The Road Death Traveled

Have you ever felt your life flash before your eyes?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. 

Millions have had just such a near-death experience and lived to tell the tale! They often also report that they felt separated from their bodies. Why do so many people report the same unique experience when they feel the end is near? 

Sam Parnia at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine wants to know. He and his international team have studied these near-death experiences extensively. They’ve now created a consensus about the current knowledge surrounding the phenomenon.

First, they concluded that these experiences are due to the incredible resilience of brain cells! These cells can survive much longer without oxygen than other cell types. They also determined that these experiences are not the same as hallucinations or dreams! They are less random and more lucid.

The researchers believe one day these studies could tell us what it’s like to die before it happens!

But let’s not get a HEAD of ourselves.

Reference: Parnia, S., Post, S. G., Lee, M. T., Lyubomirsky, S., Aufderheide, T. P., Deakin, C. D., Greyson, B., Long, J., Gonzales, A. M., Huppert, E. L., Dickinson, A., Mayer, S., Locicero, B., Levin, J., Bossis, A., Worthington, E., Fenwick, P., & Shirazi, T. K. (2022). Guidelines and standards for the study of death and recalled experiences of death––a multidisciplinary consensus statement and proposed Future Directions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1511(1), 5–21.