Saturday, December 4, 2010

Latest NDE scientific research paper


The first scientific article I came across in my search for the latest thinking on NDEs, is dated 2010 and titled "The effect of carbon dioxide on near-death experiences in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors: a prospective observational study," by Zalika Klemenc-Katis; Janko Kersnik and Stefek Grmec. This research paper appeared in BioMed Central's Open Access Journal "Critical Care" 2010 14:R56.


"Introduction: Near-death experiences (NDEs) are reported by 11-23% of cardiac arrest survivors. Several theories concerning the mechanisms of NDEs exist-including physical, psychological and transcendental reasons-but so far none of these has satisfactorily explained this phenomenon. In this study, we investigated the effect of partial pressures of 02 and C02 and serum levels of Na and K on the occurrence of NDEs in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors.

Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted in the three largest hospitals in Slovenia. Fifty-two consecutive patients (median age 53.1, 42 males) after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest were included. The presence of NDEs was assessed with a self-administered Greyson's NDE scale. The initial partial pressure of end-tidal CO2, the arterial blood partial pressures of O2 and CO2 and the levels of Na and K in venous blood were analysed and studied. Univariate analyses and multiple regression models were used.

Results: NDEs were reported by 11 (21.9%) of the patients. Patients with higher initial partial pressures of end-tidal CO2 had significantly more NDEs (less than 0.01). Patients with higher arterial blood partial pressures of CO2 had significantly more NDEs (P=0.041). Scores on a NDE scale were positively correlated with partial pressures of CO2(P=0.017) and with serum levels of potassium (P=0.026.) The logistic regression model for the presence of NDEs (P=0.002) explained 46% of the variance and revealed higher partial pressures of CO2 to be an independent predictor of NDEs. The linear progression model for a higher score on the NDE scale (P=0.001) explained 34% of the variance and revealed higher partial pressures of CO2, higher serum levels of K and previous NDEs as independent predictors of the NDE score.

Conclusions: Higher concentrations of CO2 proved significant, and higher serum levels of K might be important in the provoking of NDEs. Since these associations have not been reported before, our study adds novel information to the field of NDEs phenomena."

The full article:

After reading the full article, I have noted the following additional points of interest:

1. "It is still not clear whether NDEs occur before, during or after the period of cardiac arrest...Our findings concerning the association between initial petCO2 and the occurrence of NDEs therefore supports the hypothesis that NDEs occur during the cardiac arrest... on the other hand, the association between higher pCO2 upon admission and the occurrence of NDEs might suggest that NDEs occur after the cardiac arrest..."

2. " is known that CO2 changes the acid-base equilibrium in the brain, which can provoke unusual experiences in the form of bright light, visions and out-of-body or even mystical experiences. Some earlier studies have shown that inhaled CO2, used as a psycho therapeutic agent could cause NDE-like experiences. Therefore, we can conclude that CO2 might be one of the major factors for provoking NDEs, regardless of when NDEs occur..."

3. "Previous prospective studies on NDEs reported an 11 to 23% incidence between cardiac arrest survivors, which is consistent with the incidence found in our study...Previous studies have shown that NDEs more often occur in patients younger than 60 years of age..."

My comments:

I find the subject of NDEs as interesting and as challenging, as UFO abduction research. In the instance of an NDE we have a person who recalls a vivid experience; the content op which is often a trip down a "tunnel" to a place where they meet other entities, and then return. In a UFO abduction, a person is removed to an unearthly environment, interacts with other entities and is then returned.

I have interviewed experiencers of both NDEs and UFO abductions (one or the other, although sometimes there has been an incredible account which could be either) and can say that their recollections are both vivid, "real as real", told with appropriate emotion and real events to them.

In the NDE event we can be fairly certain where the experiencer was at the time of the event; that is, their body was physically present here on Earth, often in sight of another person.

In the case of a UFO abduction, most often there is no external witness present to say whether or not the individual was physically removed. There are cases where there are said to be external witnesses, who saw the UFO and abductee "in transit" but theses are few and far between.

