A philosophical archive for the constructive study of substance dualism: www.newdualism.org.

NDE papers

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  1. C. Agrillo, Near-death experience: Out-of-body and out-of-brain?, Review Of General Psychology, 15 (2011), pp. 1-10.
    During the last decades, several clinical cases have been reported where patients described profound subjective experiences when near-death, a phenomenon called ``near-death experience'' (NDE). Recurring features in the accounts involving bright lights and tunnels have sometimes been interpreted as evidence of a new life after death; however the origin of such experiences is largely unknown, and both biological and psychological interpretations have been suggested. The study of NDEs represents one of the most important topics of cognitive neuroscience. In the present paper the current state of knowledge has been reviewed, with particular regard to the main features of NDE, scientific explanations and the theoretical debate surrounding this phenomenon., (Web, pdf).

  2. E. Alexander, Things I Learned from my Near-Death Experience, (2012), pp. 1-2.

  3. A. J. Ayer, What I Saw When I Was Dead, Unpublished ms, (2009), pp. 1-6.
    My first attack of pneumonia occurred in the United States. I was in hospital for ten days in New York, after which the doctors said that I was well enough to leave. A final X-ray, however, which I underwent on the last morning, revealed that one of my lungs was not yet free from infection. This caused the most sympathetic of my doctors to suggest that it would be good for me to spend a few more days in hospital. I respected his opinion but since I was already dressed and psychologically disposed to put my illness behind me, I decided to take the risk. I spent the next few days in my stepdaughter's apartment, and then made arrangements to fly back to England., (Web, pdf).

  4. S. Betty, The Near Death Experience as Evidence for Life After Death, Philosophy Now, (2012), pp. 1-4.
    From time to time I ask my students how they feel about life after death. A solid majority say they believe in it, in keeping with most Americans (82% in a recent Gallup poll). I then ask them to imagine how they would feel if I could prove it didn't exist. ``But you couldn't,'' some insist. ``I know,'' I say, ``but I want you to imagine I could and did. In other words, you actually feel compelled by logic and evidence to stop believing in it. How would you feel then?'' Quite a few say they would live life differently, that it's the reward or punishment of an afterlife which keeps them from being complete animals. Others admit they would live the same way, ``but without much joy.'' They add, ``I mean, if God doesn't love us enough to keep us in existence beyond one measly life, He doesn't love us enough. Would you let your child be snuffed out forever if you could stop it?'' (Good question!) At this point in the conversation, someone - we'll call him an existentialist (he's almost always a male) - usually says life is all the more meaningful and happy because death snuffs us out forever: ``If life just keeps going on forever and ever, then it's not that special. It's because it's so fragile and brief that it's so precious.'' ``But wouldn't you rather live on after death if given a choice?'' someone usually challenges. ``Not really,'' is often the reply. ``You mean you really don't care whether you're immortal or not?'' This rebuttal is usually met with a complacent shrug of the shoulders., (pdf).

  5. J. J. Braithwaite, D. Samson, I. Apperly, E. Broglia, and J. Hulleman, Cognitive correlates of the spontaneous out-of-body experience (OBE) in the psychologically normal population: Evidence for an increased role of temporal-lobe instability, body-distortion processing, and impairments in own-body transformations, Cortex, 47 (2011), pp. 839-853.
    Recent findings from studies of epileptic patients and schizotypes have suggested that disruptions in multi-sensory integration processes may underlie a predisposition to report out-of-body experiences (OBEs: Blanke et al., 2004; Mohr et al., 2006). It has been argued that these disruptions lead to a breakdown in own-body processing and embodiment. Here we present two studies which provide the first investigation of predisposition to OBEs in the normal population as measured primarily by the recently devised Cardiff anomalous perception scale (CAPS; Bell et al., 2006). The LaunayeSlade Hallucination scale (LSHS) was also employed to provide a measure of general hallucination proneness. In Study 1, 63 University students participated in the study, 17 of whom (26%) claimed to have experienced at least one OBE in their lifetime. OBEers reported significantly more perceptually anomalies (elevated CAPS scores) but these were primarily associated with specific measures of temporal-lobe instability and body-distortion processing. Study 2 demonstrated that OBEers and those scoring high on measures of temporal-lobe instability/body- distortion processing were significantly impaired, relative to controls, at a task requiring mental own-body transformations (OBTs) (Blanke et al., 2005). These results extend the findings from epileptic patient studies to the psychologically normal population and are consistent with there being a disruption in temporal-lobe and body-based processing underlying OBE-type experiences., (Web, pdf).

  6. P. Calvi-Parisetti, 21 Days into the Afterlife, Open Mind, Sept. 2010. (pdf)

  7. C. Q. Choi, Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations, Scientific American, (2011), pp. 1-2.
    Near-death experiences are often thought of as mystical phenomena, but research is now revealing scientific explanations for virtually all of their common features. The details of what happens in near-death experiences are now known widely--a sense of being dead, a feeling that one's "soul" has left the body, a voyage toward a bright light, and a departure to another reality where love and bliss are all-encompassing., (pdf).

