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Large study into near death experiences

18th September 2008

A number of hospitals across the UK are to take part in a major study to examine near-death experiences in cardiac arrest patients.


Some 1,500 people who survived after having no sign of heartbeat or brain activity will be studied to try to establish if they could have had an “out of body experience.”

Some people suggest that during such an experience they see a tunnel or bright light, while others believe they looked down from the ceiling on medical staff.

The research will be carried out by doctors at 25 hospitals in the UK and the US over three years and be co-ordinated by Southampton University.

It will include placing images on special shelves in resuscitation areas which will hold pictures that could only be seen from the ceiling.

Study head Dr Sam Parnia said: "If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity.

"It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded. And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories. This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study."

Dr Parnia works as an intensive care doctor but felt that science had not properly explored the issue of near-death experiences.

UK hospitals involved include Addenbrookes in Cambridge, University Hospital in Birmingham and the Morriston in Swansea as well as nine hospitals in the United States.


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Article Information

Title: Large study into near death experiences
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 8406
Date Added: 18th Sep 2008


BBC News

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