First hint of 'life after death'

barbc56

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For the vast majority of people on CPR nobody has an EEG around.
Though I laud Dr. Parnia for researching resuscitation, it seems somewhat contradictory for a scientist to conduct a study that has design flaws such as the one Dr. Edwards mentions. It looks like the study only suggests that consciousness lasts longer than once believed. Am I misreading this?

I'm not sure how you could design a tighter study unless people are recruited because they might end up having
cardiac arrest. But that would bring into consideration ethical as well as moral considerations.

Does this mean we accept studies that are less strigent? This study was started in 2008 so I wouldn't think it wouldn't qualify as a pilot study.

This study bring up lots of questions on so many levels that have nothing to do with the supernatural.

If anyone finds any critiques about this study, please post them. So far, I can't find any but I've just started looking.

Thanks.

Barb
 

Hip

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This is interesting to me because of several "for what it is worth" experiences I had as a teenager. I'll relate one, but there were others where the situation was difference but the experience the same.

I was playing volleyball in a high school gym class. Suddenly I found that my "perception" was many feet above me, in one corner of the ceiling of the gym. I watched myself and the others from this vantage point way above, and could see the top of my head etc. It was like my perception was located in a video camera mounted in a corner of the ceiling. I was amazed to "watch myself" hit the ball and run around the court. This went on for about 5 minutes and then I returned to normal perception.

I had no beliefs about "out of body experiences" at the time. I was just amazed. This same thing happened about 5 times in teenage years. Each time I observed myself "in action" from way above. Another time I was playing soccer.

There was nothing unusual going on for me emotionally or with my health in that period.

Ideas?

Sushi
Have you ever been diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), Sushi? That could certainly explain your out of body experiences.

See this link I posted earlier: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy | Doctor | Patient.co.uk

In the above link it states that one possible symptom of a TLE seizure is seeing your own body from outside.

Epilepsy is generally thought of as a fit in which your body thrashes around or collapses to the ground and loses consciousness. However, many people can have epilepsy with simple partial seizures, in which you don't lose consciousness or thrash around like that, but can nevertheless experience strange mental phenomena, like déjà vu, intense feelings, or altered perceptions of the world.

I used to regularly experience Alice in Wonderland syndrome as a child, and this syndrome can be cause by TLE. Alice in Wonderland syndrome is where you can suddenly feel as if you body has shrunk to tiny proportions, and the room you are in in comparison suddenly looms up to enormous size, with the walls of the room seeming to be 100s of feet tall, in relation to your shrunken down body.

And then the next minute, the reverse may happen, where your body now seems to expand to the size of a giant, and your surrounding environment then seems incredible minute by comparison to your enormous body size. In my case, these perceived body size changes I experienced were both visual, where I would visually see a change of body size, and also tactile at the same time, where my body itself felt this change of size. When my body would grow large, I felt as if I was being inflated like the Michelin man. And when my body would shrink down, I felt as if my body and limbs were becoming as thin as matchsticks. I used to experience this many times a week when I was a child.

I think this Alice in Wonderland syndrome is not dissimilar to the phenomenon you experienced of seeing your own body from outside — both phenomena involve a drastic change in perspective, size and positioning of yourself in relation to your surroundings.
 
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Gijs

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Sorry, but all this stuff quoted above is nonsense. For the vast majority of people on CPR nobody has an EEG around. I have given CPR for fifteen minutes on end with the person moving around and saying things (presumably therefore with some brain activity) despite no heart beat of their own throughout. Nobody leaves someone with a cardiac arrest without CPR just to see if they might have an interesting NDE when they happen to wake up without CPR by magic. So - er - what is actually surprising in these cases please?

I do enjoy all the speculation on PR but all the arguments these cardiac enthusiasts for NDE make would make most of my colleagues burst out laughing - they just don't add up. Wonderful to have people exchanging opinions on half baked scientific (note that science is just the art of explanation, not any particular set of explanations that are right or wrong) ideas but I think if you think about it hard there is no evidence here at all.