  8. E. W. Cook, B. Greyson, and I. Stevenson, Do any near-death experiences provide evidence for the survival of human personality after death? Relevant features and illustrative case reports, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12 (1998), pp. 377-406.
    One of the main reasons that near-death experiences have generated so much interest in recent years among the general public is because they seem to provide evidence that consciousness survives the death of the physical body. It is puzzling, therefore, that most researchers - both those interested in NDEs and those interested in survival research - have neglected to address the question of whether NDEs do provide evidence for survival. We describe three features of NDEs - enhanced mentation, the experience of seeing the physical body from a different position in space, and paranormal perceptions - that we believe might provide convergent evidence supporting the survival hypothesis. We then describe 7 published cases and 7 cases from our own collection that contain all three features. These cases are all - with one possible exception - somewhat deficient with regard to their recording and investigation, but they exemplify the type of case that should be identified earlier and investigated more thoroughly than these have been, and that may then help us decide the extent to which NDEs can contribute to the evidence for survival of consciousness after death., (Web, pdf).

  9. F. Dommeyer, Body, mind, and death, World Futures, 3 (1965), pp. 3-73.
    At the outset, it is useful to say what this monograph is designed to do. It is limited to a scholarly consideration of the problem of discarnate survival after bodily death. "Discarnate survival" means that a human being's "soul," "spirit," or "mind," or some part of it, will continue to exist either quite apart from its former body or any other physical body. As used here, the words "soul," "spirit" and "mind" are synonymous, though the latter term is preferred because it has less association with the supernaturalistic and religious. The human mind does exist; that is an empirical fact. The question is: can the human mind or some elements of it exist without a physical body? This question is pertinent because it is an obvious fact that the human body does not last very long after burial despite embalmment. If the mind is to survive death, it must therefore do so without its former body. To "live on" without its former body entails either one or another of two things: (1) the surviving mind must continue to exist solely as mind, or (2) the surviving mind must enter another body. (Paul's view of a "spiritual body," transmigration or reincarnation., (Web, pdf).

  10. E. Facco and C. Agrillo, Near-death experiences between science and prejudice, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6 (2012), pp. 1-7.
    Science exists to refute dogmas; nevertheless, dogmas may be introduced when undemonstrated scientific axioms lead us to reject facts incompatible with them. Several studies have proposed psychobiological interpretations of near-death experiences (NDEs), claiming that NDEs are a mere byproduct of brain functions gone awry; however, relevant facts incompatible with the ruling physicalist and reductionist stance have been often neglected. The awkward transcendent look of NDEs has deep epistemological implications, which call for: (a) keeping a rigorously neutral position, neither accepting nor refusing anything a priori; and (b) distinguishing facts from speculations and fallacies. Most available psychobiological interpretations remain so far speculations to be demonstrated, while brain disorders and/or drug administration in critical patients yield a well-known delirium in intensive care and anesthesia, the phenomenology of which is different from NDEs. Facts can be only true or false, never paranormal. In this sense, they cannot be refused a priori even when they appear implausible with respect to our current knowledge: any other stance implies the risk of turning knowledge into dogma and the adopted paradigm into a sort of theology., (pdf).

  11. P. Fenwick, Can Near Death Experiences Contribute to the Debate on Consciousness?, Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship Mindfulness in Behavioral Health, (2012), pp. 143-163.
    The near death experiences (NDEs) is an altered state of consciousness, which has stereotyped content and emotional experience. Some features of the experience are trans-cultural and suggest either a similar brain mechanism or access to a transcendent reality. Individual features of the experience point more persuasively to transcendence than to simple limited brain mechanisms. Moreover there are, so far, no reductionist explanations which can account satisfactorily for some of the features of the NDE; the apparent ``sightedness'' in the blind during an NDE, the apparent acquisition after an NDE of psychic and spiritual gifts, together with accounts of healing occurring during an NDE, and the accounts of veridical experience during the resuscitation after a cardiac arrest. Although nonlocal mind would explain many of the NDE features, nonlocality is not yet accepted by mainstream neuroscience so there is a clear explanatory gap between reductionist materialistic explanations and those theories based on a wider understanding of mind suggested by the subjective experience of the NDEr. Only wider theories of mind would be likely candidates to bridge this gap., (Web, pdf).

  12. D. Gibson, Near-death experiences get treatment from a Mormon perspective, The Political Surf, (2013), pp. 1-2.
    I'm fascinated by the pop science/theology behind near-death experiences. I've read the ``Life After Life'' books by Raymond Moody and several similar books. It was interesting to discover a new book, ``Glimpses Beyond Death's Door,'' (here) by Brent L.and Wendy C.Top, from the publisher Covenant Communications, which strictly follows LDS theology and authority. One can assume that ``Glimpses ...'' has been thoroughly vetted by LDS leaders., (Web, pdf).

  13. B. Greyson, Commentary on ''Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of Near-Death Experiences'', Journal of Near-Death Studies.
    Keith Augustine has provided a legitimate and cogent critique of a transcendental interpretation of near-death experiences, exposing weaknesses in the research methodology, paucity of the data, and gaps in the arguments. He offers evidence from psychophysiological and cultural correlates of NDEs that he interprets as favoring a hallucinatory understanding of these phenomena. However, his analysis relies on idiosyncratic definitions of psychological concepts, reads unidirectional causality into bivariate correlations, and underestimates the empirical predictions of the separation hypothesis. Despite less than compelling evidence for the transcendental hypothesis, it accounts for NDE phenomenology better than the materialist model., (Web, pdf).

