Sunday, September 21, 2008

What happens when we die?

Time interviews Dr. Sam Parnia, one of the world's leading experts on the scientific study of death about his Near Death Experience project. From Time:
What sort of methods will this project use to try and verify people's claims of "near-death" experience?

When your heart stops beating, there is no blood getting to your brain. And so what happens is that within about ten seconds, brain activity ceases —as you would imagine. Yet paradoxically, ten or 20 percent of people who are then brought back to life from that period, which may be a few minutes or over an hour, will report having consciousness. So the key thing here is, are these real, or is it some sort of illusion? So the only way to tell is to have pictures only visible from the ceiling and nowhere else, because they claim they can see everything from the ceiling. So if we then get a series of 200 or 300 people who all were clinically dead, and yet they're able to come back and tell us what we were doing and were able see those pictures, that confirms consciousness really was continuing even though the brain wasn't functioning.

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