And I guess a NDE would have quite strong emotional impact if you had nearly been dead!
Cardiologist Pim van Lommel (publication in The Lancet) has spent years researching NDE and claimed that there is almost immediately no brain activity after cardiac arrest. With all due respect. Your response is one of emotion instead of taking seriously descriptions of patients. This is a typical example of how biased professors react. Anyway rock hard objective science does not exist in the medical profession. You may ask yourself or someone declared dead in fact is really dead. After how long is anyone really dead? How do we measure this? That said, it seems irrational to think that creating the brains without (good) blood flow a clear consciousness. Even CPR does not happen right away. In many cases there is often a time between CPR and cardiac arrest. There are cases described in the study by Pim van Lommel in which patients with NDE describes concrete things that can be. seen only from a certain position above. There are cases in which the brain activity was -for example, at the time of cardiac arrest during an operating- accidentally measured. These patients said to have later had an NDE. How can you explain that someone who lies on his back with closed eyes slightly from above can see? Or someone who is blind during an NDE could see clearly? I think the study from Pim van Lommel, a cardiologist and scientist can not put away based on your arguments. I agree with you that there is no hard evidence. There is also no hard evidence that consciousness is a product of the brains. That is also speculation. I have an open mind. Maybe you can read the book by Pim van Lommel before you judged things as nonsense.
 

Hip

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Cardiologist Pim van Lommel (publication in The Lancet) has spent years researching NDE and claimed that there is almost immediately no brain activity after cardiac arrest.
Claiming something is not the same as offering evidence for it. Does Pim van Lommel have electroencephalograph data specifically showing the lack of brain electrical activity during actual cases of NDEs (preferably for hundreds of patients), which would consitiute evidence; or does he claim a lack of brain electrical activity without any supporting evidence for it? If there is evidence, could you please provide a reference. If there is no evidence, then this claim carries no weight.

There are cases described in the study by Pim van Lommel in which patients with NDE describes concrete things that can be seen only from a certain position above.
Yet Sam Parnia's study failed to provide any evidence of NDE patients being able to see things that can only be seen from a certain position above — and Parnia's study was specifically searching for this.

Does Pim van Lommel have any solid evidence of NDE patients seeing things that can only be seen from a certain position above?

Or someone who is blind during an NDE could see clearly?
Blind people can dream, so if an NDE involves a dream state in the mind, that would explain why they see clearly.
 

Sushi

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Have you ever been diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), Sushi? That could certainly explain your out of body experiences.

In the above link it states that one possible symptom of a TLE seizure is seeing your own body from outside.

Epilepsy is generally thought of as a fit in which your body thrashes around or collapses to the ground and loses consciousness. However, many people can have epilepsy with simple partial seizures, in which you don't lose consciousness or thrash around like that, but can nevertheless experience strange mental phenomena, like déjà vu, intense feelings, or altered perceptions of the world.

I used to regularly experience Alice in Wonderland syndrome as a child, and this syndrome can be cause by TLE. Alice in Wonderland syndrome is where you can suddenly feel as if you body has shrunk to tiny proportions, and the room you are in in comparison suddenly looms up to enormous size, with the walls of the room seeming to be 100s of feet tall, in relation to you shrunken down body.

And then the next minute, the reverse may happen, where your body now seems to expand to the size of a giant, and your surrounding environment then seems incredible minute by comparison to your enormous body size. In my case, these perceived body size changes I experienced were both visual, where I would visually see a change of body size, and also tactile at the same time, where my body itself felt this change of size. When my body would grow large, I felt as if I was being inflated like the Michelin man. And when my body would shrink down, I felt as if my body and limbs were becoming as thin as matchsticks. I used to experience this many times a week when I was a child.

I think this Alice in Wonderland syndrome is not dissimilar to the phenomenon you experienced of seeing your own body from outside — both phenomena involve a drastic change in perspective, size and positioning of yourself in relation to your surroundings.
Very interesting Hip! I have never had that diagnosis but have also had some of the perception distortions that are described. I have never had any type of actual seizure though.

As I child I occasional had the visual sensation (while lying in bed) that the rest of the room was very far away and tiny. I had a couple of the other sensations described also, but they all ended after teen years.

Occasionally I get an aura now, but no migraine. It seems to be associated with a "bad health" moment and interestingly, clears up quickly with the use of Rescue Remedy. If I don't take Rescue Remedy it will persist for hours.