  14. B. Greyson, The near-death experience scale. Construction, reliability, and validity., The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 171 (1983), pp. 369-375.
    Near-death experiences (NDEs) have been described consistently since antiquity and more rigorously in recent years. Investigation into their mechanisms and effects has been impeded by the lack of quantitative measures of the NDE and its components. From an initial pool of 80 manifestations characteristic of NDEs, a 33-item scaled-response preliminary questionnaire was developed, which was completed by knowledgeable subjects describing their 74 NDEs. Items with significant item-total score correlations that could be grouped into clinically meaningful clusters constituted the final 16-item NDE Scale. The scale was found to have high internal consistency, split-half reliability, and test-retest reliability; was highly correlated with Ring's Weighted Core Experience Index; and differentiated those who unequivocally claimed to have had NDEs from those with qualified or questionable claims. This reliable, valid, and easily administered scale is clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from organic brain syndromes and nonspecific stress responses, and can standardize further research into mechanisms and effects of NDEs., (Web, pdf).

  15. B. Greyson, Near-death encounters with and without near-death experiences: comparative NDE Scale profiles, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 8 (1990), pp. 151-161.
    In a retrospective study contrasting the near-death encounters of 183 persons who reported near-death experiences and 63 persons who re-ported no near-death experience, the two groups did not differ in age, gender, or time elapsed since the near-death encounter. Near-death experiencers reported all 16 items of the NDE Scale significantly more often than did nonexperiencers., (Web, pdf).

  16. B. Greyson, Near-death experiences precipitated by suicide attempt: Lack of influence of psychopathology, religion, and expectations, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 9 (1991), pp. 183-188.
    Near-death experiences (NDEs), transcendental or mystical events experienced on the threshold of death, have been speculated to arise from psychopathology or from pre-existing expectations of the dying process, although such speculations have never been tested. Sixty-one consecutive suicide attempters were interviewed in this empirical study of persons who would be expected to have a high rate of both psychopathology and coming close to death; 16 (26%) reported near-death experiences (NDEs) as a result of the attempt. The group reporting NDEs and the group not reporting NDEs did not differ from each other in any parameters measuring psychopathology, religious background, or expectations of death and dying., (Web, pdf).

  17. B. Greyson, Near-death experiences and the physio-kundalini syndrome, Journal of Religion and Health, 25 (1993), pp. 43-58.
    Near-death experiences (NDEs), transcendental experiences on the threshold of death with profound implications for both patient care and religious belief, have been hypothesized to be related to the awakening of a biological process known in Eastern traditions as kundalini. In a test of this proposed association between kundalini and NDEs, a sample of near-death experiencers acknowledged significantly more symptoms of a physio-kundalini syndrome than did control subjects., (Web, pdf).

  18. B. Greyson, The incidence of near-death experiences, Med Psychiatry, 1 (1998), pp. 92-99.
    (Web, pdf).

  19. B. Greyson, Near-źDeath Experiences And Spirituality, Zygon, 41 (2006), pp. 393-414.
    Some individuals when they come close to death report having experiences that they interpret as spiritual or religious. These so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) often include a sense of separation from the physical body and encounters with religious figures and a mystical or divine presence. They share with mystical experiences a sense of cosmic unity or oneness, transcendence of time and space, deeply felt positive mood, sense of sacredness, noetic quality or intuitive illumination, paradoxicality, ineffability, transiency, and persistent positive aftereffects. Although there is no relationship between NDEs and religious belief prior to the experience, there are strong associations between depth of NDE and religious change after the experience. NDEs often change experiencers' values, decreasing their fear of death and giving their lives new meaning. NDEs lead to a shift from ego-centered to other-centered consciousness, disposition to love unconditionally, heightened empathy, decreased interest in status symbols and material possessions, reduced fear of death, and deepened spiritual consciousness. Many experiencers become more empathic and spiritually oriented and express the beliefs that death is not fearsome, that life continues beyond, that love is more important than material possessions, and that everything happens for a reason. These changes meet the definition of spiritual transformation as ``a dramatic change in religious belief, attitude, and behav- ior that occurs over a relatively short period of time.'' NDEs do not necessarily promote any one particular religious or spiritual tradition over others, but they do foster general spiritual growth both in the experiencers themselves and in human society at large., (Web, pdf).

  20. B. Greyson, Comments on ``Does Paranormal Perception Occur in Near-Death Experiences?'', Journal of Near-Death Studies, 25 (2007), pp. 237-244.
    Keith Augustine's critique of studies of veridical perception in near-death experiences is based on unsubstantiated speculation from the popular media, rather than on supportive data or peer-reviewed literature. Nevertheless, addressing the issues he raises would improve the methodology of near-death research and strengthen the evidential database for veridical perception., (Web, pdf).

  21. B. Greyson, Consistency of near-death experience accounts over two decades: Are reports embellished over time?, Resuscitation, 73 (2007), pp. 407-411.
    im: ``Near-death experiences,'' commonly reported after clinical death and resus- citation, may require intervention and, if reliable, may elucidate altered brain functioning under extreme stress. It has been speculated that accounts of near- death experiences are exaggerated over the years. The objective of this study was to test the reliability over two decades of accounts of near-death experiences. Methods: Seventy-two patients with near-death experience who had completed the NDE scale in the 1980s (63% of the original cohort still alive) completed the scale a second time, without reference to the original scale administration. The primary outcome was differences in NDE scale scores on the two administrations. The sec- ondary outcome was the statistical association between differences in scores and years elapsed between the two administrations. Results: Mean scores did not change significantly on the total NDE scale, its 4 factors, or its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between scores on the two administrations were significant at P < 0.001 for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, and for its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between score changes and time elapsed between the two administrations were not significant for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, or for its 16 items. Conclusion: Contrary to expectation, accounts of near-death experiences, and par- ticularly reports of their positive affect, were not embellished over a period of almost two decades. These data support the reliability of near-death experience accounts., (Web, pdf).

