07-29-2010, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
| | AWARE Update from Dr. Parnia
I heard from Dr. Parnia yesterday... gotta say I'm more confused than ever. Forutnatley, Dr. Parnia has agreed to join me for an interview.
Here's some of what he wrote:
On Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM, Parnia S. wrote: |
...I would be very happy to organise a time to speak with you and give you an interview as you had requested.
However, my main point that I would like to raise with you is that you have misinterpreted the AWARE Study. The overall goal of the AWARE Study is to study the processes that take place in the brain and also the cognitive and mental processes in people who have had a cardiac arrest and have therefore by definition died for a period of time. We have now learnt that death is fully reversible and therefore inadvertently through the process of saving lives and trying to bring back to life people who have died, we have come to learn what happens to the mind and brain at this time. As you probably realised from my lecture at Goldsmiths, the evidence is now suggesting that mental and cognitive processes may continue for a period of time after a death has started. This of course makes sense when we understand the process of death better, which is that it is essentially a global stroke of the brain. Therefore like any stroke process one would not expect the entity of mind / consciousness to be lost immediately.
The goal of the study therefore is to determine whether consciousness can indeed continue in people who have had a cardiac arrest and hence gone through the process of death or whether it stops. We know that there are many reports of people who claim to have awareness during this process and therefore the goal of this study is to determine whether awareness continues or not.
in general I am not favourable to the use of the term 'near death experiences' because first of all the patients that we study are not near death, they have actually died and more over it conjures up a lot of imprecise scientific notions, due to the fact that itself is a very imprecise term. As I am sure you are aware there are many different theories for why near death experiences occur, but none of these have been validated through scientific studies. The most famous of these being suggestions such as a lack of oxygen or some sort of brain based chemical or hormonal change. The main issue to realise with this, is that all human experience is triggered by the brain and therefore identifying a chemical within the brain (whatever that may be) will not tell us about the reality or non reality of any experience. This of course also includes near death experience. For example as I am sure you are aware, every human experience such as love, anger, jealousy etc are all mediated by chemical changes within the brain. However, we would not call these experiences hallucinations and in fact would not comment on their reality or non real state based upon identification of areas of the brain or chemicals or receptors that may be involved with the modulation of these experiences. In the same way it is impossible to draw a conclusion that near death experiences are real or not simply by identifying and finding certain areas of the brain that might be involved in it. Unfortunately to this date no such area has been verified and found to be correct. I have no doubt that such areas do exist though. Nevertheless if we do identify these chemicals or areas of the brain we are still left with the question of whether the experiences are real or not...