Dr. Sam Parnia’s AWARE-study at last being published. As I said before…

At last the long awaited AWARE study about the authenticity of NDEs as evidence of a surviving soul has been published; see: http://www.resuscitationjournal.com/article/S0300-9572(14)00739-4/fulltext + http://awareofaware.co/2014/10/07/as-i-said-before/ .

Here are two other links to blog articles where the findings of this study are discussed: 1) http://awareofaware.co/2014/10/07/breaking-news-the-aware-study-is-finally-published/ . And 2) http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/10/life-after-death-this-is-what-people-experience-as-the-brain-shuts-down.php .

In my opinion the results from this AWARE-study must be considered disheartening and depressing for those believing that NDEs are evidence of a soul that survives the bodily (physical) death.

Dr. Parnia lists three symptoms of clinical death: 1) Lasting cardiac arrest; 2) No breathing (= the lungs have stopped functioning); and 3) Brain death (= a non-functioning brain, i.e. no detectable electrical activity in the brain).

I’m prone to think that Dr. Parnia is wrong in (t)his definition of clinical death. The premise #3 should – is bound to? – be reconsidered and redefined soon. See for example this article: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/interviews/interview/1000360/ and this one: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-23672150 and this one: http://io9.com/a-new-scientific-explanation-for-near-death-experiences-1110395345 .

In the final paragraph of this blog that I’m now reblogging the blogger admits that “we are still waiting for hard evidence for the existence of the soul through a verified OBE/NDE”.

In my own words that’s like saying that this AWARE-study by Dr. Sam Parnia et al. more looks like a fiasco.


So, I have now had a chance to review the entire paper that has been published in Resuscitation, and I hate to say it, but I told you so.

In a previous post I pointed out that it is common practice for key results to be released at conferences, and subsequent publications in journals to be a rehash of these results but with far more detail, and discussion, and that is precisely what has happened with this first full publication from the AWARE study (I say first, as I suspect that there will be more in years to come, especially given the recent sizeable grant given to the team by the Templeton foundation). This data has been presented in summary form in Dr Parnia’s book and at the American Heart Association last year.

Basically there were two NDEs which had visual or auditory recall…in other words, they saw or…

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Filed under Brain, Consciousness, Hallucinations, Medicine, Neuroscience, Religion, Science

5 responses to “Dr. Sam Parnia’s AWARE-study at last being published. As I said before…

  1. Pingback: A very good and extensive – and therefore highly commendable – Dictionary of Hallucination | bbnewsblog

  2. I think calling this study a fiasco is a bit harsh, but the results are indeed disappointing. They need a much larger sample size considering that only 10% of CA survivors have any kind of NDE, and that about 25% of those might have an OBE. Given that their final sample size was only 101, it is not surprising that they did not have a fully confirmed NDE, especially since neither occurred in the areas with the shelves containing pictures or objects.

  3. Hi, Ben! Have you read this interview with Dr. Sam Pania: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0%2c8599%2c1842627%2c00.html ?

    Dr. Parnia gets the following question: What sort of methods will this [AWARE] project use to try and verify people’s claims of “near-death” experience?

    And his answer is, I quote: When your heart stops beating, there is no blood getting to your brain. And so what happens is that within about 10 sec., brain activity ceases —as you would imagine. Yet paradoxically, 10% or 20% of people who are then brought back to life from that period, which may be a few minutes or over an hour, will report having consciousness. So the key thing here is, Are these real, or is it some sort of illusion? So the only way to tell is to have pictures only visible from the ceiling and nowhere else, because they claim they can see everything from the ceiling. So if we then get a series of 200 or 300 people who all were clinically dead, and yet they’re able to come back and tell us what we were doing and were able see those pictures, that confirms consciousness really was continuing even though the brain wasn’t functioning.

    MY COMMENT: The key sentence is in my opinion this one: So the only way to tell is to have pictures only visible from the ceiling and nowhere else, because they claim they can see everything from the ceiling.

    That claim (that during an OBE you’re able to see EVERYTHING from the ceiling viewpoint) seems now to be wrong. At least that view isn’t confirmed by the AWARE-study (which Dr. Parnia obviously had hoped it would).

    BTW, have you heard of a phenomenon called Subjective Paranormal Experience a.k.a. SPE? See for example: http://www.pni.org/neuropsychiatry/medicine/brain/TL/controlledanalysis.html .

    The authors of that article conclude that their study is “demonstrating that subjects with clinical temporal lobe dysfunction demonstrate a strong relationship between their clinical temporal lobe symptomatology and SPEs. Given the extremely detailed notes that were reviewed and the care in accurate scoring, it appears to be a real, non-artefactual statistical result.”

    Or put much simpler: Some individuals are more prone to paranormal experiences than others. This is due to Temporal Lobe Dysfunctions (cf. TPJ).

    Other studies have also shown that some personality traits are more common among those experiencing an SPE, for example increased suggestibility (= augmented susceptibility or responsiveness to suggestion) and absorption (= to become more or less detached from reality, i.e. “sink” into yourself and forget about the world outside you).

    An SPE can be compared to a subjective truth (in contrast to an objective or scientific truth).

    BTW once more: I like your blog very much, Ben!

    • Glad you like the blog, I will have a quick look around yours…can see some posts that pique my interest already.

      Must admit, not up to speed on SPEs, but will read up on them. With regard to the AWARE study, I feel it is still too early to call it a failure. They did not have a large enough sample size, and the only decent OBE that was reported happened in a place where there weren’t any shelves with objects, so I think we need to keep an open mind to the potential for this study reporting positive results in the future.

  4. Pingback: Just face the facts, there is no soul, there is no afterlife. It’s your wishful thinking that deceives you. | Mass Delusions a.k.a. Magical & Religious Woo-Bullshit Thinking

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