  22. B. Greyson, Near-death experience: clinical implications, Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, 34 (2007), pp. 116-125.
    Background: When some people come close to death, they report a profound experience of transcending the physical world that often leads to spiritual transformation. These ``near-death experiences'' (NDEs) are relevant to clinicians because they lead to changes in beliefs, attitudes, and values; they may be mistaken for psychopathological states, although pro- ducing different sequelae requiring different therapeutic approaches; and because they may enhance our understanding of consciousness. Objectives: This literature review examined the evidences regarding explanations proposed to explain NDEs, including expectation, birth memories, altered blood gases, toxic or metabolic hallucinations, and neurochemical and neuroanatomical models. Methods: The literature on NDEs of the past 30 years was examined comprehensively, including medical, nursing, psychological, and sociological databases. Results: NDEs typically produce positive changes in attitudes, beliefs, and values, but may also lead to interpersonal and intrapsychic problems. These problems have been compared to various mental disorders, but are distinguishable from them. Various therapeutic strategies have been proposed to help experiencers with problematic aftereffects, but have not been tested yet. Conclusions: The mystical consciousness and higher mental activity during NDEs, when the brain is severely impaired, challenge current models of brain/mind interaction and may occasionally lead to more complete models for the understanding of consciousness., (Web, pdf).

  23. B. Greyson, The Mystical Impact of Near-Death Experiences, The Frontiers Of Consciousness, (2007).
    Once regarded as meaningless hallucinations, near-death experiences (NDEs) have become the subject of serious study by medical and various other researchers in recent years. Descriptions of near-death experiences can be found in the folklore and writings of European, Middle Eastern,African, Indian, East Asian, Pacific, and Native American cultures. In 1892, geologist Albert von St. Gallen Heim published a collection of personal NDE testimonies from mountain climbers who had fallen in the Alps (as he himself had), sol- diers wounded in war, workers who had fallen from scaf- folds, and those who had nearly died in drownings and other accidents. NDEs continue to be reported by individuals who were pronounced clinically dead but then were resuscitated, by people who in the course of accidents or illnesses feared that they were near death, and by some who actually died but were able to describe their experiences in their final moments (``deathbed visions'')., (Web, pdf).

  24. B. Greyson, Four Errors Commonly Made by Professional Debunkers, Journal of Near-Death Studies 26 (2008), pp. 231-238.
    In an editorial previously published in this Journal (Grossman, 2002), I coined the term ``fundamaterialist'' to characterize a person whose attitude towards materialism is the same as the fundamentalist's attitude towards his or her religion. In each case, the attitude is one of unwavering certainty towards the chosen ideology. For fundamaterialists, materialism does not appear to be an empirical hypothesis about the real world; it appears to be a given, an article of faith, the central tenet of his web of belief, around which everything else must conform., (pdf).

  25. B. Greyson, Hypercapnia and hypokalemia in near-death experiences, Critical Care, 14 (2010), p. 420.
    Klemenc-Ketis and colleagues' novel report of hypercapnia and hypokalemia associated with near-death experiences (NDEs) [1] was somewhat surprising, as Sabom [2] had previously reported lower than normal carbon dioxide levels measured at the time of a patient's NDE, and Parnia and colleagues, in a prospective study of 63 cardiac arrest survivors, had found no significant association of either potassium or carbon dioxide with NDEs [3]. Klemenc-Ketis and colleagues' conclusion that hypercapnia plays a role in provoking NDEs is one possible interpretation of the correlation they found. It is also plausible that hypercapnia is simply an indicator of another factor that may be linked causally to NDE reports. For example, the authors noted that hypercapnia indicates better cardiac output and perfusion pressure, which would reduce the amnesia that is usually seen in cardiac arrest, so that patients would be more likely to remember what happened during the arrest. The association between NDEs and hypercapnia may thus indicate simply that patients who are able to recall more of their cardiac arrest also report more NDEs. Gliksman and Kellehear reviewed studies showing that levels of carbon dioxide in the blood are not necessarily accurate estimates of levels in the brain [4], which further complicates the interpretation of the current findings. The small sample size of this study, the contradictory evidence from other studies, and the unclear association between levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and in the brain suggest caution in interpreting the findings and suggest the need for further research., (Web, pdf).

  26. B. Greyson, Implications of near-death experiences for a postmaterialist psychology., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2 (2010), pp. 37-45.
    Classical physics, anchored in materialist reductionism, offered adequate descriptions of everyday mechanics but ultimately proved insufficient for describing the mechanics of extremely high speeds or small sizes, and was supplemented nearly a century ago by quantum physics, which includes consciousness in its formulation. Materialist psychology, modeled on the reductionism of classical physics, likewise offered adequate descriptions of everyday mental functioning but ultimately proved insufficient for describing mentation under extreme conditions, such as the continuation of mental function when the brain is inactive or impaired, such as occurs near death. ``Near-death experiences'' include phenomena that challenge materialist reductionism, such as enhanced mentation and memory during cerebral impairment, accurate perceptions from a perspective outside the body, and reported visions of deceased persons, including those not previously known to be deceased. Complex consciousness, including cognition, perception, and memory, under conditions such as cardiac arrest and general anesthesia, when it cannot be associated with normal brain function, require a revised psychology anchored not in 19th-century classical physics but rather in 21st-century quantum physics that includes consciousness in its conceptual formulation., (Web, pdf).

