An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Scientists have witnessed brain patterns in dying patients that may correlate to commonly reported “near-death” experiences (NDEs) such as lucid visions, out-of-body sensations, a review of one’s own life, and other “dimensions of reality,” reports a new study. The results offer the first comprehensive evidence that patient recollections and brain waves point to universal elements of NDEs. During an expansive multi-year study led by Sam Parnia, an intensive care doctor and an associate professor in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Health, researchers observed 567 patients in 25 hospitals around the world as they underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) after suffering cardiac arrest, most of which were fatal.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) brain signals captured from dozens of the patients revealed that episodes of heightened consciousness occurred up to an hour after cardiac arrest. Though most of the patients in the study were sadly not resuscitated by CPR, 53 patients were brought back to life. Of the survivors, 11 patients reported a sense of awareness during CPR and six reported a near-death experience. Parnia and his colleagues suggest that the transition from life to death can trigger a state of disinhibition in the brain that “appears to facilitate lucid understanding of new dimensions of reality — including people’s deeper consciousness — all memories, thoughts, intentions and actions towards others from a moral and ethical perspective,” a finding with profound implications for CPR research, end-of-life care, and consciousness, among other fields, according to a new study published in Resuscitation. […]
“One of the things that was unique about this project is that this was the first time ever where scientists had put together a method to examine for signs of lucidity and consciousness in people as they’re being revived by looking for brain markers, or brain signatures of consciousness, using an EEG device as well as a brain oxygen monitor,” Parnia explained. “Most doctors are taught and believe that the brain dies after about five or 10 minutes of oxygen deprivation,” Parnia said. “One of the key points that comes out of this study is that that is actually not true. Although the brain flatlines after the heart stops, and that happens within seconds, it doesn’t mean that it’s permanently damaged and [has] died. It’s just hibernating. What we were able to show is that actually, the brain can respond and restore function again, even after an hour later, which opens up a whole window of opportunity for doctors to start new treatments.” Indeed, the study reports that “near-normal/physiological EEG activity (delta, theta, alpha, beta rhythms) consistent with consciousness and a possible resumption of a network-level of cognitive and neuronal activity emerged up to 35-60 minutes into CPR. This is the first report of biomarkers of consciousness during CA/CPR.”