Mod+ 281. DR. EVAN THOMPSON FINDS NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE EVIDENCE UNCONVINCING

#62
I will thanks, yes...
So then tell me, how strong was the correlation with NDEs? How many of the mice had an NDE?

Hopefully you can help me understand your position since I have been unable to find the strength of this correlation in Borjigin et al's paper.
 
#63
I guess the main reason for this suggestion is that that surge is very curious - and seems to occur about the time you might expect the separation to begin. However, note Max's contribution above - he thinks the experiments picked up human brain waves, and were simply flawed.
Yes, when I pointed out to Borjigin that a Faraday cage is not sufficient to rule out external field effects on the rats brain... she cut me off. There is just an assumption that the brain isn't sensitive to this stuff... so they don't even mention types of shielding in the paper. But nobody has done these sorts of detailed EEG studies on dying brains before... and I think Borjigin has stumbled across a field effect, because the rats werent sufficiently shielded. If you note on Borjigins second rat paper, she mentions IIRC an EM field effect (from equipment) shown in the data that should be ignored.

We've got evidence of weak magnetic field effects on the brain that suggest that some mechanism in the brain can transduce them. The network itself also appears to be more sensitive to these weak fields than individual neurons.
And we simply don't know how sensitive the brain is in an energy compromised state.

I would love to see the experiment repeated, with belt-n-braces Electric and Magnetic shielding, I would put money on a change in their results.

Granted, very few people like my ideas... :)
 
#64
The Borjigin paper is here:

http://www.pnas.org/content/110/35/14432.full.pdf html

The abstract says:

The brain is assumed to be hypoactive during cardiac arrest.
However, the neurophysiological state of the brain immediately
following cardiac arrest has not been systematically investigated. In
this study, we performed continuous electroencephalography in
rats undergoing experimental cardiac arrest and analyzed changes
in power density, coherence, directed connectivity, and cross-frequency
coupling. We identified a transient surge of synchronous gamma
oscillations that occurred within the first 30 s after cardiac arrest
and preceded isoelectric electroencephalogram. Gamma oscillations
during cardiac arrest were global and highly coherent; moreover,
this frequency band exhibited a striking increase in anterior–posterior-
directed connectivity and tight phase-coupling to both theta
and alpha waves. High-frequency neurophysiological activity in
the near-death state exceeded levels found during the conscious
waking state. These data demonstrate that the mammalian brain

can, albeit paradoxically, generate neural correlates of heightened
conscious processing at near-death.

Whoa! Where is the evidence that mammals other than human beings experience "heightened conscious processing" at near-death? Who the heck knows what the rats were experiencing? Even if the rats had recovered, could they have reported what they'd experienced?

Ethically, one can't do this experiment in human beings, though conceivably one could track people liable to cardiac arrest and look for 30 seconds' worth or so of gamma activity if and when they did. If you could do enough studies like this on humans, some of them might recover and could be asked if they'd had an NDE. It'd be doubtful that all of them would so report, as is already known.

In Borjigin's study, all 9 of 9 rats showed the gamma activity. If recovered rats could talk, it's anyone's guess whether they'd report an NDE.

Rats aren't human beings, and one should be very cautious about extrapolating from one to the other. In addition, there's the question of timing to consider. The timing of veridical reports would have to be compared to the time when gamma signals were detected. They'd have to correspond with the time of the gamma signals in order to verify that those signals were associated with NDE phenomena such as OBEs.

There's a heck of a lot of ifs, ands and buts in making the extrapolation, and the first of those is confirming the presence of gamma activity in human beings during cardiac arrest. Then there's confirming that such activity does more than merely correlate with heightened conscious processing. No one is denying that in most circumstances, there is a correlation between brain activity and consciousness; but correlation is not causation, is it?

Whatever, were gamma signals to be detected in human beings, the question of how long they might persist would be crucial: any perceptions occurring beyond that time couldn't be explained by them, could it?

All in all, this study, while very interesting and by all accounts well-conducted, doesn't merit the weight of interpretation being placed on it in some quarters. One is left with the impression that some are ready to abandon due diligence in their scepticism and grasp at straws to bolster the view that there's a material cause for NDEs. An awful lot more evidence would be required before that could be stated with any confidence.
 
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#65
And no evidence of NDEs, so no correlation with NDEs.
I think you and Max are talking past each other. He is saying that the fact that the rat signal resembled that of wakeful humans suggest electromagnetic contamination with the brainwaves of the experimenters (I think).

EEG signals are pretty weak anyway, and are presumably rat signals have even less energy.

The only 'correlation' with NDE's is the time after cardiac arrest, which is, I suppose about right.

David
 
#66
Alex,

It is a pity you didn't push Evan on a few other things - such as terminal lucidity, other deathbed phenomena etc. As well as trying to pin him down on just how he thinks people manage to report details of their resuscitation - I mean, does he buy into the idea that somehow they take in the scene and create a narrative later?

It occurs to me that people can only see as a result of continual shifts of focus known as saccades:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccade

I wonder if these happen during cardiac arrest, because if they don't, it just isn't possible for people to collect visual information conventionally while their heart is stopped! This might remove the need for AWARE studies completely!

David
 
#67
I think you and Max are talking past each other. He is saying that the fact that the rat signal resembled that of wakeful humans suggest electromagnetic contamination with the brainwaves of the experimenters (I think).

EEG signals are pretty weak anyway, and are presumably rat signals have even less energy.

The only 'correlation' with NDE's is the time after cardiac arrest, which is, I suppose about right.

David
Either way there was no correlation with NDEs.
 
#70
Excellent show Alex!

