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15784Out Of Your Mind

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Nov 4, 2007
      Brain stimulation sparks out-of-body experience

      Thu Nov 1, 2007 8:58am EDT
      BOSTON (Reuters) - Electrodes implanted into the
      brain to treat a man with a stubborn case of ringing
      in the ear instead sparked an out-of-body sensation,
      doctors in Belgium reported on Wednesday.

      Stimulating the electrodes made the 63-year-old
      patient feel like he was outside his body twice,
      for 15 and 21 seconds, and allowed the doctors to
      use a PET scanner to track which parts of the brain
      became active during the experience.

      The out-of-body sensation of near-death experiences,
      sometimes reported by people whose hearts have
      stopped for a time, are regarded by some people as
      evidence of an afterlife.

      Most scientists are doubtful, especially when
      epilepsy, migraine headaches, and brain stimulation
      can mimic the sensation.

      A team led by Dirk De Ridder of the Antwerp University
      report in the New England Journal of Medicine that
      they were trying to cure the man of tinnitus in one
      ear when they stumbled onto the phenomenon.

      The treatment did not work. Instead, the electrodes
      made the man feel like he was about 50 centimeters
      (20 inches) behind his body and off to the left.

      Only a certain pattern of stimulation, involving a
      portion of the superior temporal gyrus, located on
      the right side of the brain, produced the sensation.

      Positron emission tomography, or PET scans, showed
      that other parts of the brain became active as a result,
      including the supramarginal gyrus, which processes
      information from the inner ear designed to detect
      head movement and position.

      "Whether these regions are activated in patients
      who report disembodiment as part of a near-death
      experience -- and if so, how -- is a provocative
      but unresolved issue," they wrote.
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