Sushi
 

Lou

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This thread has been completely derailed by the 'pundits'. Of course, by the rules here they have that right, just seems to me they'd have their say and move on to something for which they're actually interested. Perhaps, make their own thread, Debunking NDE's and other such nonsense.

I can see --without the worry of being described and thought as foolish, naïve-- where this discussion could have gone in an entirely different direction. I know, and have known, a number of people who've had this experience. They are warm, generous and genuine individuals whose lives have been transformed by their brush with death, but this experience has such deep meaning for them that I think now I'd be unwilling to tell their remarkable stories and lay them wide open to possible belittlement here.

This is a case where the experience is everything; faith, hope and the other crap is out the window. While I offer no proof to add to what the NDE suggests, I've seen nothing here --easy and simple rebuttals have been given to all the natural arguments (oxygen deprivation, temporal lobe epilepsy, wish fulfillment, and other alternatives ((they keep trying)) -- that disproves the NDE and what it may mean. And no, I don't plan looking up these rebuttals (though I may), they're easily enough found if it's something you wish to know.

It seems to me Shrodinger's cat in the box being simultaneously both dead and alive until the box is opened and then observed by conscious determination to be one or the other has a bit of flair for magic as well. Yet, we who are confident in quantum mechanics readily accept this contradiction of normal understanding. But even if I didn't accept quantum theory I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to tell some physicist how misinformed he is.
 

barbc56

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@Hip

This is also called Lilliputian hallucinations, which you may already know. On wickepedia, it mentions Epstein Barr as a possible cause but if I remember correctly, it needed a citation.so take it for what it's worth. I would like to look into this.

I broke up the following text to make it easier to read.

The conversation also ventured into hallucinations that occur as a result of natural causes–losing one’s sight, hearing or sense of smell, or because of a medical condition such as Parkinson’s or migraines.

The famed neurologist described a patient who had visions of tiny people. “Lilliputian hallucinations,” he says, “are quite common and one wonders whether some of our notion of imps and elves and sprites and little green men may be suggested by this.” An amused Hockenberry asked, “There’s a clinical pattern of little dudes?” “There is,” replied Sacks. “Lilliputian vision has a specific physiological basis but the sort of little people one sees is going to depend on one’s own interest and one’s culture. So, maybe if you’re Irish you’ll see Leprechauns, if you’re Norwegian, you’ll see trolls.
http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/2012/11/oliver_sacks_the_justin_bieber_of_neurologists/

This is an interview with Oliver Sacks about his book Hallucinations which I have mentioned in above posts.

If this is too personal, don't feel you need to answer. You say that medical knowledge at the time was limited to diagnose TLS. Have you since diagnosed with this? Please understand I am asking purely out of curiosity and not saying this didn't happen.

Someone mentioned mini seizures, Petite Mall? These also tend to happen more frequently in children. I have seen this happen with several students and it would have been easily missed if I hadn't known they were diagnosed with this It was somethine,. It was something to consider when seeing students frequently stares, but staring does not necessarily mean a seizure. Petite Mal seizures are also called Absence seizure.

Absence seizure
An absence seizure is the term given to a staring spell. This type of seizure is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Causes
Absence seizure occur most often in people under age 20, usually in children ages 6 to 12
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000696.htm

Barb

@Sushi Note this OOB experience can occur with migrains but doesn't necessarily mean this has happened to you.

My niece has what is called "silent migrain which sounds like an oxymoron.
 
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barbc56

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@Lou

I find this subject fascinating..:D

Even though the title suggests otherwise, since this thread is posted in other research and is talking about a research study, I think it is entirely appropriate to discuss member's perspective on it as well as the meaning of the conclusionn and it's implications.

Barb
 

Hip

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@barbc56
Don't worry, I don't find personal at all, and am happy to discuss these experiences. In fact I feel fortunate to have had experiences of such strange mental phenomena first hand; mental phenomena are fascinating.

I am a bit confused about the definition of Lilliputian hallucinations.

