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Key Facts About Near-Death Experiences

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      KEY FACTS ABOUT NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
      International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS)
      Last Updated Saturday, April 11, 2009

      http://www.iands.org/nde_index/ndes/key_facts_about_near-death_experiences.h
      tml

      DEFINITION OF AN NDE

      A near-death experience (NDE) is a profound psychological event that may
      occur to a person close to death or, if not near death, in a situation of
      physical or emotional crisis. Because it includes transcendental and
      mystical elements, an NDE is a powerful event of consciousness; it is not
      mental illness.

      Whether happening "truly near death" or under benign circumstances, the
      near-death experience contains powerful images and emotions, usually of
      peace and love though sometimes terror, despair, guilt. An NDE may include
      an out-of-body experience and vivid perceptions of movement, light,
      darkness; encounters with deceased loved ones, unfamiliar entities and/or
      spiritual presences; sometimes a life review, a landscape, a sense of
      overpowering knowledge and purpose. The aftereffects of an NDE or related
      experience are enduring, often powerful, and may be life-altering.

      The NDE belongs to a larger family of experiences that go beyond the usual
      limits of space and time and can transform a person's life and beliefs. They
      may be called spiritually transformative, conversion, mystical, religious,
      or transpersonal experiences.

      One-fourth of the 800 people who have submitted an account of their
      experience to the IANDS online NDE archives reported they were not close to
      death or clinically dead at the time. Instead, they were in emotionally
      intense situations, praying or meditating, sleeping, or in ordinary states
      of consciousness when this phenomenon occurred. IANDS refers to these as
      "near-death-like experiences" or NDLEs. Seventy-five percent of those who
      sent their accounts had a sense of being close to death, were in a
      life-threatening situation, or believed they were clinically dead.


      FEATURES IN THE NDE

      More than 15 common characteristics of an NDE have been reported by
      near-death experiencers. An NDE may include only one or two of these
      elements, and, in a few cases, all of them. These include: a sense of being
      outside one's physical body, sometimes perceiving it from an outside
      position; a sense of movement through darkness or a tunnel; intense
      emotions; heightened perceptions; experiencing a great light or darkness;
      perceiving a spiritual realm, which may include vividly memorable
      landscapes; encounters with deceased loved ones, spiritual beings and/or
      religious figures; knowledge of the nature of the universe; a life review; a
      sense of oneness and interconnectedness; a border of no return; a sense of
      having knowledge of the future; messages regarding life's purpose.

      * No two experiences are identical and no single feature is found in every
      NDE.

      * The most commonly reported type of NDE involves intense feelings of peace,
      joy and love, often an encounter with an unconditionally loving light.

      * Harrowing experiences are sometimes reported involving similar common
      elements but with opposite emotional states -- extreme fear, isolation,
      non-being, confusion, occasional torment or guilt. Two substantial studies
      have reported the percentage of these NDEs as 17% and 18%, although smaller
      studies have found as many as 30%; two online NDE sites report incidences of
      8.6% and 15%.


      A LITTLE NDE HISTORY

      * The earliest known description of a near-death experience was recounted by
      Plato in his "Myth of Er," found at the end of Book X of The Republic, which
      was written c. 420 B.C. Accounts can be found in the folklore and writings
      of European, Middle Eastern, African, East Indian, East Asian, Pacific and
      Native American cultures.

      * The term "near-death experience" was coined by Dr. Raymond Moody in his
      book Life After Life in 1975.

      * The International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) was formed in
      1981 by a group of researchers subsequent to the outpouring of requests for
      more information about NDEs.


      PREVALENCE OF NDES

      * Surveys taken in the US, Australia and Germany suggest that 4 to 15 % of
      the population have had NDEs.

      * Every day in the U.S., 774 NDEs occur, according to the Near-Death
      Experience Research Foundation (NDERF).

      * Of more than 800 near-death experiencers (NDErs) reporting to IANDS, 25%
      believed they were clinically dead at the time of their NDE.

      * A large study conducted in the Netherlands showed that 18% of people who
      suffered a cardiac arrest and were clinically dead had later reported an
      NDE.


      CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISONS

      Non-Western near-death research has been conducted in China, India,
      Thailand, Tibet, and in several native cultures in Australia, Chile, Guam,
      the continental U.S., New Zealand, and Hawaii. Similarities to Western NDEs
      are the belief that this is the afterlife, a profound sense of peace, being
      in an otherworldly realm, meeting deceased relatives, meeting spiritual or
      religious figures (usually in keeping with one's cultural background) and to
      a lesser extent experiencing some type of life review. The tunnel sensation
      was rarely reported in non-Western cultures.


