Lucid Dying: Patients Conscious During Death Experience Remember What Happened
By: April Carson
With approximately 567 male and female subjects who had cardiac arrest and received CPR while hospitalized between May 2017 through March 2020 from the United States and UK, this study doesn't paint a pretty picture. Over 90% of those studied didn't recover sufficiently to be discharged-- despite receiving immediate medical treatment.
People who have survived clinically being dead report having very vivid, lucid experiences. These include feelings of leaving their bodies, painlessly watching events unfold and a significant re-evaluation of life. The researchers conducting the study found that these accounts were different from what people experience during hallucinations, delusions or CPR-induced consciousness.
Patients who had out-of-body experiences during their brush with death were more likely to be female, younger and have higher levels of education. They also tended to be more religious or spiritual prior to their cardiac arrest.
Furthermore, the study included tests for brain activity that wasn't outwardly visible. A key discovery was the occurrence of spikes in brain activity, including gamma, delta, theta, alpha and beta waves lasting up to an hour into CPR. Some of these brain waves are typically seen when people are conscious and performing cognitive functions like thinking, retrieving memories, and consciously perceiving their surroundings.
While the findings of this study are certainly interesting, it's important to keep in mind that they are based on a very small sample size. More research will need to be done in order to confirm these findings and to learn more about the phenomenon of Lucid Dying.
The lead study investigator and an intensive care physician, Sam Parnia, PhD, states that the/ "so-called near-death experience," which consists of recalled memories and perks to conscious brain waves may possibly be the first signs of a near-death experience. This study is also notable for being one of NYU Langone Health's largest studies conducted yet. Furthermore, Dr. Parnia holds additional positions such as associate professor in their Department of Medicine as well as director of critical care and resuscitation research for the organization.
According to our findings, people who are on the brink of death or in a coma may still have an inner conscious experience, including awareness without feeling distressed. This suggests that the dying process is not simply a switch from life to death—there may be a period of time in which patients are still conscious but their bodies have begun to shut down.
Parnia's study suggests that the human sense of self and consciousness may not end completely at the time of death, much like other biological body functions. This is supported by measureable electrical signs of lucid and heightened brain activity he observed, as well as reports from people who have recalled their experiences around death.
Parnia argues that "these lucid experiences" should not be chalked up to a dying or diseased brain, but rather are unique human experiences that present themselves when an individual is close to death.
"We know the brain can't function when the heart has stopped beating and yet people have remembered watching their resuscitation from above," said Parnia. "That means it's possible that consciousness continues after clinical death."
Disinhibition is the term for when the brain's natural braking systems are released as it shut down. This gives a person access to their entire consciousness, including memories from throughout their life and thoughts from early childhood to death.
Parnia reveals that this mystery "raises intriguing questions about human consciousness, even at death."
In conclusion, the study authors state that even though studies have not been able to confirm or deny patients’ experiences and claims of awareness surrounding death, these recalled experiences should be researched further without bias.
The findings of the study will be presented at a resuscitation science symposium that is part of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 in Chicago on Nov. 6 by the researchers. Some 25 hospitals in the U.S. and U.K., called AWARE II, participated in the study.
In order to ensure that only reliable data was gathered, this study involving cardiac arrest patients enrolled only those who had been hospitalized. Furthermore, in an effort to better understand the mechanisms behind self-reported memories of death experiences, testimonies from 126 community survivors of cardiac arrests were also included and analyzed.
According to Parnia, more research is needed in order to better define what clinical consciousness entails, as well as the recalled human experience of death. Additionally, he says it's important to monitor the long-term psychological effects that resuscitation after cardiac arrest can have.
"We need more studies like this to understand better what happens when we die," Parnia concludes. "And, importantly, if people do experience conscious awareness during cardiac arrest, are there ways of minimizing any negative psychological impact?"
Lucid dying is a controversial topic with much still unknown about the phenomenon. However, as medical technologies continue to evolve, so too does our understanding of what happens to the human brain during clinical death. With more research, we may one day be able to provide answers to the many questions that surround lucid dying.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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