parnia stated that study results will be published in late 2011 or early 2012, at the earliest.

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