Latest Near-Death Experience Research Hit Job |326|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    What wee see quite often during anaesthesia is dreams. I had an anaesthetic couple of times, and every time I had pleasant dreams, once quite vivid.

    Here is the link to an ICU study of dreaming and awareness: https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bits.../134-28-1-38_s00134-001-1168-3.pdf?sequence=1

    One example is quite interesting - and fairly typical, as I have encountered la few of such stories myself:

    Sometimes in spite of utter irrationality of the patient's experience it is impossible to convince them it didn't happen.
     
  2. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

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    But would it be correct to say that, if we are talking about anaesthesia dreams, the dreams do not usually contain the common NDE features? I don't remember "utter irrationality" being one of those features unless the doctors consider the whole NDE phenomenon to be utterly irrational. Many of those we discuss here report things that have actually taken place during the time they were under.

    So if Parnia and his panel of experts are correct and the NDEs are not hallucinations (see the video clip I posted earlier) and the dreams do not contain the accepted NDE features, what are we to conclude?

    [Edit] Wouldn't dreams show up on the EEG as measurable activity?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
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  3. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    Agreed that we can stop classifying people as having/not having an NDE, simply because they did/did not get sufficient points on the Greyson scale.

    However there was a concentration on studying cardiac arrest patients, because we at least had some clue as to their physiological condition. And because recalled classic OBE's (in the hospital) often included events (information) that apparently occurred from around the time of their ressusitation.

    If you go off studying all recalled visual phenomena, without knowing about the persons physiological condition at the apparent time of the event, then I suspect you will not get any useful information out of your studying.

    You may as well fall back to studying dreams/visions... and we don't know very much about the mechanism underlying those very well either.

    Indeed you may as well study wakeful perception...
     
  4. Smithy

    Smithy Member

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    I received the book today.
    Cursory glance: well written, decent respectful approach but the same tired old arguments as it seems.
    Anyway: I will read it from the first page to the last. And then perhaps will provide some comments.
     
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  5. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    Besides irrational, dreams under anaesthesia have also been described as pretty mundane (work or everyday family life related, for example). There is no uniformity in content or anything that has been described as extraordinary besides the circumstances under which they took place.

    They are also recorded in nominal procedures (where patients don't suffer unexpected complications, nevermind cardiac arrest) AFAIK, with a particular type of anesthesia being linked to more of them. As an "explanation", its is pretty weak.
     
  6. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    In another thread I posted the case report of NDE under anaesthesia, with continuous monitoring and deviations from normal physiology. AT the time of the report EEG monitoring wasn't widespread, so it's impossible to say if that particular experience would be reflected on the strip. Given that EEG trace during anaesthesia is normally not flat I is reasonable to assume that some sort of electrical activity was present.

    EEG argument is a perfect example of the No True Scotsman fallacy. The survivalist argument is: during cardiac arrest there is no EEG therefore consciousness does not originate from the brain. Then the skeptic will say, but there are several studies that demonstrate burst of EEG activity in dying brain. The response from a survivalist - but that EEG is not good enough and cannot explain the experience.

    As to the question related to Parnia's panel, if, say, my dream last night contains the features of NDE, what are we to conclude then?
     
  7. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

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    Well I doubt that, if I had a dream which included some NDE like features, my life would be so profoundly affected that I lost all fear of death and became absolutely convinced of the afterlife. This is common to NDE survivors but, as far as I am aware, it is not common with dreams.

    As for the EEG - all I was asking was whether dream activity would be expected to produce considerable output on the monitor, rather than a imperceptible trace or a short burst. It seems to me that you can't have it both ways: if it is to be dismissed as dream activity, then shouldn't we expect to see that activity on the EEG?
     
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  8. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    Isn't NDE defined by Grayson's scale? SO if I had a dream that scored, say, an eight, and it din't change my life, what then?

    Depends how you're going to define this activity. EEG is present during general anaesthesia and during CPR. Is it good enough to convince survivalists that dreaming is possible? I think we have made quite a few laps in the EEG debate to suspect that the answer is likely to be no.
     
  9. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    I don't think you're going to get far substituting dreams for NDE's, ones as much as a mystery as the other... considering sleep tends to be the period in which people report glimpses of the future, and hypnopompic imagery in the transition from sleep to wakefulness, which strangely tends to be of people.

    Around the age of 11-12, I myself experienced seeing the state of my fathers second house (as having been broken into), from some 3 miles across town whilst asleep in bed. I also had a powerful transcendental (NDE-like) experience whilst sleeping.

    I also don't understand the point of hypothesising as to what it would mean if you had an NDE, and didn't feel it held any significance for you?

    That's as bad as asking what if I had turned up at my fathers second house the next day, to find that it had not been broken into, and that my dreamlike experience had been wrong.

    As for the Greyson scale, and the popularising of the experience as an NDE... Good for him, but these types of experiences were almost certainly occurring thousands of years ago... else I wouldn't be seeing the walls of Etruscan tombs decorated with similar concepts.

    But I agree that adopting a position where one insists that a flat EEG is somehow equivalent to no brain activity - doesn't make any sense. About the best you can say is that a flat EEG means a reduction in endogenous EM power.
     
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  10. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    Good point. Yet it seems that for dreaming we need a functional brain.

    Thank you.
     
  11. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    They were all good points.
     