  27. B. Greyson, Seeing Dead People Not Known to Have Died: ``Peak in Darien'' Experiences, Anthropology and Humanism, 35 (2010), pp. 159-171.
    The ubiquitous belief that, after death, our consciousness might persist in some discarnate form is fueled in part by phenomena like near-death experiences (NDEs) and deathbed visions, mystical experiences reported on the threshold of death. Some NDEs, called ``Peak in Darien'' experiences, include visions of deceased people who are not known at the time to be dead. Cases of this kind provide some of the most persuasive evidence for the survival of consciousness after bodily death., (Web, pdf).

  28. B. Greyson, Cosmological implications of near-death experiences, Journal of Cosmology, 14 (2011), pp. 4684-4696.
    "Near-death experiences" include phenomena that challenge materialist reductionism, such as enhanced mentation and memory during cerebral impairment, accurate perceptions from a perspective outside the body, and reported visions of deceased persons, including those not previously known to be deceased. Complex consciousness, including cognition, perception, and memory, under conditions such as cardiac arrest and general anesthesia, when it cannot be associated with normal brain function, requires a revised cosmology anchored not in 19th-century classical physics but rather in 21st-century quantum physics that includes consciousness in its conceptual formulation. Classical physics, anchored in materialist reductionism, offered adequate descriptions of everyday mechanics but ultimately proved insufficient for describing the mechanics of extremely high speeds or small sizes, and was supplemented a century ago by quantum physics. Materialist psychology, modeled on the reductionism of classical physics, likewise offered adequate descriptions of everyday mental functioning but ultimately proved insufficient for describing mentation under extreme conditions, such as the continuation of mental function when the brain is inactive or impaired, such as occurs near death., (Web, pdf).

  29. B. Greyson, Meaningful Coincidences and Near-Death Experiences, Psychiatric Annals, (2011).
    Attribution of meaning to coincidences is problematic because in a sufficiently large population, even low-probability events are likely to happen by chance; exposure to common information sources increases the likelihood of people having similar thoughts; and a person's history, cognitive style, and emotional state strongly influence whether a coincidence is considered meaningful, (Web, pdf).

  30. B. Greyson and N. E. Bush, Distressing near-death experiences., Psychiatry, 55 (1992), pp. 95-110.
    Most reported near-death experiences include profound feelings of peace, joy, and cosmic unity. Less familiar are the reports following close brushes with death of experiences that are partially or entirely unpleasant, frightening, or frankly hellish. While little is known about the antecedents or aftereffects of these distressing experiences, there appear to be three distinct types, involving (1) phenomenology similar to peaceful near-death experiences but interpreted as unpleasant, (2) a sense of nonexistence or eternal void, or (3) graphic hellish landscapes and entities. While the first type may eventually convert to a typical peaceful experience, the relationship of all three types to prototypical near-death experiences merits further study. The effect of the distressing experience in the lives of individuals deserves exploration, as the psychological impact may be profound and long-lasting., (Web, pdf).

  31. B. Greyson and J. M. Holden, Failure to elicit near-death experiences in induced cardiac arrest, Journal of Near-Death ..., (2006).
    Persons reporting near-death experiences (NDEs) sometimes describe a sense of having been out of their bodies and observing their surroundings from a visual perspective outside of and above their bodies. We attempted to study such phenomena during the surgical implantation of automatic implantable cardioverters/defibrillators (ICDs), electrical devices that monitor the patient's heartbeat and automatically detect cardiac arrest and administer an electrical shock to return the heart to normal rhythm. When ICDs are implanted in a patient's chest, cardiac arrest is induced under closely monitored conditions, in order to test the ICD's sensitivity and effectiveness. This study was designed to investigate the accuracy of out-of-body perceptions during NDEs that occur during these induced cardiac arrests. A computer in the operating room displayed quasi-randomly-selected unusual visual targets so that they were visible only from above eye level, from a visual perspective looking down upon the body of the unconscious patient. In a series of 52 induced cardiac arrests, no patient reported having had a near-death experience, and none reported a sense of having left the physical body or observing from an out-of-body visual perspective. This failure to find a single NDE in 52 induced cardiac arrests may have been due to preoperative reassurances that patients would not be in danger of dying, the brief duration of the induced cardiac arrest, or the amnestic effects of pre-anesthetic sedative medication., (Web, pdf).

  32. B. Greyson, J. M. Holden, and P. v. Lommel, `There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences' revisited: comment on Mobbs and Watt, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, (2012), pp. 1-1.
    In a recent article in this journal entitled `There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences', Dean Mobbs and Caroline Watt [1] concluded that `[t]aken together, the scientific evidence suggests that all aspects of the near-death experience have a neurophysiological or psychological basis' (p. 449). We suggest that Mobbs and Watt explained `all aspects' of near-death experiences (NDEs) by ignoring aspects they could not explain and by overlooking a substantial body of empirical research on NDEs., (Web, pdf).

  33. K. L. R. Jansen, Neuroscience and the near-death experience: roles for the NMSA-PCP receptor, the sigma receptor and the endopsychosins, Medical hypotheses, 31 (1990), pp. 25-29.
    The Near-Death Experience (NDE) is a dissociative mental state with characteristic features. These can be reproduced by ketamine which acts at sigma sites and blocks N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) linked phencyclidine (PCP) receptors to reduce ischaemic damage. Endogenous ligands, alpha and beta-endopsychosin, have been detected for these receptors which suggests an explanation for some NDE's: the endopsychosins may be released in abnormal quantity to protect neurons from ischaemic and other excitotoxic damage, and the NDE is a side effect on consciousness with important psychological functions., (pdf).