In summary:

I feel that much could be learnt by UFO researchers from a study of both NDEs and UFO abductions.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Near-death experiences


Another fascinating area of research is the near-death experience. Back in the 1980's colleague Garry Little of Melbourne, and I were two of the first Australian researchers to take a look at this subject in this country. We advertised in the media for people who had undergone an NDE; interviewed some 30 or so people and documented their accounts. We then published the material we had found, for peer review, debate and discussion. (See here for example.)

There were even cross-overs to the field of UFO abductions. An example of this was the article by Stuart W Twemlow titled "Misidentified Flying Objects? An Integrated Psychodynamic Perspective on Near-Death Experiences and UFO Abductions" which appeared in the Journal of Near-Death Studies Volume 12 Number 4, in 1994. (Click here for citation.)

Following my look at recent scientific research into the out of body experience, I thought I would take a look at what has been published recently on NDEs.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Research on OBEs

I only recently came across an issue of the "New Scientist" magazine number 2729, dated 10 Oct 2009 pp34-36, which carried an article by Anil Ananthaswamy titled "The mind unshackled."
The article is a review of current scientific theory on the out-of-body experience.

"So what exactly is an out-of-body experience? A definition has recently emerged that involves a set of increasingly bizarre perceptions. The least severe of these is a doppelganger experience: you sense the presence or see a person you know to be yourself, though you remain rooted in your own body. This often progresses to stage 2, where your sense of self moves back and forth between your real body and your doppelganger...Finally, your self leaves your body altogether and observes it from outside..."

In 2002, Olaf Blanke performed surgery on a woman with severe epilepsy, and while stimulating the temporoparietal junction (TPI) , found that she experienced an OBE. "The TPI processs visual and touch signals, balance and spatial information from the inner ear, and the proprioceptive sensations from joints, tendons and muscles that tell us where our body parts are in relation to one another. " Your sense of self.

In 2007, Dirk de Ridder implanted electrodes near a patient's TPI in an attempt to cure the patient's tinnitus. The patient experienced something close to an OBE. "...he would feel his self shift about 50 centimetres behind and to the left of his body..." A PET scan was able to be taken and showed that the TPI was "...activated during the experiences."

My comment:

This is very interesting research and implies that in some medical conditions, an OBE may be generated by itself, with no external stimulation. I look forward to reading further research findings along these lines.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another blog

I have teamed up with Pauline Wilson, also from Adelaide, South Australia, to cover the topic of UFOs on the blog

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fantasy proneness

One of the topics which I was interested in as far back as the late nineteen eighties, was the subject of the fantasy-prone personality and how it might possibly assist to explain UFO abductions.

Robert Bartholomew and I were the first people to suggest that it would be worthwhile to test abductees using a fantasy-prone scale. Several people did just this, and it appeared that the finding was that abductees were no more fantasy-prone than control subjects. I remember attending the Boston, Mass. abduction conference in 1992 and discussing the fantasy-prone hypothesis, and concluding that it did not explain abductions.

I was therefore surprised to find that people were still examining the idea, in the last few years. I came across an item in a recent Fortean Times magazine (click here for the full text.) I then conducted an Internet search for other articles and came across seven such studies. I posted a comment to the FT article which may be read (click here and scroll down for my comments) on the FT website.

I'd appreciate hearing of any other studies which you may be aware of.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Astral experience

I recently came across a letter in "New Scientist" dated 11 April 2009 which relates to earlier posts about displaced sense of self.

The letter was from Eric L Altschuler, University Hospital, Newark and Vilayanor Ramachandran, Brain and Perception Laboratory, University of California, San Diago.

It reads:

"We read your two part series on out-of-body experience with interest (14 March p33 and 21 Mar p36). We were surprised that you did not mention our method, which uses two mirrors to create within seconds the experience of standing outside oneself. (Perception Vol 36 p632.)
This 2007 paper was the first to report a method to perceive being outside of one's body."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Remote viewing

Following my reading of Paul H Smith's book on the US Government's "Stargate" remote viewing program, I recently ran into a person here in Adelaide who been part of a remote viewing group. I hope to have an opportunity shortly to speak with them about their past activities.