In Wikipedia it says that Lilliputian hallucinations are just another name for Alice in Wonderland syndrome; but from the text you quoted above, it seems Oliver Sacks uses the term Lilliputian hallucinations to mean the hallucinatory experiences of seeing gnomes or elves. As I mentioned in this post, I regularly had very vivid hallucinations of gnomes in my childhood bedroom, almost nightly, as well as having Alice in Wonderland syndrome.


In terms of the cultural conditioning that may have helped my mind fabricate the visual characteristics of these recurring gnome hallucinations, it's hard to see what might have played a role in my environment as a child being brought up in suburban London. Perhaps something I saw on TV. But in any case, the visual appearance of these gnomes was not their most salient feature; their most salient characteristic was the intense consciousness behind their gazes when they were starting at me. As a child, these gnomes appeared to me as highly conscious beings.

I have never seen a ghost, but when I hear what appears to be a genuine ghost experience, there never seems to be any interaction between the ghost and the person viewing it. The ghost just seems to walk through the environment on its own trajectory, quite oblivious to the viewer, as if the ghost is just a a kind of holographic video recording being played back, and not really alive or consciousness aware. Nobody ever reports having a tete a tete with the ghost that appeared in front of them. But these gnome hallucinations I saw seemed very much alive and conscious, and all the focus of their conscious attention was on me. That's what made it so scary: that the gnomes seemed to be specifically there to observe me.

One theory I had is that my gnome hallucinations were just as aberrant version of the normal human conscious self awareness. Our mind has the capacity to consciously observe itself. So my theory is that these highly conscious gnomes were a manifestation of my own normal conscious self awareness, but somehow abnormally projected into a visual hallucination looking back at me.

Apart from these gnome hallucinations and Alice in Wonderland phenomena, I had no major mental abnormalities as child. Certainly I was never involved with or needed any child psychologists or psychiatrists. I only recently became aware of the link between temporal lobe epilepsy and Alice in Wonderland syndrome as a result of a discussion with a online acquaintance of mine who is a doctor and has TLE himself.

It is interesting though that several cultures believe in the existence of, and some individuals in these cultures may actually see, gnome-like creatures. As Oliver Sacks mentions, if you’re Irish you’ll see Leprechauns, if you’re Norwegian, you’ll see trolls. And to add to that: if you’re Icelandic you’ll see huldufolk, and if you’re from the from the Faroe Islands, you’ll also see huldufolk. The consistency of the visual form of these hallucinations from country to country makes me wonder whether the gnome appearance may be a little more than just culturally conditioned, and may be partly hardwired into the brain, as some kind of visual archetype.



Regarding the viral link you mentioned: I have seen one study showing a link between Epstein-Barr and Alice in Wonderland syndrome, and another study showing a link between coxsackievirus B and Alice in Wonderland syndrome.

And the virus HHV-6B has been linked to mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (the HHV-6B virus is found in the brain tissue of TLE patients).
 

Hip

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This thread has been completely derailed by the 'pundits'. Of course, by the rules here they have that right, just seems to me they'd have their say and move on to something for which they're actually interested. Perhaps, make their own thread, Debunking NDE's and other such nonsense.
Lou, don't forget that the Sam Parnia study that this thread refers to failed to provide evidence of a disembodied consciousness in NDEs that is able to view the operating theatre from above. The Parnia study was specifically designed to detect such a disembodied consciousness condition if it occurred during an NDE, but the study found no evidence for this condition. It had a negative result. So really the starting point of this thread is the study's failure to provide any evidence of disembodied consciousnesses in NDEs. It does not mean that there may not be other studies that will continue to look for such evidence.


Regarding the issue of NDEs being caused by seizures in the temporal lobe: even if it were to be shown that this is the case, this would not automatically negate the possibility that some kind of transcendental experience is also taking place. Historically, those with epilepsy have been considered the mystics and visionaries, and I read some epileptics say that during a seizure, they feel the actual presence of God within their mind.

Now, one could look at this in two ways: one could argue that this feeling of a divine presence in the mind during a seizure is just that, a feeling, but nothing more.

Or you could argue that during a seizure, that feeling of a divine presence is due to a the fact that there is genuine manifestation of the transcendental within the mind.

Certainly seizures are a very different state of the brain, compared to normal brain functioning. In a seizure, neurons fire in a highly synchronized manner, as if they are all acting as one; whereas in normal brain functioning, there is no particular global pattern to the way neurons fire.