  34. R. Lange, B. Greyson, and J. Houran, A Rasch scaling validation of a `core'near‚Äźdeath experience, British Journal of Psychology, 95 (2004), pp. 161-177.
    For those with true near-death experiences (NDEs), Greyson's (1983, 1990) NDE Scale satisfactorily fits the Rasch rating scale model, thus yielding a unidimensional measure with interval-level scaling properties. With increasing intensity, NDEs reflect peace, joy and harmony, followed by insight and mystical or religious experiences, while the most intense NDEs involve an awareness of things occurring in a different place or time. The semantics of this variable are invariant across True-NDErs' gender, current age, age at time of NDE, and latency and intensity of the NDE, thus identifying NDEs as `core' experiences whose meaning is unaffected by external variables, regardless of variations in NDEs' intensity. Signficant qualitative and quantitative differences were observed between True-NDErs and other respondent groups, mostly revolving around the differential emphasis on paranormal/mystical/religious experiences vs. standard reactions to threat. The findings further suggest that False-Positive respondents reinterpret other profound psychological states as NDEs. Accordingly, the Rasch validation of the typology proposed by Greyson (1983) also provides new insights into previous research, including the possibility of embellishment over time (as indicated by the finding of positive, as well as negative, latency effects) and the potential roles of religious affiliation and religiosity (as indicated by the qualitative differences surrounding paranormal/mystical/religious issues)., (Web, pdf).

  35. J. Long, The Nine Lines of Evidence, (2012), pp. 1-2.
    Research areas, as presented in the book Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, by Jeffrey Long, MD. These nine lines of evidence support the reality of near-death experiences and their consistent message that there is an afterlife., (pdf).

  36. D. Mobbs, Response to Greyson et al.: there is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16 (2012), p. 446.
    Greyson and colleagues make several arguments [1] against the proposition that near-death experiences (NDEs) can be explained on the basis of currently available neuroscientific and psychological evidence [2]. I must provide several clarifications. First, I remind the reader that our brief Science & Society article set out to examine the core features of NDEs, rather than provide an exhaustive discussion of the literature. Second the goal of our article was to present evidence that the brain can evoke `similar' experiences that are observed under more controlled and less psychologically distressing circumstances - a point explicitly made by others [3,4]. Third, given the overwhelming media coverage and non-scientific literature in favour of paranormal (i.e., beyond scientific investigation) accounts, our goal was to put forward an alternative, scientific account of NDEs. Finally, I must also make it clear that we extensively examined the extant literature and found no convincing evidence (beyond anecdotes or questionnaires) that contradicted explanations based on current neuroscientific evidence., (Web, pdf).

  37. D. Mobbs and C. Watt, There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences: how neuroscience can explain seeing bright lights, meeting the dead, or being convinced you are one of them, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15 (2011), pp. 447-449.
    Approximately 3% of Americans declare to have had a near-death experience [1]. These experiences classically involve the feeling that one's soul has left the body, approaches a bright light and goes to another reality, where love and bliss are all encompassing. Contrary to popular belief, research suggests that there is nothing paranormal about these experiences. Instead, near- death experiences are the manifestation of normal brain function gone awry, during a traumatic, and sometimes harmless, event., (Web, pdf).

  38. T. Murphy, Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories, shaktitechnology.com, (1999), pp. 1-9.
    Several studies (Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86) & Kellehear, 1993) have indicated that the phenomenologies of NDEs is culture- bound. The observation that the Being of Light can appear differently according to a person's expectations of what God will be like (Osis, 1975) supports the notion that a person's religion also plays a role. In this article, we will examine eleven NDEs collected in Thailand. We will argue that the phenomenology of NDEs is not determined by a person's culture, but rather reflects that person's expectations of what death will be like. These expectations are most often, though not always, derived from a person's culture. Culture-bound expectations (whether conscious or unconscious) about death are, in turn, most often, but not always, derived from it's religious traditions. NDE phenomenology is both highly individualized, and at the same time shared by many people. Culture is universal, but so are deviations from it's norms., (Web, pdf).

  39. M. Nahm and B. Greyson, Terminal Lucidity in Patients With Chronic Schizophrenia and Dementia, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 197 (2009), pp. 942-944.
    In this article, we present the results of a literature survey on case reports of the unexpected return of mental clarity and memory shortly before death, which we have called ``terminal lucidity.'' We focus specifically on terminal lucidity in mental disorders, of which we have found 81 case references. Of these, we were able to retrieve 49 case reports, most of which had been recorded before 1849. Thereafter, comparatively few reports of terminal lucidity have been published. Some more recent publications referred to terminal lucidity in patients suffering from schizophrenia and dementia. We draw parallels and distinctions between terminal lucidity and remissions attributable to febrile illness in neurosyphilis. We recommend in-depth studies on the psychopathology and neuropathology involved in terminal lucidity, since they might enable the development of both improved therapies and a better understanding of unresolved aspects of cognition and memory processing., (Web, pdf).

  40. D. S. Oderberg, Survivalism, Corruptionism, and Mereology, European Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, 4 (2012), pp. 1-26.
    Corruptionism is the view that following physical death, the human being ceases to exist (until Resurrection) but their soul persists in the afterlife. Survivalism holds that both the human being and their soul persist in the afterlife, as distinct entities, with the soul constituting the human. Each position has its defenders, most of whom appeal both to metaphysical considerations and to the authority of St Thomas Aquinas. Corruptionists claim that survivalism violates a basic principle of any plausible mereology, while survivalists tend to reject the principle, though without as much detail as one would like. In this paper I examine both the key exegetical issues and the mereological question, arguing (i) that Aquinas cannot be shown to have supported the principle in question, and (ii) that the principle should be rejected on independent grounds. If correct, some key planks in support of survivalism are established, with others to await further examination., (pdf).

