That’s not the afterlife – it’s a brainstorm
By JONATHAN LEAKE - TIMESONLINE
Added: Mon, 31 May 2010 05:27:49 UTC
DOCTORS believe they may have found the cause of the powerful spiritual experiences reported by people “brought back from the dead”.
A study of the brainwaves of dying patients showed a surge of electrical activity in the moments before their lives ended.
The researchers suggest this surge may be the cause of near-death experiences, the mysterious medical phenomena in which patients who have been revived when close to death report sensations such as walking towards a bright light or a feeling that they are floating above their body.
Many people experience the sensation as a religious vision and treat it as confirmation of an afterlife. However, the scientists behind the new research believe that is wrong.
“We think the near-death experiences could be caused by a surge of electrical energy released as the brain runs out of oxygen,” said Lakhmir Chawla, an intensive care doctor at George Washington University medical centre in Washington.
“As blood flow slows down and oxygen levels fall, the brain cells fire one last electrical impulse. It starts in one part of the brain and spreads in a cascade and this may give people vivid mental sensations.”
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