      VERIDICAL NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

      Veridical near-death experiences are NDEs in which people reportedly
      out-of-body have observed events or gathered information that was verified
      by others upon the experiencer's return to a conscious state. These are a
      few famous cases of anecdotal veridical evidence:


      THE CASE OF PAM REYNOLDS

      In order to remove a life threatening aneurysm deep in her brain, Pam
      Reynolds underwent a rare surgical procedure called "Operation Standstill"
      in which the blood is drained from the body like oil from a car, stopping
      all brain, heart and organ activity. The body temperature is lowered to 60
      degrees. While fully anesthesized, with sound-emitting earplugs, Pam's
      ordeal began. Dr. Spetzler, the surgeon, was sawing into her skull when Pam
      suddenly heard the saw and began to observe the surgical procedure from a
      vantage point over his shoulder. She also heard what the nurses said to the
      doctors. Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately
      describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made
      by the nurses.


      A REPORT FROM A DUTCH NURSE

      "During night shift an ambulance brings in a 44-year old cyanotic, comatose
      man into the coronary care unitŠ When we go to intubate the patient, he
      turns out to have dentures in his mouth. I remove these upper dentures and
      put them onto the 'crash cart.' [..] Only after more than a week do I meet
      again with the patient, who is by now back on the cardiac ward. The moment
      he sees me he says: 'O, that nurse knows where my dentures are.' I am very
      surprised. Then he elucidates: 'You were there when I was brought into
      hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that
      cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer
      underneath, and there you put my teeth.'."


      MARIA'S SHOE

      Kimberly Clark Sharp (1995) was a social worker in Harborview Hospital in
      Seattle when Maria was brought in unconscious from cardiac arrest. Sharp
      visited her the following day in a hospital room, at which point Maria
      described leaving her body and floating above the hospital. Desperate to
      prove that she had in fact left her body and was not crazy, she described
      seeing a worn dark blue tennis shoe on the ledge outside a window on the far
      side of the hospital. Not believing her but wanting to help, Sharp checked
      the ledge by pressing her face against the sealed windows and found a shoe
      that perfectly matched the details Maria had related.


      VISUAL PERCEPTION IN THE BLIND

      Dr. Kenneth Ring describes 21 cases of visual perception in the blind during
      their near-death experiences in his book Mindsight: Near-Death and
      Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind.


      CORRELATIONS

      * No significant correlation has been found between religious beliefs and
      the likelihood or depth of the near-death experience.

      * No significant correlation has been found between age, race, sexual
      orientation, economic status and the likelihood, content or depth of the
      near-death experience.

      * No correlation between the life history, beliefs, behavior or attitudes of
      a person and the likelihood of having a radiant or harrowing NDE has been
      established.

      * There is no evidence of a correlation between the means of coming close to
      death, including suicide, and the likelihood of having a harrowing NDE.


      EXPLANATIONS FOR THE NDE

      "No one physiological or psychological model by itself explains all the
      common features of NDE. The paradoxical occurrence of heightened, lucid
      awareness and logical thought processes during a period of impaired cerebral
      perfusion raises particular perplexing questions for our current
      understanding of consciousness and its relation to brain function. A clear
      sensorium and complex perceptual processes during a period of apparent
      clinical death challenge the concept that consciousness is localized
      exclusively in the brain."


      AREN'T NDES HALLUCINATIONS?

      No. Hallucinations are usually illogical, fleeting, bizarre, and/or
      distorted, whereas the vast majority of NDEs are logical, orderly, clear,
      and comprehensible. People tend to forget their hallucinations, whereas most
      NDEs remain vivid for decades. Furthermore, NDEs often lead to profound and
      permanent transformations in personality, attitudes, beliefs and values,
      something that is never seen following hallucinations. People looking back
      on hallucinations typically recognize them as unreal, as fantasies, whereas,
      people often describe their NDEs as "more real than real." Further, people
      who have experienced both hallucinations and an NDE describe them as being
      quite different.


      AREN'T NDES THE RESULT OF ANOXIA (LACK OF OXYGEN) IN A DYING BRAIN?

      No. Physicians have compared oxygen levels of cardiac arrest survivors who
      did and did not have NDEs and their findings discredit the anoxia
      hypothesis. In fact, in one study, the NDErs had higher oxygen levels than
      non-NDErs. People report near-death experiences from many situations when
      their brains are healthy -- during childbirth, in accidents, in falls.
      People also report classical near-death-like experiences that have occurred
      during conversations or while holding a dying loved one. In those cases
      where anoxia is involved and monitored, such as in cardiac arrest, the
      effects are disorientation and poor memory. The opposite is true for those
      patients who report near-death experiences following their cardiac arrest.


      HAVEN'T LOCATIONS IN THE BRAIN BEEN FOUND TO PRODUCE AN NDE?

      The right temporal lobe, the left temporal lobe, the frontal lobe attention
      area, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the amygdala and the hippocampus each
      have been suggested by different neuroscientists as linked to the near-death
      experience. Although different parts of the brain may be involved at some
      point before, during, or following some NDEs, there is no empirical evidence
      that any one of these, or a combination of them, manufacture the NDE. Every
      perception we have will be associated with activity in a specific part of
      the brain, but that doesn't mean the activity caused the experience. For
      example, as you read these words, there is increased electrical activity in
      your occipital lobe, but we don't conclude that these words are a
      hallucination caused by that brain activity. A Swiss neuroscientist, Olaf
      Blanke, claimed that stimulation of the right angular gyrus can trigger
      out-of-body experiences (OBEs). However, the stimulated experience involved
      only one patient. That patient's experience was fragmentary, distorted and
      illusory, substantially different from OBEs occurring during NDEs.


      HAVEN'T CERTAIN DRUGS BEEN SHOWN TO PRODUCE AN NDE?

      Ketamine and psilocybin are two drugs that have reportedly triggered
      mystical experiences that appear to be different than hallucinations and
      have similar elements to NDEs. Karl Jansen, who has written more than anyone
      else on NDE-like ketamine experiences, says the following.

      "After 12 years of studying ketamine, I now believe that there most
      definitely is a soul that is independent of experience. It exists when we
      begin, and may persist when we end. Ketamine is a door to a place we cannot
      normally get to; it is definitely not evidence that such a place does not
      exist."

      NDEs are quantified by using Greyson's NDE Scale and Ring's Weighted Core
      Experience Index. No such NDE measures are known to have been taken by the
      subjects involved in drug-related experiments in order to make a valid
      comparison. Scientists in the new field of neurotheology are researching
      psilocybin and its mystic state-inducing capabilities for its possible
      therapeutic effectiveness.


      CAN AN NDE BE INDUCED THROUGH MEDITATION, SHAMANIC DRUMMING, YOGA OR OTHER
      SPIRITUAL PRACTICES?

      Near-death experiences occur by definition "near-death," although as
      mentioned earlier, NDEs belong to a larger family of mystical or
      transpersonal experiences that transcend the usual limits of space and/or
      time and have the potential to be spiritually transformative. Practices such
      as meditation, shamanic drumming and yoga can trigger a variety of mystical
      experiences that appear identical to NDEs even though the experiencer is not
      physically close to death.


      ATTITUDINAL CHANGES AND AFTEREFFECTS:

      "There is one common element in all near-death experiences: they transform
      the people who have them. In my twenty years of intense exposure to NDErs, I
      have yet to find one who hasn't had a very deep and positive transformation
      as a result of his experience." -- Raymond. A. Moody, M.D.40

      * In several studies, nearly all near-death experiencers report a strong
      decrease or complete loss of the fear of death as the result of their NDEs.

      * At least 98% of surveyed NDErs now believe that there is life after death.

      * NDErs, including suicide attempters do not generally attempt to take their
      lives again.

      * Spiritual growth, a loving attitude, knowing a Higher Power/God, inner
      peace and a sense of purpose in life characterize the changes most
      meaningful to NDErs.

      * Over 80% of surveyed NDErs expressed a strong increase in their concern
      for others and that life has meaning or purpose.

      * Among surveyed NDErs, 55 - 89% of report an increase in psychic phenomena
      or healing abilities following their NDEs.


      CHALLENGES FACED BY THOSE WHO HAD AN NDE:

      "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences." --
      Thomas, W.I and Thomas, D.S.60


      NDERS FACE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES FOLLOWING AN NDE.

      * In one study, 65 % of NDErs' marriages result in divorce as opposed to 40
      to 50% in the general population. Major changes in values, careers (75%) and
      religious views contribute to stress in an NDEr's relationships.

      * NDErs, especially those who have suffered a distressing or frightening
      experience, can suffer from feelings of alienation and depression. They
      often avoid disclosing their experience, not wanting to risk ridicule,
      judgment and lack of understanding in others. Evidence suggests that
      non-disclosure of significant personal experiences increases physical and
      psychological stress. This stress adds to the physical and emotional
      challenges caused by events that originally led to the near-death experience
      itself. The degree to which NDErs suffer from depression or suicidal
      ideation linked to their NDEs is under study by IANDS.


      IANDS EDUCATIONAL VENUES:

      * IANDS has now grown to include over 50 local groups throughout the world.
      IANDS hosts international conferences, conducts workshops and retreats, and
      produces educational materials and a quarterly peer-reviewed journal and
      newsletter on the topic of near-death experiences. Workshops have been
      developed for healthcare providers, for near-death experiencers and for the
      general public.


      FUTURE RESEARCH:

      * IANDS has identified several priorities for future research. Those include
      larger studies of NDEs in non-Western cultures and formal needs assessments
      of NDErs, especially among combat NDErs, children and adults who have
      experienced harrowing NDEs. IANDS is also investigating suitable application
      of NDEs for suicide prevention, as well as for reduction of grief and fear
      of death, while continuing its quest to understand the causes, nature and
      implication of the near-death experience.


      REFERENCES:

      http://www.iands.org/nde_index/ndes/key_facts_about_near-death_experiences_7
      .html

      ............

      NHNE Near-Death Experiences Resource Page:
      http://www.nhne.org/tabid/792/Default.aspx

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    • NHNE News
      NHNE Wavemaker News List Current Members: 538 To keep up with NHNE s daily dose of news, videos, quotes, photos, and more, go here:
      Message 2 of 2 , May 30, 2012
        NHNE Wavemaker News List
        Current Members: 538

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        *KEY FACTS ABOUT NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
        *International Association for Near-Death Studies
        <http://www.iands.org/>(IANDS)
        Last Updated October 30, 2011

        http://nhne-pulse.org/key-facts-about-near-death-experiences/

        Original Link
        <http://www.iands.org/nde_index/ndes/key_facts_about_near-death_experiences.html>

        *DEFINITION OF AN NDE*

        A near-death experience (NDE) is a profound psychological event that may
        occur to a person close to death or, if not near death, in a situation
        of physical or emotional crisis. Because it includes transcendental and
        mystical elements, an NDE is a powerful event of consciousness; it is
        not mental illness. 1

        Whether happening "truly near death" or under benign circumstances, the
        near-death experience contains powerful images and emotions, usually of
        peace and love though sometimes terror, despair, guilt. An NDE may
        include an out-of-body experience and vivid perceptions of movement,
        light, darkness; encounters with deceased loved ones, unfamiliar
        entities and/or spiritual presences; sometimes a life review, a
        landscape, a sense of overpowering knowledge and purpose. The
        aftereffects of an NDE or related experience are enduring, often
        powerful, and may be life-altering.

        The NDE belongs to a larger family of experiences that go beyond the
        usual limits of space and time and can transform a person's life and
        beliefs. They may be called spiritually transformative, conversion,
        mystical, religious, or transpersonal experiences.

        One-fourth of the 800 people who have submitted an account of their
        experience to the IANDS online NDE archives reported they were not close
        to death or clinically dead at the time. Instead, they were in
        emotionally intense situations, praying or meditating, sleeping, or in
        ordinary states of consciousness when this phenomenon occurred. IANDS
        refers to these as "near-death-like experiences" or NDLEs. Seventy-five
        percent of those who sent their accounts had a sense of being close to
        death, were in a life-threatening situation, or believed they were
        clinically dead. 2

        *FEATURES IN THE NDE*

        More than 15 common characteristics of an NDE have been reported by
        near-death experiencers. An NDE may include only one or two of these
        elements, and, in a few cases, all of them. These include: a sense of
        being outside one's physical body, sometimes perceiving it from an
        outside position; a sense of movement through darkness or a tunnel;
        intense emotions; heightened perceptions; experiencing a great light or
        darkness; perceiving a spiritual realm, which may include vividly
        memorable landscapes; encounters with deceased loved ones, spiritual
        beings and/or religious figures; knowledge of the nature of the
        universe; a life review; a sense of oneness and interconnectedness; a
        border of no return; a sense of having knowledge of the future; messages
        regarding life's purpose. 3,4

        . No two experiences are identical and no single feature is found in
        every NDE. 5

        . The most commonly reported type of NDE involves intense feelings of
        peace, joy and love, often an encounter with an unconditionally loving
        light.

        . Harrowing experiences are sometimes reported involving similar common
        elements but with opposite emotional states -- extreme fear, isolation,
        non-being, confusion, occasional torment or guilt. Two substantial
        studies have reported the percentage of these NDEs as 17% and 18%, 6,7
        although smaller studies have found as many as 30% 8; two online NDE
        sites report incidences of 8.6% and 15%. 9,10

        *A LITTLE NDE HISTORY*

        . The earliest known description of a near-death experience was
        recounted by Plato in his "Myth of Er," found at the end of Book X of
        The Republic, which was written c. 420 B.C. Accounts can be found in the
        folklore and writings of European, Middle Eastern, African, East Indian,
        East Asian, Pacific and Native American cultures. 11

        . The term "near-death experience" was coined by Dr. Raymond Moody in
        his book Life After Life in 1975. 12

        . The International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) was
        formed in 1981 by a group of researchers subsequent to the outpouring of
        requests for more information about NDEs.

        *PREVALENCE OF NDES*

        . Surveys taken in the US 13, Australia 14 and Germany 15 suggest that 4
        to 15 % of the population have had NDEs.

        . Every day in the U.S., 774 NDEs occur, according to the Near-Death
        Experience Research Foundation (NDERF). 16

        . Of more than 800 near-death experiencers (NDErs) reporting to IANDS,
        25% believed they were clinically dead at the time of their NDE. 17

        . A large study conducted in the Netherlands showed that 18% of people
        who suffered a cardiac arrest and were clinically dead had later
        reported an NDE. 18

        *CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISONS*

        Non-Western near-death research has been conducted in China, India,
        Thailand, Tibet, and in several native cultures in Australia, Chile,
        Guam, the continental U.S., New Zealand, and Hawaii. Similarities to
        Western NDEs are the belief that this is the afterlife, a profound sense
        of peace, being in an otherworldly realm, meeting deceased relatives,
        meeting spiritual or religious figures (usually in keeping with one's
        cultural background) and to a lesser extent experiencing some type of
        life review. The tunnel sensation was rarely reported in non-Western
        cultures. 19

        *VERIDICAL NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES*

        Veridical near-death experiences are NDEs in which people reportedly
        out-of-body have observed events or gathered information that was
        verified by others upon the experiencer's return to a conscious state.
        These are a few famous cases of anecdotal veridical evidence:

        *The Case of Pam Reynolds*

        In order to remove a life threatening aneurysm deep in her brain, Pam
        Reynolds underwent a rare surgical procedure called "Operation
        Standstill" in which the blood is drained from the body like oil from a
        car, stopping all brain, heart and organ activity. The body temperature
        is lowered to 60 degrees. While fully anesthesized, with sound-emitting
        earplugs, Pam's ordeal began. Dr. Spetzler, the surgeon, was sawing into
        her skull when Pam suddenly heard the saw and began to observe the
        surgical procedure from a vantage point over his shoulder. She also
        heard what the nurses said to the doctors. Upon returning to
        consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical
        instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses. 20

        *A Report from a Dutch Nurse*

        "During night shift an ambulance brings in a 44-year old cyanotic,
        comatose man into the coronary care unit... When we go to intubate the
        patient, he turns out to have dentures in his mouth. I remove these
        upper dentures and put them onto the 'crash cart.' [..] Only after more
        than a week do I meet again with the patient, who is by now back on the
        cardiac ward. The moment he sees me he says: 'O, that nurse knows where
        my dentures are.' I am very surprised. Then he elucidates: 'You were
        there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of
        my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and
        there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.'." 21

        *Maria's Shoe*

        Kimberly Clark Sharp (1995) was a social worker in Harborview Hospital
        in Seattle when Maria was brought in unconscious from cardiac arrest.
        Sharp visited her the following day in a hospital room, at which point
        Maria described leaving her body and floating above the hospital.
        Desperate to prove that she had in fact left her body and was not crazy,
        she described seeing a worn dark blue tennis shoe on the ledge outside a
        window on the far side of the hospital. Not believing her but wanting to
        help, Sharp checked the ledge by pressing her face against the sealed
        windows and found a shoe that perfectly matched the details Maria had
        related. 22

        *Visual Perception in the Blind*

        Dr. Kenneth Ring describes 21 cases of visual perception in the blind
        during their near-death experiences in his book Mindsight: Near-Death
        and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind. 23

        *CORRELATIONS*

        . No significant correlation has been found between religious beliefs
        and the likelihood or depth of the near-death experience. 24