  41. J. P. Pandarakalam, Doctors' religious beliefs influence their views on end of life care, British Medical Journal News, (2010), pp. 1-2.
    Medical scientists who are non-religious and espouse a strict biological model of the mind tend to care less for prolonging life is a serious statement. Theoretically this could be true of mental health professionals who are sceptical about post mortem existence while they deal with suicidal behaviour. The age-old belief in human spiritual existence has weakened with the growth reductionist views of mind. Right from the beginning of their medical education, medical professionals are exposed to reductionist models of mind and consequently, the concept of spirituality becomes inappropriate in their thinking. The concept of a Supreme Being becomes irrelevant if there is no life after death. After completing the anatomy dissection and physiology classes, I used to wonder where the soul in all these is. For mainstream scientists to accept survival after physical extinction and spirituality, they have to abandon a neutral position on the fence, metaphorically launching themselves on to the side of the following: a. The possibility of some form of limited communication between discarnate beings and living beings. b. The existence of an imperceptible discarnate dimension. c. The existence of a non-physical component that is in union with brain and body - a non-reductionist model of mind. d, The existence of a Divine Intelligence., (Web, pdf).

  42. J. P. Pandarakalam, A Search for the Truth of Near Death Experiences, (2012), pp. 1-20.
    The existence of so-called Near Death Experiences (NDEs), in which dying people report having mystical sensations before being resuscitated, is now widely accepted by cognitive scientists as a respectable research idea. Over the years, various explanations have been put forward for the positive variety of NDEs. Early investigators attached the importance of the transcendental aspects of this experience but these views were challenged by biological explanations. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the different interpretations from a biological and parapsychological perspective as well as in the light of the newer observations of particle physics. Selective survey of the may also help to form a framework for future research. Features of cluster analysis and a case example are given. Cultural differences are noted. Biological and transcendental interpretations have obvious pitfalls. An intermediate position is advanced here - that the NDE is a combination of individual hallucination and true extra sensory perception. The current models of mind are inadequate to explain NDEs. Study of NDEs is useful for a deeper understanding of mind. NDEs can be better explained if the existence of an extra-cerebral component is conceptualised in association with the brain even though this non-physical aspect is unobservable with the present day instrumentation., (Web, pdf).

  43. A. Paquette, NDE Implications from a Group of Spontaneous Long-Distance Veridical OBEs, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 26 (2012), pp. 791-824.
    The case for veridical out-of-body experiences (OBEs) reported in near-death experiences might be strengthened by accounts of well-documented veridical OBEs not occurring near death. However, such accounts are not easily found in the literature, particularly accounts involving events seen at great distances from the percipient. In this article, I seek to mitigate this paucity of literature using my collection of dream journal OBE cases. Out of 3,395 records contained in the database as of June 15, 2012, 226 had demonstrated veridicality. This group divides into examples of precogni- tion, after-death communications, and OBEs. Of the OBEs, 92 are veridical. The documentation involved is stronger than is normally encountered in spontaneous cases, because it is made prior to confirmation attempts, all confirmations are contemporaneous, and the number of verified records is large relative to the total number of similar cases in the literature. This database shows that NDE-related veridical OBEs share important characteristics of veridical OBEs that are not part of an NDE. Because the OBEs are similar, but the conditions are not, skeptical arguments that depend on specific physical characteristics of the NDE--such as the use of drugs and extreme physical distress--are weakened. Other arguments against purported psi elements found in veridical OBEs are substantially weakened by the cases presented in this article., (pdf).

  44. S. Parnia, D. Waller, R. Yeates, and P. Fenwick, A qualitative and quantitative study of the incidence, features and aetiology of near death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors, Resuscitation, 48 (2001), pp. 149-156.
    Aim: To carry out a prospective study of cardiac arrest survivors to understand the qualitative features as well as incidence, and possible aetiology of near death experiences (NDEs) in this group of patients. Method: All survivors of cardiac arrests during a 1 year period were interviewed within a week of their arrest, regarding memories of their unconscious period. Reported memories were assessed by the Greyson NDE Scale. The postulated role of physiological, psychological and transcendental factors were studied. Physiological parameters such as oxygen status were extracted from the medical notes. Patients' religious convictions were documented in the interviews and hidden targets were used to test the transcendental theories on potential out of body claims. Those with memories were compared to those without memories. Results: 11.1% of 63 survivors reported memories. The majority had NDE features. There appeared to be no differences on all physiological measured parameters apart from partial pressure of oxygen during the arrest which was higher in the NDE group. Conclusions: Memories are rare after resuscitation from cardiac arrest. The majority of those that are reported have features of NDE and are pleasant. The occurrence of NDE during cardiac arrest raises questions about the possible relationship between the mind and the brain. Further large-scale studies are needed to understand the aetiology and true significance of NDE., (pdf).

  45. T. Rivas, is it rational to extrapolate from the Presence of Consciousness during a Flat EEG to Survival of Consciousness After death?, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 29 (2010), pp. 355-361.
    A few months ago, I read your review of Jeffrey Long's important publication, Evidence of the Afterlife, for Noetic Now of the Institute for Noetic Sciences (Holden, 2010). Although you have done an excellent job discussing his book, there is one specific idea about which I probably disagree with you., (pdf).

