Are Near Death Experiences real? Or just the mind playing tricks on us?

Yes, a lot of us have heard of them. Probably seen someone on Oprah or some other show talking about a Near-death experience. Maybe some of us have even known someone very close to us that have experienced this sort of event. There is a long standing debate on this issue on whether or not these occurrences are real or just our minds tricking us.

Of course, this reminds me of characters in movies saying, “stay away from the light” when another character is close to dying or facing some dramatic medical trauma. It’s funny when characters in movies remark on this, but I can assure you a real debate is going on as to whether “near-death experiences” are a real-life occurrence.

According to a study published in the journal Resuscitation, patients that have a heart attack and are resuscitated cite having a near-death experience. They describe the event as being an out of body experience. Many of these experiences vary from each but there are some commonalities. Many of the individuals report seeing a white light and meeting deceased loved ones during these events. Many observers claim that this is simply a hallucination and not a real event at all.

Dr. Parnia, who was the lead researcher in the study, wanted to explore what exactly happens during an NDE event. They studied about 2,060 cardiac arrest survivors from various hospitals in the UK, US and Australia.

The survivors that reported a sense of awareness while resuscitation completed another interview. About 9% of these survivors reported mental experiences compatible with NDEs while 46% recalled a wide variety of occurrences that were not consistent with the definition of an NDE. Reports came out that some people had fearful or even violent experiences, and still others reported events occurring before going into cardiac arrest. About 2% of the patients reported being fully aware and saw and hearing events during their resuscitation.

One patient in particular had been cited as remembering events after their heart had stopped working for up to 3 minutes. The duration of this cardiac arrest was important. The researchers cited this as a significant event because it is believed that these experiences were occurring before or after the heart stopped. It is widely accepted that the brain stops functioning within 30 seconds of the heart stopping. The patient described events for up to 3 minutes after their heart had stopped. When the patient awoke, they were able to recall events and described what had occurred during that 3 minute window of when their heart stopped beating.

More studies are needed on this since they were only able to find one particular subject during this study that could recall incidents during the traumatic event in such great detail. I find it very fascinating that this particular patient was able to see and hear things during the time their heart had stopped beating. What does that mean? Certainly you can’t just cast that off as a hallucination because based on what we know this patient’s brain had ceased to function. So what was it then? It’s still hard to say since the study was only able to find one particular subject that had such an event occur. I am still not sure what to make of this study. I just find the subject of Near Death Experiences to be fascinating.

Dr. Shah, MD

 

Sources:

Are near-death experiences real? New study investigates .., http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283650.php.