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Study finds one in ten people 
has a near-death experience


  

ACCORDING to a new study, one in ten people has undergone a near-death experience (NDE).

   DR DANIEL KONDZIELLA: “We confirmed the association of near-death experiences with rapid-eye movement sleep intrusion.”

  
 

DR DANIEL KONDZIELLA: “We confirmed
the association of near-death experiences
with rapid-eye movement sleep intrusion.”

Looking at the body’s response to imminent mortal danger, real or otherwise, Danish researchers said that these experiences were triggered by the same mechanism which caused lucid “wakeful” dreaming.

Via an “online platform,” the study used questionnaire responses from 1,034 jurors and magistrates. It found that nearly 300 people reported some kind of psychological or spiritual experience.

Seventy-three per cent said the experience was unpleasant. However, of the 106 participants who met the criteria for a “true” NDE, as defined by the Greyson scale, 53 per cent said it was pleasant. Only fourteen per cent called it unpleasant.

The Greyson scale is one of the most widely used methods to classify and distinguish NDEs from other states. Professor Bruce Greyson, who is a psychiatrist, developed it in 1983.

His scale contains sixteen questions. To qualify as a genuine NDE, participants must score seven or higher in the following points:

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?

Were your thoughts speeded up?

Did scenes from your past come back to you?

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?

Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness?

Did you have a feeling of joy?

Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe?

Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light?

Were your senses more vivid than usual?

Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere, as if by extra-sensory perception (ESP)?

Did scenes from the future come to you?

Did you feel separated from your body?

Did you seem to enter some other unearthly world?

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?

Did you see deceased or religious spirits?

Did you come to a border or point of no return?

In the latest study, 87 per cent of people reported time slowing down or distorting. Exceptionally fast thoughts came next at 65 per cent and then vivid senses (63 per cent).

One participant aged 37 reported feeling out of control after she gave birth. “I felt like I just died and I went to heaven,” she said.

“I heard voices and I was sure I would not come back to my life. It was weird. I could not control my body.”

Another told of seeing “dead” relatives after he nearly drowned in Florida at ten years old. Now 38, he added: “Huge waves started pulling me further and further from the shore.

“My life started flashing before me in my head. I felt like my soul was being pulled out of my body.

“After a few moments, I felt like I was in an enormous tunnel of darkness. At its end there was the brightest white light I have ever seen.

“I remember my dead relatives were at the gate, including my maternal grandmother. Then I felt I was sucked out of the tunnel and I fell, crashing into my body again.”

A woman described what happened when she nearly drowned at eight years old.

“I felt total peace,” she said. “Twenty years later, I can still remember how I felt. It was an amazing feeling.”

Though the findings have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, they were presented at the fifth European Academy of Neurology congress in Oslo.

“We confirmed the association of near-death experiences with rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep intrusion,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr Daniel Kondziella, a neurologist at the University of Copenhagen.

“Identifying the physiological mechanisms behind REM sleep intrusion into wakefulness might advance our understanding of near-death experiences.”

Researchers said that despite NDEs seeming to be a common occurrences, their “pathophysiological basis remains unknown.”

REM occurs when dreaming takes place and can “intrude” into wakefulness, causing hallucinations and paralysis.

To find out whether the participants suffered from REM intrusion, they were asked if they ever saw objects or heard sounds that others could not just before falling asleep.

 

They were also asked if they had woken to find themselves “paralysed” or weak.

Results revealed that ten per cent of participants had undergone a NDE, which is higher than previous studies. Some found the figure to be as low as four per cent.

“Our central finding is that we confirmed the association of NDEs with REM sleep intrusion,” Dr Kondziella added.

“Identifying the physiological mechanisms behind REM sleep intrusion into wakefulness might advance our understanding of near-death experiences.”

 










      
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