Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Researchers find possible explanation for near-death experience - Spiegel Online

After cardiac arrest, the brain activity briefly rises significantly. This finding an animal study contradicts assumptions that the activity of the organ of thought in the process of dying slowly dried up. Instead, the investigation could confirm reports of near-death experiences, feel the survivors of cardiac arrest as particularly real. The report researchers from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the “Proceedings” of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (“PNAS”).

About one in five survivors of cardiac arrest reports of near-death experiences. These occur in various cultures around the world and experiences are often described as extremely lively, clear and unusually real. However, the experts argue about whether it is a conscious perception. Many scientists believe that the brain activity after a cardiac arrest and stop the supply of nutrients and ends no more coordinated processes are possible.

Surprised by near-death activity

But that no longer seems safe. The brain researchers to Jimo Borjigin compared the brain activity of nine rats during wakefulness and under anesthesia after a cardiac arrest. “If the near-death experience comes from brain activity, should be able to identify neural Bewusstseinskorrelate in humans or animals after the end of the blood supply to the brain,” says Borjigin. In neural correlates are states of consciousness that can be read from brain waves.

actually showed all the animals in the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest striking synchronous pattern of gamma brain waves, as if the brain would be extremely alert and stimulated. “The high level of activity surprised us,” says neurosurgeon George Mashour. “Many electrical characteristics of consciousness even exceeded the values ??of the waking state. This suggests that the brain in the early stages of clinical death too well organized electrical activity is capable of.”

“near-death experiences are a biological paradox that will challenge our understanding of the brain and cited as evidence for life after death, and for a human consciousness that is not dependent on the body,” the researchers write. The study now deliver a scientific explanation for such experiences.

brain as idle

“The study shows for the first time probably a brain dump stream of consciousness after cardiac arrest,” says Michael Schroeter of the University Hospital of Cologne. The neurologist believes that the dwindling input from outside the brain could still short drive to hyperactivity. It compares this with a motor which slowly rotates under load and when idling. “Without input from the outside, at idle so the engine turns a little higher,” he says.

lack of input are the brain waves of animals also rhythmic, because they would not be modulated by external stimuli. But this does not prove that the hyperactivity of the brain is the cause of near-death experiences, says the expert. “But it’s the first time an attractive explanation.”


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