Isn't this only an issue because proponents have historically insisted that NDEs correlated with an absence of this type of activity?
It's an issue because claiming the brain activity in the mouse study is correlated with NDEs is wrong.

We do know, however, that there are NDEs that occur without this activity.

There are plenty of cases where this data doesn't match, but the largest category would be 25% of NDEs occur during general anesthesia, which Borjigin et al investigated and did not see this response. So if this brain activity is supposed to explain NDE, then why would we see NDEs during anesthesia without this brain activity?
 
#72
It's an issue because claiming the brain activity in the mouse study is correlated with NDEs is wrong.

We do know, however, that there are NDEs that occur without this activity.

There are plenty of cases where this data doesn't match, but the largest category would be 25% of NDEs occur during general anesthesia, which Borjigin et al investigated and did not see this response. So if this brain activity is supposed to explain NDE, then why would we see NDEs during anesthesia without this brain activity?
You don't think that that type of activity could explain some NDEs?

Or to put it another way, is it realistic to think that there is one single explanation for all the various reports of these experiences?
 
#73
You don't think that that type of activity could explain some NDEs?

Or to put it another way, is it realistic to think that there is one single explanation for all the various reports of these experiences?
I think there is a chance that it may play a role in at least some NDEs, but it certainly needs more research to attempt to answer the question. I find the results interesting, but skeptics are jumping to conclusions.

At this point, one single explanation doesn't seem likely, but who knows what we may discover if more research is devoted to this subject.
 
#74
I think it is worth putting all this into some context. The traditional idea of the brain is that the neurons are connected as a neural net, so that they perform a sort of statistical computation. This, of course doesn't attempt to explain why we experience anything as a result of such action.

However leaving that aside, there seems to be no reason at all to expect uncoordinated neural activity - caused for example by the build-up of glutamate - to 'compute' anything - the concept that this process would generate an NDE seems to me to be as crazy as if someone poured water into their computer and it suddenly computed Pi to 10000 decimal digits!

David
 
#75
I think it is worth putting all this into some context. The traditional idea of the brain is that the neurons are connected as a neural net, so that they perform a sort of statistical computation. This, of course doesn't attempt to explain why we experience anything as a result of such action.

However leaving that aside, there seems to be no reason at all to expect uncoordinated neural activity - caused for example by the build-up of glutamate - to 'compute' anything - the concept that this process would generate an NDE seems to me to be as crazy as if someone poured water into their computer and it suddenly computed Pi to 10000 decimal digits!

David
This is an interesting point but didn't they say in the paper that the activity was highly synchronous?
 
#76
It's an issue because claiming the brain activity in the mouse study is correlated with NDEs is wrong.

We do know, however, that there are NDEs that occur without this activity.

There are plenty of cases where this data doesn't match, but the largest category would be 25% of NDEs occur during general anesthesia, which Borjigin et al investigated and did not see this response. So if this brain activity is supposed to explain NDE, then why would we see NDEs during anesthesia without this brain activity?
Borjigin's rat study presented EEG data measured from each rat during wakefulness, anesthesia, and induced cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest was induced by injection whilst the rat was still anesthetized. Therefore the rat went into cardiac arrest whilst it was anesthetized.

I don't know the particular 25% figure you refer to, but as far as I'm aware, the typical veridical type NDE OBE which is recalled by patients following a period of anesthesia, often includes imagery where the patient sees themselves on the operating table being resuscitated.

In this sense, Borjigin's study emulates the conditions of the typical NDE OBE where an anesthetized patient sees themselves being resuscitated. I'm also aware that the NDE OBE can occur during particularly deep anesthesia (burst suppression).
 
#77
I think there is a chance that it may play a role in at least some NDEs, but it certainly needs more research to attempt to answer the question. I find the results interesting, but skeptics are jumping to conclusions.

At this point, one single explanation doesn't seem likely, but who knows what we may discover if more research is devoted to this subject.
I think you're being too generous, Neil... I mean, no correlation is no correlation.

NDE science gets real murky real fast... past lives... parallels lives... simultaneous lives. I think we really gotta try and stuck to the best evidence. this kinda speculation doesn't make the cut.
 
#78
I think you're being too generous, Neil... I mean, no correlation is no correlation.

NDE science gets real murky real fast... past lives... parallels lives... simultaneous lives. I think we really gotta try and stuck to the best evidence. this kinda speculation doesn't make the cut.
No correlation doesn't mean that there might not be something to it. I think it is worth more research. It wouldn't explain the paranormal aspects of NDEs though, but it might turn out to be a piece of the puzzle.
 
#79
Borjigin's rat study presented EEG data measured from each rat during wakefulness, anesthesia, and induced cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest was induced by injection whilst the rat was still anesthetized. Therefore the rat went into cardiac arrest whilst it was anesthetized.
So in this case, is it possible that while maybe an NDE may occur under anesthesia without cardiac arrest, that it just didn't happen in this study?
 
#80
I think it is worth putting all this into some context. The traditional idea of the brain is that the neurons are connected as a neural net, so that they perform a sort of statistical computation. This, of course doesn't attempt to explain why we experience anything as a result of such action.

However leaving that aside, there seems to be no reason at all to expect uncoordinated neural activity - caused for example by the build-up of glutamate - to 'compute' anything - the concept that this process would generate an NDE seems to me to be as crazy as if someone poured water into their computer and it suddenly computed Pi to 10000 decimal digits!

David
There is a (possible) explanation for this. There are well known feedback mechanisms that inhibit and regulate our experiences for the sake of efficiency etc. If these higher circuits are the first to fail, or last to come back, at times of crisis then it may give us some pointers towards the underlying nature of hyperlucidity reports.
 
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