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16309Near Death Experiences May Have Biological Explanation, Say Scientists

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Sep 12, 2008
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      For centuries people have been talking
      about near-death experiences, where the
      patient has an out-of-body experience and
      remembers seeing a bright light and feels
      a great sense of peace. We have linked this
      experience with knocking on the doors of
      heaven, to many other spiritual explanations.
      According to a new study, there might be a
      biological explanation for this.

      According to a team of researchers from University
      of Kentucky, while a person is undergoing a
      near death experience the same parts of his/her
      brain are activated as the brain of a person
      who is having a dream. The scientists compared
      110 people, half had never had a near death
      experience, while the other half had.

      They found that the people who had had a near
      death experience had less clearly separated
      boundaries between periods of sleep and wakefulness.
      The near death experience people reported looking
      down at themselves in the operating theatre or
      being bathed in a bright, white light. When a
      person is in a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep
      stage, similar sensations also happen.

      You can read about this study in the journal Neurology.

      The majority of people with near death experiences
      also experience REM while they are awake (called
      REM Instrusion), say the researchers. Less than 25%
      of those who have never had a near death experience
      ever experience REM stage while they are awake.

      REM intrusion may mean you wake up and cannot move
      your limbs, or any part of your body, your muscles
      may feel incredibly weak, or you hear sounds that
      other people cannot hear. It is a paradoxical state
      of being in a dream stage while you are awake.

      The scientists say that near death experiences are
      caused by the same parts of the brain being
      activated as they are during REM.

      The researchers say they cannot rule out a spiritual
      explanation for a near death experience. They say
      that, as scientists, their job is to find out what
      is going on physically. It is not their job to
      find out why.

      Just like dreams can seem really real, so can near
      death experiences, say the researchers.

      Written by: Christian Nordqvist
      Editor: Medical News Today
      Copyright: Medical News Today
      Thanks to Chriatian for permission to republish this article.
      The site it comes from is excellent for medical information: