Many generations of people have wondered about conscious awareness at the time of death, whether consciousness is somehow separate from the physical body andif it continues beyond the moment of death.
A team of researchers based in the UK recently gathered evidence which destroys some of the myths about consciousness and death. The University of Southampton research team, lead by Dr. Sam Parnia, studied the near-death experiences of 300 people who have been resuscitated after the heart had stopped beating.
Almost 40% of the people questioned, in the UK, Australia and the US, had felt some sort of awareness before being brought back to life. Some of them remembered being consciously aware for several minutes when they were clinically dead. This goes against what is generally accepted in medical science, that when heart stops beating the human brain remains active for no more than 20-30 seconds.
Findings from the research, which were recently published in the Journal of Resuscitation, reveal someinteresting evidence that can only lead to the following conclusions.
- The end of consciousness and death are not instant.
When they were clinically dead, many of the subjects in this research continued to experience conscious awareness, even when resuscitation took several minutes. These findings strongly indicate that the end of consciousness at death is not as immediate aspreviously thought.
The only conclusion to be reached is thatconscious awareness does not cease at death and continues at least for several minutes after the heart stops pumping oxygen through the body.
- Death is not the same experience for everyone
While some people with near-death experiences have reported seeing a bright light and feeling a sense of peace in those moments before death, this study shows that it is not the same for everyone. Some people saw a white light. Some of them felt as if they were drowning and some did not feel anything because of medication or injury to the brain.
Out of the 300 cases studied, 20% felt peaceful, 13% felt a heightening of their senses, 13% felt a dissociation with their body, and as many as 33% felt time slowing down or speeding up while they were clinically dead.
- Near-death experiences are not always hallucinations
It is generally assumed by medical scientists that visions are commonly experiencedjust before the point of death, because the pineal gland releases a mind-altering chemical known as DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) into the brain.
However, not all near-death visions can be explained as an illusion. One of the subjects of this study was a 57-year-old man who remembered seeing resuscitation attempts on his own body. Heclearly recalled everything that had happened, including a machine that bleeped twice every three minutes.
This man’s memory of the actual event was so accurate that he could nothave been hallucinating. It seems more likely that our conscious sensescontinue when the brain has shut down and the physical body is no longer alive.
Dr. Parnia and his team havecome up with evidence that disproves the theory that consciousness is lost at the moment of death. This evidence clearly shows that more research is neededinto consciousness and death. We still don’t know how long it takes for consciousness to end after the moment of death andwe have noexplanation forwhy there is continued awareness after death.
Source: The Mind Unleashed
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