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  12. davidinho

    davidinho Member

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    Hello to everyone...someone has read the book? What it says about life review end the experiment of virtual reality? The participants have changed their lives similar to those who had lived through the Nde? Or is not the same thing? Thanks
     
  13. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    I don't think they compare life review to virtual reality. I don't remember them doing it and I couldn't find it in a quick search.

    But in any event, when they bring up similar experiences, I don't recall them arguing that they are exactly the same. The primary argument is that the similarities indicate avenues worthy of further exploration.

    Not sure if this is getting at your question. Welcome to the forum.
     
  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    you guys are trying to sneak this flat EEG stuff back in to the equation :) neuroscience has no model (i.e. no explanation) for how NDEs could occur when a flat EEG is present. this is a non-starter. you can't embrace evidence that contradicts your position and then turn it around to defend your position.
     
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  15. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    Nope, I was just stating the obvious when I said... adopting a position where one insists that a flat EEG is somehow equivalent to no brain activity - doesn't make any sense.

    From one position we have lots of organisms that move around and display all manner of apparently intelligent behaviour without any of them even possessing a single neuron.

    From another position, when we measure with external medical EEG, under each EEG sensor we're measuring only the post synaptic potential (not the firing) from the summing of hundreds of thousands of cortex neurons. We simply don't have the technology to measure at either the temporal or spatial resolution to see any level of detail. It's analogous to averaging every single pixel on the computer screen you are staring at, to one single enormous screen sized pixel... which shows no structure at all... then claiming that because you can't see any changes or structure within this enormous single average pixel... there is nothing going on of interest. There is still activity in the brain, but we can't measure it with a medical EEG, as this equipment has nothing like the temporal or spatial resolution necessary. We can get a better glimpse of this ongoing activity with invasive EEG (iEEG), so we know there is ongoing activity, at exactly the same moment as a simple external medical EEG would be showing us nothing.

    Those two facts demolish any attempts to claim that a flat medical EEG is equivalent to no brain activity.
     
  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    I'd be happy to interview anyone who supports the idea that NDEs could occur while showing a flat EEG, but you won't find any serious scientist that advances this position.

    even materialist neuroscience types (like this EEG expert) agree: http://skeptiko.com/eeg-expert-on-near-death-experience/

    “It’s very unlikely that a hypoperfused brain [someone with no blood flow to the brain], with no evidence of electrical activity could generate NDEs. Human studies as well as animal studies have typically shown very little brain perfusion [blood flow] or glucose utilization when the EEG is flat. There are deep brain areas involved in generating memories that might still operate at some very reduced level during cardiac arrest, but of course any subcortically generated activity can’t be brought to consciousness without at least one functioning cerebral hemisphere. So even if there were some way that NDEs were generated during the hypoxic state [while the brain is shut off from oxygen], you would not experience them until reperfusion [blood flow] allowed you to dream them or wake up and talk about them”, Greenfield stated.
     
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  17. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    I gave you the two reasons why it's not possible to say that a flat medical EEG means there is no activity. Exploring this issue is a large part of what AWARE is about... people apparently have periods of consciousness at the same time as they appear behaviorally unconscious, and we need to be a bit more open minded about what is/is not possible.

    Organisms do all sorts of apparently intelligent stuff without having any neurons that can fire in the first place. Cells do the same stuff. And a medical EEG attached to the outside of the skull isn't capable of giving us a great deal of detail about what is going on during these periods, it simply doesn't have the temporal or spatial resolution necessary. We don't currently have the technology to do this.

    There are certainly serious scientists who 'do' advance this position... Borjigin and her team for one... they show finer detail from iEEG studies that medical EEG cannot show. But there are also 'many' other sensible and serious scientists in different, but related areas, who wouldn't make a claim either way.
     
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  18. tim

    tim New

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    When the heart has stopped (cardiac arrest) ALL (global) electrical activity in the brain ceases after 20 seconds. The brain stem ( the essential base that fires up the cortex ...the part that the EEG can measure) is non functioning. You can't have any experience, it's impossible and that's a medical fact, not my opinion. I don't claim any expertise, this is medical orthodoxy.

    It's absurd to postulate that somehow a brain with no blood supply and therefore no glucose can suddenly start operating on completely different principles to produce clear cognition and memory formation.
     
  19. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    But the brain 'can' operate on completely different principles... although not necessarily relevant on this point, the brain can stop using glucose and move over to using Ketones... Indeed a Ketone diet is shown to have immediate and protective properties to some patients who are recovering from cardiac arrest.

    However that's a side issue. Spend a bit of time looking at what EEG is actually measuring, then you'll be able to see it's limitations, and why we can't say that a flat medical EEG means there is no activity in the brain. Not that it matters much... we already have organisms moving around, organising, and behaving apparently intelligently... and they don't contain a single neuron between the lot of them.
     
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  20. tim

    tim New

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    This is perfectly simple, no need to make it complex. The EEG is a reliable indicator of the state of a persons brain, that's a fact. Dr Ernst Rodin kindly told me and he should know, he pioneered it's use.

    For people in a coma, the EEG is very good indicator but....because the brain stem is still functioning (during coma) there will be some type of electrical activity. It doesn't mean that such activity is sufficient for any kind of normal consciousness but in theory there COULD be something going on.

    However, in cardiac arrest the brain stem stops functioning in about 10 seconds and without a brain stem there cannot be any electrical activity, consciousness or experience. It's impossible because that is how the brain has been proven to work. You don't need to stick EEG leads on the head, no brain stem equals no function, no nothing. It's just a fact.
     
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