        . No significant correlation has been found between age, race, sexual
        orientation, economic status and the likelihood, content or depth of the
        near-death experience. 25

        . No correlation between the life history, beliefs, behavior or
        attitudes of a person and the likelihood of having a radiant or
        harrowing NDE has been established. 26

        . There is no evidence of a correlation between the means of coming
        close to death, including suicide, and the likelihood of having a
        harrowing NDE. 27,28,29

        *EXPLANATIONS FOR THE NDE*

        "No one physiological or psychological model by itself explains all the
        common features of NDE. The paradoxical occurrence of heightened, lucid
        awareness and logical thought processes during a period of impaired
        cerebral perfusion raises particular perplexing questions for our
        current understanding of consciousness and its relation to brain
        function. A clear sensorium and complex perceptual processes during a
        period of apparent clinical death challenge the concept that
        consciousness is localized exclusively in the brain." 30

        *Aren't NDEs hallucinations?*

        No. Hallucinations are usually illogical, fleeting, bizarre, and/or
        distorted, whereas the vast majority of NDEs are logical, orderly,
        clear, and comprehensible. People tend to forget their hallucinations,
        whereas most NDEs remain vivid for decades. Furthermore, NDEs often lead
        to profound and permanent transformations in personality, attitudes,
        beliefs and values, something that is never seen following
        hallucinations. People looking back on hallucinations typically
        recognize them as unreal, as fantasies, whereas, people often describe
        their NDEs as "more real than real." Further, people who have
        experienced both hallucinations and an NDE describe them as being quite
        different. 31,32

        *Aren't NDEs the result of anoxia (lack of oxygen) in a dying brain?*

        No. Physicians have compared oxygen levels of cardiac arrest survivors
        who did and did not have NDEs and their findings discredit the anoxia
        hypothesis. In fact, in one study, the NDErs had higher oxygen levels
        than non-NDErs. 33 People report near-death experiences from many
        situations when their brains are healthy -- during childbirth, in
        accidents, in falls. People also report classical near-death-like
        experiences that have occurred during conversations or while holding a
        dying loved one. In those cases where anoxia is involved and monitored,
        such as in cardiac arrest, the effects are disorientation and poor
        memory. The opposite is true for those patients who report near-death
        experiences following their cardiac arrest. 34,35

        *Haven't locations in the brain been found to produce an NDE?*

        The right temporal lobe, the left temporal lobe, the frontal lobe
        attention area, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the amygdala and the
        hippocampus each have been suggested by different neuroscientists as
        linked to the near-death experience. Although different parts of the
        brain may be involved at some point before, during, or following some
        NDEs, there is no empirical evidence that any one of these, or a
        combination of them, manufacture the NDE. Every perception we have will
        be associated with activity in a specific part of the brain, but that
        doesn't mean the activity caused the experience. For example, as you
        read these words, there is increased electrical activity in your
        occipital lobe, but we don't conclude that these words are a
        hallucination caused by that brain activity. A Swiss neuroscientist,
        Olaf Blanke, claimed that stimulation of the right angular gyrus can
        trigger out-of-body experiences (OBEs). 36 However, the stimulated
        experience involved only one patient. That patient's experience was
        fragmentary, distorted and illusory, substantially different from OBEs
        occurring during NDEs. 37

        *Haven't certain drugs been shown to produce an NDE?*

        Ketamine and psilocybin are two drugs that have reportedly triggered
        mystical experiences that appear to be different than hallucinations and
        have similar elements to NDEs. Karl Jansen, who has written more than
        anyone else on NDE-like ketamine experiences, says the following.

        "After 12 years of studying ketamine, I now believe that there most
        definitely is a soul that is independent of experience. It exists when
        we begin, and may persist when we end. Ketamine is a door to a place we
        cannot normally get to; it is definitely not evidence that such a place
        does not exist." 38

        NDEs are quantified by using Greyson's NDE Scale and Ring's Weighted
        Core Experience Index. No such NDE measures are known to have been taken
        by the subjects involved in drug-related experiments in order to make a
        valid comparison. Scientists in the new field of neurotheology are
        researching psilocybin and its mystic state-inducing capabilities for
        its possible therapeutic effectiveness. 39

        *Can an NDE be induced through meditation, shamanic drumming, yoga or
        other spiritual practices?*

        Near-death experiences occur by definition "near-death," although as
        mentioned earlier, NDEs belong to a larger family of mystical or
        transpersonal experiences that transcend the usual limits of space
        and/or time and have the potential to be spiritually transformative.
        Practices such as meditation, shamanic drumming and yoga can trigger a
        variety of mystical experiences that appear identical to NDEs even
        though the experiencer is not physically close to death.