Now, one might speculate that sometimes under these very unusual seizure conditions, some kind of strange large-scale quantum effects may emerge in the brain, and once you have quantum mechanics involved, you are kind of automatically introducing the transcendental. In the quantum world, for example, time is completely reversible (there's no second law of thermodynamics that forces you to only go forwards in time), so that's already perhaps a step away from our one-way temporal world, and a step in the direction of the timeless eternal. Plus you can have other very strange phenomena like quantum entanglement.

There's no evidence for my quantum mechanical speculations on seizures whatsoever, but it's not inconceivable, and so I mention this to show that even if NDEs are caused by seizures in the temporal lobe, this does not preclude the possibility that there may also be a genuine transcendental dimension to the NDE occurring at the same time.

Indeed, seizure may be the most sacred of all mental states.

However, we will never get to the truth of the matter unless we focus on truth, rather than yield to uncritical belief.
 
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barbc56

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I am a bit confused about the definition of Lilliputian hallucinations.

In Wikipedia it says that Lilliputian hallucinations are just another name for Alice in Wonderland syndrome; but from the text you quoted above, it seems Oliver Sacks uses the term Lilliputian hallucinations to mean the hallucinatory experiences of seeing gnomes or elves. As I mentioned in this post, I regularly had very vivid hallucinations of gnomes in my childhood bedroom, almost nightly, as well as having Alice in Wonderland syndrome
.

It does look like that but it may have been a result of editing. In his book he goes into more detail as it doesn't just involve gnomes.

I'll try and find another source as well as reread the wickepedia article.

This type of hallucination has nothing to do with mental health nor do the other types described in his book.

Barb

ETA Now I'm really off topic. Apologies.
 
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Gijs

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People with NDE don't hallucinate the experience they describes are different. It is true that there are no big sample size studies with EEG but it is also well known in the medical community (premisse) that after cardiac arrest there is no bloodflow and fast no electric impuls in the brain. Some people say that it is wishful thinking of a life after dead - i dont't have that i am only open minded- on the other hand you can also say that people don't want an after dead life because they are scared of the unknown and responsibility in this life. People who have survived a cardiac arrest, often saw a tunnel with light at the end. Some also have crystal clear memories of the operating room while their hearts stopped and the EEG does not record brain activity. Cardiologist Pim van Lommel has spent years researching this near-death experiences.
 

MeSci

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Some people say that it is wishful thinking of a life after dead - i dont't have that i am only open minded- on the other hand you can also say that people don't want an after dead life because they are scared of the unknown and responsibility in this life.
I wish I could believe with some level of certainty in some kind of good life after death. I am certainly not afraid of the possibility.

When one loses a loved one, this longing can be especially powerful.

But I acknowledge that it may be just wishful thinking.

I am interested in arguments - but especially evidence - on both sides.

I would love to see good evidence for life after death, so I am very keen to see some presented.

But so far all I have seen is hypotheses, anecdotes and claims.
 

Lou

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Lou, don't forget that the Sam Parnia study that this thread refers to failed to provide evidence of a disembodied consciousness in NDEs that is able to view the operating theatre from above. The Parnia study was specifically designed to detect such a disembodied consciousness condition if it occurred during an NDE, but the study found no evidence for this condition. It had a negative result. So really the starting point of this thread is the study's failure to provide any evidence of disembodied consciousnesses in NDEs. It does not mean that there may not be other studies that will continue to look for such evidence.


Regarding the issue of NDEs being caused by seizures in the temporal lobe: even if it were to be shown that this is the case, this would not automatically negate the possibility that some kind of transcendental experience is also taking place. Historically, those with epilepsy have been considered the mystics and visionaries, and I read some epileptics say that during a seizure, they feel the actual presence of God within their mind.

Now, one could look at this in two ways: one could argue that this feeling of a divine presence in the mind during a seizure is just that, a feeling, but nothing more.

Or you could argue that during a seizure, that feeling of a divine presence is due to a the fact that there is genuine manifestation of the transcendental within the mind.

Certainly seizures are a very different state of the brain, compared to normal brain functioning. In a seizure, neurons fire in a highly synchronized manner, as if they are all acting as one; whereas in normal brain functioning, there is no particular global pattern to the way neurons fire.

Now, one might speculate that sometimes under these very unusual seizure conditions, some kind of strange large-scale quantum effects may emerge in the brain, and once you have quantum mechanics involved, you are kind of automatically introducing the transcendental. In the quantum world, for example, time is completely reversible (there's no second law of thermodynamics that forces you to only go forwards in time), so that's already perhaps a step away from our one-way temporal world, and a step in the direction of the timeless eternal. Plus you can have other very strange phenomena like quantum entanglement.

There's no evidence for my quantum mechanical speculations on seizures whatsoever, but it's not inconceivable, and so I mention this to show that even if NDEs are caused by seizures in the temporal lobe, this does not preclude the possibility that there may also be a genuine transcendental dimension to the NDE occurring at the same time.

Indeed, seizure may be the most sacred of all mental states.

However, we will never get to the truth of the matter unless we focus on truth, rather than yield to uncritical belief.

Thanks, Hip, for this interesting perspective. Completely agree with your last statement, that search for truth should be the focus on both sides of this phenomenon.

Interestingly, those I've known who've had this experience seem to possess an attitude toward it much like Jung had on another topic, that belief implies some element of doubt for which I have none. But your point is well taken, those who have not had this experience and have an interest should explore it wherever truth may lead.
 
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Gijs

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I wish I could believe with some level of certainty in some kind of good life after death. I am certainly not afraid of the possibility.

When one loses a loved one, this longing can be especially powerful.

But I acknowledge that it may be just wishful thinking.

I am interested in arguments - but especially evidence - on both sides.

I would love to see good evidence for life after death, so I am very keen to see some presented.

But so far all I have seen is hypotheses, anecdotes and claims.
Read this study and see all references: http://www.pimvanlommel.nl/files/publicaties/Near-Death Experience_Consciousness and the Brain.pdf

Hard evidence will never come for life after dead.
 

Hip

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Some also have crystal clear memories of the operating room while their hearts stopped and the EEG does not record brain activity.
@Gijs, even if you write your statement in bold letters, that still does not change the fact that you have very little evidence to back up that statement.

It is always important to ensure sure that any factual-type statements made are actually based on fact. I asked you earlier for evidence to back up your statement about the EEG, but you did not respond to my request. When making a scientific statement, is courteous to provide the supporting evidence when asked for it.

Since you did not provide me with this courtesy, I had a look myself for evidence of there being no EEG during a reported NDE. What I discovered is that the evidence of this is in fact very slim. The only evidence I could find comes just from one single patient, the case of Pam Reynolds's NDE (the Wikipedia article about her case is found here).

However, if you read that Wikipedia article, you see that there is some dispute as to whether Pam's NDE took place during the EEG flatline period. Obviously it is very difficult to determine exactly when an NDE occurs. It might occur during the period when the heart has just stopped, when the the brain does show an EEG; and/or during the period when the heart has just been restarted. According to the link posted by @barbc56 earlier, it can take about 3-4 minutes from the moment the heart stops for all brain activity to stop.

So given that the evidence is so slim, you might want to refrain from making the statement that "EEG does not record brain activity during NDEs", because this statement amounts to misinformation.



These discussions I find enjoyable, and I am not at all against the possibility that some transcendental experiences may occur during cardiac arrest.

However, let's not present something as fact when in actuality the evidence for it is very slim (I am talking about the flatline EEG during NDE).
 
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xrunner

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I wish I could believe with some level of certainty in some kind of good life after death. I am certainly not afraid of the possibility.
@MeSci, Hi
it's not so much a question of "belief". I can't get my head round the fact that people just seem to surrender to the idea of "I believe" vs "I don't believe".
Nobody on this planet will be able to provide evidence that life after death exists otherwise we would all believe in that already. But there's a much simpler way round that.

A good life after death is possible only if there's a God, I mean a God of love. To know whether there's such God, we can't use our limited Homo sapiens v.1 brain. We can only experience God personally. Once we have made that experience we'll know for sure whether life after death exists or not. The experience is freely available to anybody who genuinely wants to find out.
ps: I hope I haven't taken this thread off topic.