NEAR death experiences (NDEs) are an "authentic" experience caused by a lowering of activity in the brain, according to an expert.
When some people have a close brush with death, they can report a feeling of an afterlife or some form of life after death. This can include a feeling of being disassociated from their body, seeing deceased loved ones or religious figures, or a review of their life.
As many as one in 10 people who have had a brush with death have reported an NDE, and often come away feeling euphoric - some with a new found sense of religion and the afterlife.
However, one expert has now revealed that NDE's are not a sign of heaven, but rather it is the brain, which is running out of energy, desperately scanning for a solution to impending death.
Neuroscientist Christof Koch, president and chief scientist of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, wrote in an article for Scientific American: "I accept the reality of these intensely felt experiences. They are as authentic as any other subjective feeling or perception.
"As a scientist, however, I operate under the hypothesis that all our thoughts, memories, precepts and experiences are an ineluctable consequence of the natural causal powers of our brain rather than of any supernatural ones.
"That premise has served science and its handmaiden, technology, extremely well over the past few centuries.
"Unless there is extraordinary, compelling, objective evidence to the contrary, I see no reason to abandon this assumption.
"Modern death requires irreversible loss of brain function. When the brain is starved of blood flow (ischemia) and oxygen (anoxia), the patient faints in a fraction of a minute and his or her electroencephalogram, or EEG, becomes isoelectric—in other words, flat.
"This implies that large-scale, spatially distributed electrical activity within the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain, has broken down.
NDE: Some people feel more attached to religion
"Like a town that loses power one neighborhood at a time, local regions of the brain go offline one after another.
"The mind, whose substrate is whichever neurons remain capable of generating electrical activity, does what it always does: it tells a story shaped by the person’s experience, memory and cultural expectations."
Previous research from Western University and University of Liège, Belgium, found quantitate proof that most people respond positively to NDEs.
"Like a town that loses power one neighborhood at a time, local regions of the brain go offline one after another."
The research found that after an NDE, people tend to have a decline in a fear of death and less interest in material functions.
They also tend to be less competitive and less interested in their personal status.
A statement from Western University said: “This is important as it suggests that individuals are not relating to their NDEs negatively.”
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