        *ATTITUDINAL CHANGES AND AFTEREFFECTS:*

        "There is one common element in all near-death experiences: they
        transform the people who have them. In my twenty years of intense
        exposure to NDErs, I have yet to find one who hasn't had a very deep and
        positive transformation as a result of his experience." Raymond. A.
        Moody, M.D. 40

        . In several studies, nearly all near-death experiencers report a strong
        decrease or complete loss of the fear of death as the result of their
        NDEs . 41,42,43,44,45,46

        . At least 98% of surveyed NDErs now believe that there is life after
        death. 47,48,49

        . NDErs, including suicide attempters do not generally attempt to take
        their lives again. 51

        . Spiritual growth, a loving attitude, knowing a Higher Power/God, inner
        peace and a sense of purpose in life characterize the changes most
        meaningful to NDErs. 52

        . Over 80% of surveyed NDErs expressed a strong increase in their
        concern for others53 and that life has meaning or purpose. 53,54,55

        . Among surveyed NDErs, 55 - 89% of report an increase in psychic
        phenomena or healing abilities following their NDEs. 56,57,58,59

        *CHALLENGES FACED BY THOSE WHO HAD AN NDE:*

        "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."
        Thomas, W.I and Thomas, D.S. 60

        *NDERS FACE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES FOLLOWING AN NDE*

        . In one study, 65 % of NDErs' marriages result in divorce as opposed to
        40 to 50% in the general population.61 Major changes in values 62,
        careers (75%) 63 and religious views 64 contribute to stress in an
        NDEr's relationships. 65

        . NDErs, especially those who have suffered a distressing or frightening
        experience, can suffer from feelings of alienation and depression. They
        often avoid disclosing their experience, not wanting to risk ridicule,
        judgment and lack of understanding in others. 66 Evidence suggests that
        non-disclosure of significant personal experiences increases physical
        and psychological stress. This stress adds to the physical and emotional
        challenges caused by events that originally led to the near-death
        experience itself. 67,68 The degree to which NDErs suffer from
        depression or suicidal ideation linked to their NDEs is under study by
        IANDS.

        *IANDS EDUCATIONAL VENUES*

        IANDS has now grown to include over 50 local groups throughout the
        world. IANDS hosts international conferences, conducts workshops and
        retreats, and produces educational materials and a quarterly
        peer-reviewed journal and newsletter on the topic of near-death
        experiences. Workshops have been developed for healthcare providers, for
        near-death experiencers and for the general public.

        *Future Research:*

        IANDS has identified several priorities for future research. Those
        include larger studies of NDEs in non-Western cultures and formal needs
        assessments of NDErs, especially among combat NDErs, children and adults
        who have experienced harrowing NDEs. IANDS is also investigating
        suitable application of NDEs for suicide prevention, as well as for
        reduction of grief and fear of death, while continuing its quest to
        understand the causes, nature and implication of the near-death experience.

        .....................

        *REFERENCES*

        1. Greyson, B. (2000). Near-Death Experiences. In E. Cardeña, S. J.
        Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of anomalous experiences (pp.
        315-352). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

        2. Migliore,V. (2007). Statistical Summary of Near-Death Experience
        Reports. IANDS report.

        3. Moody, R. (1975). Life After Life. Mockingbird Books.

        4. Ring, K. (1980). Life At Death. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

        5. Moody, R. (1975).

        6. Rommer, B. (2000). Blessing in disguise: Another side of the
        near-death experience. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

        7. Bush, N.E. (2006)."Distressing Near-Death Experiences," presentation
        at International Association for Near-Death Studies 2006 Annual
        Conference, University of Texas M.D.Anderson Cancer Center.

        8. Lindley, J.H., Bryan, S., and Conley, B. (1981). Near-death
        experiences in a Pacific Northwest American Population: The Evergreen
        study. Anabiosis 1, 104-125.

        9. Migliore, V. (2007).

        10. http://www.nderf.org/meg_a's_nde.htm.

        11. Greyson, B. (2006) Near-Death Experiences and Spirituality. Zygon.
        41, 394.

        12. Moody, R. (1975).

        13. Gallup, G., and Proctor,W. (1982). Adventures in Immortality: A Look
        Beyond the Threshold of Death. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

        14. Perera, M. et.al. (2005). Prevalence of Near-Death Experiences in
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        15. Knoblauch, H. et.al. (2001). Different Kinds of Near-Death
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        16. http://www.nderf.org/number_nde_usa.htm.

