If you think of a near death experience, what is it that springs to mind?
Spiralling fourth at 100mph towards the light at the end of the tunnel? The perpetual sound of beautiful angels and cherubs singing and playing music all around you? An unfathomable sense of new found happiness and warmth?
Well researchers have decided to put it to the test and find out what really goes on when you have a near death experience, reports Daily Mail.
Using brain scanners to identify the area of the brain responsible for the experiences, the researchers studied and analysed the experiences of 400 people around the world who had all endured mind altering near death experiences.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that almost every experience was very similar and concluded that the experience of death, or near death, triggers a reaction in the region of the brain known as the temporal parietal junction.
But what is far more interesting is that the study also found that people who were completely unconscious or even ‘dead’ – in that their heart had stopped – could recall events which had taken place after their ‘death’.
Such things include being able to clearly refer to specific things which had happened or had been said in the operating theatre while they were being operated on.
Dr Parnia, from the University of Southampton, said:
This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating.
The researchers also found that you can trigger a near, near death experience artificially by hyperventilating and rapidly changing posture – however, as you can imagine, you’re not advised to do so.
Dr Steven Laureys, who was one of the researchers involved, said:
All over the world, stories of near-death experience keep emerging and that means we can pick out similar factors and try to work out what is causing them.
What we found suggests that even people who seem unconscious or in a coma could be living a rich neurological life.
Hopefully none of us will have to endure a near-death experience though.
Once I was going down a hill at a rapid pace on a bike when I realised their was a bend at the bottom. I went to pull on the brakes and then realised there were no brakes on this godforsaken bike.
I crashed, hard, snapped the bike frame into two pieces, and went about seven foot in the air before landing perfectly in between numerous rocks.
I didn’t have a near-death experience, but it wasn’t very nice. I guess it was nearly a near-death experience.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.