Here we go again, another scientist has 'discovered' why some people experience near death experiences (NDE). It's simply an electrical storm in a dying brain they say.
Hang on though, a little while ago they were telling us it was down to carbon dioxide - see Are Near Death Experiences All Down To Carbon Dioxide?
Okay lets look at the current theory from a Doctor Lakhmir Chawla from the Washington University Medical Center. Dr. Chawla explains:
"We think that near death experiences could be caused by a surge of electrical energy caused as the brain runs out of oxygen. As blood flow slows down and oxygen levels fall, the brain cells fire one last electrical impulse.
It starts in one part of the brain and spreads in a cascade and this may give people vivid mental sensations."
It seems that the doctor monitored terminally ill people and in each case he found a tailing off of brain activity in the hour prior to death. This was, however, interrupted by a spurt of brain action lasting anything from 30 seconds to three minutes.
If the patient was to recover they would then often tell of NDEs with familiar memories of leaving their bodies, travelling down a tunnel, a feeling of peace and so on.
Research is also been carried out on NDEs by Southampton University in England. In one test they place pictures that can only be viewed from above on high shelves to see if patients can recall the images. If they can it suggests (to the researchers) a 'genuine' out of body experience. Unfortunately no data has been produced, as yet, for their findings. They are also asking 1500 patients to recall any memories following a cardiac arrest.
All the scientists are no doubt genuine and, who knows, perhaps one day they might be able to 'prove' that there is something in NDEs which shows that a continuation of life after death is possible.
Meanwhile stories such as those of Iris Lemov, see Near Death Experience Changes Woman's Life, may have to suffice.
My personal opinion is that most near death experiences are genuine. As for an electrical storm in a dying brain, I would have thought this would produce many, many varied and completely random reactions and memories - whereas NDEs often follow a similar pattern.