        17. Migliore. V. (2007).

        18. van Lommel, P, et.al. (2001). Near-death Experience in Survivors of
        Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Study in the Netherlands. Lancet 2001;
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        19. Kellehear, A. (2006). NDEs throughout History and across Cultures
        IANDS Conference Presentation: DVD. www. iands.org

        20. Sabom, M. B. (1998). Light and Death: One Doctor's Fascinating
        Account of Near-Death Experiences. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan.

        21. van Lommel, Pim. (2001).

        22. Sharp, K.C. (1995). After the Light: What I Discovered on the Other
        Side of Life That Can Change Your World. Morrow, NY.

        23. Ring, K. (1999). Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences
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        24. Ring, K. (1984). Heading toward Omega: In Search of the Meaning of
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        25. Ring, K. (1980).

        26. Bush, N.E. (2006).

        27. Greyson, B. (1991). Near-Death Experiences Precipitated by Suicide
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        Expectations. Journal of Near-Death Studies. 9:3,

        28. Ring. K. (1980).

        29. Fenwick, P. http://www.near-death.com/experiences/suicide02.html

        30. Greyson, B. (2003). Incidence and Correlates of Near-Death
        Experiences in a Cardiac Care Unit. General Hospital Psychiatry. 25:269-276.

        31. Fenwick. P. (2004). Science and Spirituality: A Challenge for the
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        Association for Near-Death Studies 2004 Annual Conference.

        http://www.iands.org/research/important_studies/
        dr._peter_fenwick_m.d._science_and_spirituality.html

        32. Ring. K. (1980).

        33. Parnia, S., et al. (2001). A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of
        the Incidence, Features and Aetiology of Near-Death Experiences in
        Cardiac Arrest Survivors. Resuscitation, 48, 149-156.

        34. van Lommel, P. (2001).

        35. Greyson, B. (2003).

        36. Blanke, O. et.al. (2002). Stimulating illusory own-body perceptions.
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        37. Holden, J. (2006). Out-of-Body Experiences: All in the Brain?
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        38. Jansen, Karl. (1997). Response to Commentaries on "The Ketamine
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        39. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-07/jhmi-hss070506.php

        40. Moody, R. (1988). The Light Beyond. New York, NY. Bantam Books.

        41. Sutherland, C. (1990). Changes in Religious Beliefs, Attitudes, and
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        42. Ring. K. (1998). Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the
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        43. Flynn, C. (1982). Meanings and Implications of NDEr Transformations:
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        44. Noyes, R. (1980). Attitude Changes Following Near-Death Experiences.
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        45. Greyson, B. (1992) Reduced Death Threat in Near-Death Experiencers.
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        46. Musgrave, C. (1997). The Near-Death Experience: A Study of Spiritual
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        47. Sutherland, C. (1990). Changes.

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        49. Musgrave, C. (1997).

        50. Greyson, B. (1981). Near-Death Experiences and Attempted Suicide.
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        51. Sutherland, C. (1990).

        52. Flynn, C. (1982).

        53. Bauer, M. (1985). Near-Death Experiences and Attitudinal Change.
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        54. Ring, K. (1998).

        55. Musgrave, C. (1997).

        56. Sutherland, C. (1989). Psychic Phenomena Following Near-Death
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        57. Greyson, B. (1983). Increase in Psychic Phenomena Following
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        58. Ring, K. (1984).

        59. Migliore. V. (2007).

        60. Thomas, W.I. and Thomas, D.S. (1928). The Child in America. New
        York. NY.

        61. Christian, S.R. (2005). Marital satisfaction and stability following
        a near-death experience of one of the marital partners. University of
        North Texas Dissertation. Available at http://www.unt.edu/etd/all/
        August2005/Open/christian_sandra_rozan/index.htm

        62. Christian, S.R. (2005).

        63. Noyes, R. (1980).

        64. Ring, K. (1984).

        65. Stout, Y. et. al. (2006) Six Major Challenges Faced by Near-Death
        Experiencers. Journal of Near-Death Studies 29. 49-62.

        66. Stout, Y. (2006).

        67. Hoffman, R. (1995). Disclosure Habits After Near-Death Experiences:
        Influences, Obstacles, and Listener Selection. Journal of Near-Death
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        68. Pennebaker, J. W. et.al. (1988). Disclosure of Traumas and Immune
        Function: Health Implications for Psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting
        and Clinical Psychology. 56. 239-245.


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