Did a creepy feeling and unconscious shiver clamber up your back when you heard a narration of a near-death experience? Scientists report that a sudden rush of electrical activity taking place in the brain may be accountable for the vividly vibrant experiences related by the people who have survived near-death experiences.
Details of the research study
A study was carried out on nine rats, who were about to die, by the researchers at the University of Michigan. The scientists uncovered high levels of brainwaves at the moment of the demise of the rats. When the rats died, the thirty second period after their demise was studied by the researchers and they discovered gamma oscillations. These gamma oscillations are depicted by a rapid increase in the high frequency brain waves.
These electrical pulses in the rats were at the peak levels immediately after cardiac arrest as compared to the electrical pulses when the animals were healthy and well.
Implications of the study
The activity experienced by the brain after clinical death was noted to be very high, according to the study team. So scientists now speculate that a heightened state of consciousness may also be experienced by humans at a similar stage of life. They say that it could be the electrical activity surge in the brain that may be answerable for the sensitive experiences that they get during a near death experience.
Dr Jimo Borjigin, who led the study and is working at the University of Michigan, said: “A lot of people thought that the brain after clinical death was inactive or hypoactive, with less activity than the waking state, and we show that is definitely not the case.”If anything, it is much more active during the dying process than even the waking state.”
People have related these challenging experiences as rapid flash of lights before the eyes, bright lights, and an out of the body sensation. Many people have been pleasantly surprised by springing back to life, after they were proclaimed clinically dead by the doctors. The researchers confirm that the brain becomes hyper-excited and over-stimulated, when it faces confusing and unfamiliar circumstances, like a near-death experience.
Then does that mean that the neurons present in the brain, during the exact time of death go into overdrive? It seems so. Dr. Borjigin says that the experience of the rats may take place in the human brain as well and the increased consciousness level and heightened brain activity may lead to near-death visions.
She stated that “This can give us a framework to begin to explain these. The fact they see light perhaps indicates the visual cortex in the brain is highly activated – and we have evidence to suggest this might be the case, because we have seen increased gamma in area of the brain that is right on top of the visual cortex.”
The confirmation of this is possible only after sufficient tests have been conducted on human beings who have experienced these near death visions in the past and had revived.
The research study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.