  46. D. Rousseau, Near-Death Experiences and the Mind-Body Relationship: A Systems-Theoretical Perspective, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 29 (2011), pp. 399-435.
    In this paper I support the view that NDEs provide empirical support for mind-body substance dualism and argue that a systems-theoretical analysis of the evidence is required to obtain valid insights into the nature of the approach, systems phenomena such as property emergence and property mask-capacities of the mind-body system, that ordinary faculties such as emotional faculties such as telepathy, and that NDE evidence favors a naturalistic form of Substance Dualism., (Web, pdf).

  47. D. Rousseau, Physicalism, Christianity and the Near-Death Experience: An essay review of Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences: Brain-state Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality? by Michael Marsh, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 75 (2011), pp. 225-234.
    OBEs and NDEs are important phenomena pertinent to the debates about the mind-body relationship and the survival of consciousness beyond bodily death. The formal study of Near-Death Experiences started only in 1975 with Raymond Moody's ground-breaking book, Life after Life (Moody, 1975), but it has since mushroomed into a huge field of research that is now a subject of active interest in a wide range of disciplines, including Philosophy (e.g. Lund, 2009), Religious Studies (e.g. Fox, 2003), Anthropology (e.g. Shushan, 2009), Anomalistic Psychology (e.g. CardeŮa et al., 2000, chap.10), Parapsychology (e.g. Parker, 2001), Phenomenology (e.g. Murray etal., 2009), Cardiology (Parnia et al., 2001), Neuroscience (Greyson, 2007) and Counselling (Nouri, 2008)., (pdf).

  48. W. J. Serdahely, A. Drenk, and J. Serdahely, What carers need to understand about the near-death experience., Geriatric nursing (New York, NY), 9 (1988), p. 238.
    Helping people talk about their NDEs will add to existing knowledge and increase understanding., (pdf).

  49. Y. F. Tai, Visualizing out-of-body experience in the brain., The New England journal of medicine, 358 (2008), pp. 855-author reply 856.
    The single-subject study design used by De Ridder et al. (Nov. 1 issue)1 makes it difficult to conclude whether the changes seen on positron-emission tomography (PET) were due to out-of-body experiences or simply to the differential effects of stimulation at 3.7 V in 40-Hz burst mode as compared with other modes, a confounder that has not been controlled for. A more robust approach would be to compare this patient with a group of patients with tinnitus, but without the out-of-body experiences, receiving the same stimulation. Furthermore, the short duration of the out-of-body experiences in this patient (average duration, 17 seconds, starting within 1 second after stimulation) means that the experiences had almost disappeared by the time the scans started (10 seconds after stimulation started). Therefore, it is possible that most of the PET changes reported in this study, despite being consistent with the authors' hypothesis, were due to the effects of stimulation alone., (Web, pdf).

  50. P. Van Lommel, R. van Wees, V. Meyers, and I. Elfferich, Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands, The Lancet, 358 (2001), pp. 2039-2045.
    Background Some people report a near-death experience (NDE) after a life-threatening crisis. We aimed to establish the cause of this experience and assess factors that affected its frequency, depth, and content. Methods In a prospective study, we included 344 consecutive cardiac patients who were successfully resuscitated after cardiac arrest in ten Dutch hospitals. We compared demographic, medical, pharmacological, and psychological data between patients who reported NDE and patients who did not (controls) after resuscitation. In a longitudinal study of life changes after NDE, we compared the groups 2 and 8 years later. Findings 62 patients (18%) reported NDE, of whom 41 (12%) described a core experience. Occurrence of the experience was not associated with duration of cardiac arrest or unconsciousness, medication, or fear of death before cardiac arrest. Frequency of NDE was affected by how we defined NDE, the prospective nature of the research in older cardiac patients, age, surviving cardiac arrest in first myocardial infarction, more than one cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during stay in hospital, previous NDE, and memory problems after prolonged CPR. Depth of the experience was affected by sex, surviving CPR outside hospital, and fear before cardiac arrest. Significantly more patients who had an NDE, especially a deep experience, died within 30 days of CPR (p<0∑0001). The process of transformation after NDE took several years, and differed from those of patients who survived cardiac arrest without NDE. Interpretation We do not know why so few cardiac patients report NDE after CPR, although age plays a part. With a purely physiological explanation such as cerebral anoxia for the experience, most patients who have been clinically dead should report one., (pdf).

  51. L. K. Wilkins, T. A. Girard, and J. A. Cheyne, Ketamine as a primary predictor of out-of-body experiences associated with multiple substance use, Consciousness and Cognition, (2011), pp. 1-8.
    Investigation of ``out-of-body experiences'' (OBEs) has implications for understanding both normal bodily-self integration and its vulnerabilities. Beyond reported associations between OBEs and specific brain regions, however, there have been few investigations of neurochemical systems relevant to OBEs. Ketamine, a drug used recreationally to achieve dissociative experiences, provides a real-world paradigm for investigating neurochemical effects. We investigate the strength of the association of OBEs and ketamine use relative to other common drugs of abuse. Self-report data (N = 192) from an online survey indicate that both lifetime frequency of ketamine use and OBEs during ketamine intoxication were more strongly related to the frequency of OBEs and related phenomena than other drugs. Moreover, the apparent effects of other drugs could largely be explained by associated ket- amine use. The present results, consistent with the role of NMDA receptors in OBEs, should encourage future studies of the role of neurochemical systems in OBEs., (Web, pdf).

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