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Near death experiences could be surge in electrical activity, study finds

Jonathan Marker | Science Recorder | August 14, 2013

Near death experiences could be surge in electrical activity, study finds

About 1 in 5 survivors of cardiac arrest admit to having had a near-death experience while clinically dead, calling the experience “realer than real.”

According to an August 12 news release from the University of Michigan Health System, a recent animal study conducted by university researchers shows that after clinical death has been declared, there is a high level of electrical activity in the brain.  The presence of this activity in the brain may provide a scientific explanation for near-death experiences reported worldwide by cardiac arrest survivors.  As to whether and how the dying brain is capable of creating conscious activity has been a hot-button issue among the scientific community, the UM researchers embarked on a study of the phenomenon using rats.

The study, featured in this week’s PNAS Early Edition, clearly shows that, after death, the rats under examination displayed brain activities associated with conscious perception.   According to Doctor Jimo Borjigin, lead study author and associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology, as well as associate professor of neurology at the UM Medical School, “This study, performed in animals, is the first dealing with what happens to the neurophysiological state of the dying brain.  It will form the foundation for future human studies investigating mental experiences occurring in the dying brain, including seeing light during cardiac arrest.”

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