Autoscopies as a Time Marker for the Occurrence of Near-Death Experiences

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From Michael Nahm in the Journal of Near-Death Studies:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication...xperiences


Quote:...In the real-time model, it is postulated that during critical NDEs, residual activities in the cerebrum were sufficient to generate NDEs in real time. In the reconstruction model, it is assumed that due to severe oxygen deficiency, critical NDEs could not have occurred at the time in question but were reconstructed later during the regeneration phase of the brain. To assess the plausibility of these two models, we analyzed the phenom-enology of the view of one's own body from above (autoscopy) that frequently occurs in the beginning of NDEs. In addition to the available literature, we used original descriptions of autoscopies obtained in an online survey conducted in 2015. We found that the reconstruction model is not supported by empirical findings and that some findings even speak against it. We therefore conclude that future discussions of explanatory models of NDEs should focus primarily on the neurophysiological real-time model and a third alternative according to which autoscopies and NDEs occur in relative independence from the prevailing neuro-physiological processes in the brain.



Quote:Several researchers have addressed the topic of what happens in the human brain during the minutes following cardiac arrest. Accord-ing to a generally accepted model, consciousness is lost after a  few seconds, and after 30 seconds at most, EEG records no longer indicate cerebral activity  (e.g. Pana  et al., 2016; Visser et  al., 2001; see also Parnia & Fenwick, 2002; van Lommel, 2010). In recent years, several authors reported surges of brain activity around the time of cardiac arrest in humans (e.g., Auyong et al., 2010; Chawla et al., 2009, 2017; Norton et al., 2017) and rats (Borjigin et al., 2013; Zhang et al., 2019). It is unclear, however, whether these surges bear relevance for NDEs and whether they are associated with conscious experience. According to the generally accepted model, coherent  self-awareness, perceptions of the environment, as well as the creation of accurate memories are unlikely to be possible during an absence of measurable brain activity. Nevertheless, people whose cardiac arrests occurred in hospitals have repeatedly reported that during this critical period, from an elevated vantage point, they followed the activities of doctors and nurses in the vicinity of the NDErs’ physical bodies. Usually, these reports  corre-spond to the actual events (Holden, 2009).



There are references to and subsequent criticisms of skeptical arguments made by Blackmore, French, Woerlee etc as well...



Quote:In summary, on closer examination and explicit consideration of the phenomenology of autoscopies and NDEs, it is apparent that the neurophysiological reconstruction model is not supported by independent findings. On the contrary, various converging lines of evidence indicate that autoscopies and, thus, also NDE elements that succeed autoscopies, occur at the time that experiencers have described them: during the crisis of real or anticipated danger. From the neurophysi-ological perspective, the available evidence clearly supports the neurophysiological real-time model that Woerlee (2010) and Blackmore (2017) advocated...

...If one assumes that conscious self-experience is exclusively determined and generated by neurological processes of the brain, drastically different neurological processes should generate drastically different subjective experiences. So far, this discrepancy between model and experience is unresolved and contributes to the conclusion that according to the current state of research, there is no satisfactory neurophysiological explanation for NDEs (Greyson et al., 2009; Nahm, 2012)...

...A further challenge to these models comes from NDEs and OBEs in babies who, due to the not-yet-completed development of their eyes and brains, should not be able to see their environment with acuity and to preserve their observations as conscious long-term mem-ories. Nevertheless, such cases exist.  For example, one of co- author Nahm’s family members, who is currently 17 years old, had a difficult birth and spent the first days of his life in an incubator. He still re-members an OBE he had at the time, looking at numerous doctors in white dresses that stood at the incubator (see also Sutherland, 2009). According to these aspects of NDEs,  the  independence model must involve some form of extrasensory perception...

...In general, neurophysiological processes are certainly involved in NDEs as long as there is brain function, and more reliable evidence for the independence model can be provided only by further documentation of individual cases and empirical  studies. However, experimental studies are difcult to conduct in the context of NDEs (Holden, 2009; Parnia et al., 2014), as are experimental studies into OBEs occurring in contexts unrelated to death (Nahm, 2013). In this regard, we attempted in our survey to identify “OBE-adepts,” NDErs who reported the sometimes-NDE-aftereffect of being able to elicit OBEs willingly and relatively reliably.  Although four of our participants indicating this ability always or very often, all of them declined our request to participate in experimental OBE studies. Despite the challenges of NDE and OBE veridical perception research, medical-scientific studies into NDEs have been conducted for only about 40 years, and they already have provided highly interesting results. We expect that the coming decades will yield further exciting data.


A shame about that missed opportunity referenced in the last paragraph. Nevertheless this paper is well worth the read.
(This post was last modified: 2021-02-01, 09:40 PM by OmniVersalNexus.)
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(2021-02-01, 07:31 PM)OmniVersalNexus Wrote: Nevertheless this paper is well worth the read.


It certainly is, Omni. I'd liked to start now but my wife will kill me and give me my own real time experience.
(This post was last modified: 2021-02-01, 08:26 PM by tim.)
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I had a look at that paper, Omni. Very good indeed ! Nahm and his friend have highlighted the important points of the matter (veridical OBE's during NDE's) in (new?) unique terms which I rather like.

The neurophysiological real-time model (Woerlee OBE/NDE by CPR) the neurophysiological reconstruction model (French Blackmore(used to be) Fisher etc OBE by retrospective reconstruction) and the independence model (Separate mind, independent consciousness)

Nahm basically discounts the second one as everyone ought to, because there was never anything 
in it, other than wishful thinking by desperate sceptics trying to bring the fallibility of human memory into play.

It would be nice if sceptics such as Malf and Paul would put their pin in the model which they think does the job so we can finally "pin" them down. They won't though (at least I doubt it) because being "pinned down" would close off their escape route. 

Far better to still have many possibilities on the table so that they can still say, it might not be that but it still could be something else. 

EDIT: Just to add, his use of the term "autoscopy" to label the veridical out of body experience is arguably inappropriate. Autoscopy (according to experts) is a rare medical condition where the patient somehow 'projects' and sees an image of his own body form in front of him. However, Sabom used it after careful consideration, so maybe that's not too relevant.   
(This post was last modified: 2021-02-02, 04:17 PM by tim.)
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The experiences listed in the paper are interesting. 

Cardiac arrest ID 14,  male, 75 years old: Then I suddenly saw myself  lying in bed, from the chest downwards, the nurse and another nurse as well as the doctor. The nurse applied a colourless paste from a red tube, distributed it and passed the tube on to the second nurse. He also applied the paste. He was corrected immediately, with the words: “That must be more (you must use more of it), otherwise the man will have burns afterwards.

This is of course the lubricant they put on the defibrillator pads or the chest to achieve a better contact and also to try to limit burns. How can the patient possibly be aware of this? His heart must have been stopped and his brain completely dysfunctional. It doesn't make any sense other than he somehow saw it (does it?). The ears don't work in that state and he saw the tube was red (assuming it was red)   
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A very good report I found ages ago that I'm suprised nobody posted here before. Basically throttles the life out of the reconstruction model even more, I think it'll need a miracle to make a comeback. Also full of very interesting stuff about skeptical positions that I didn't know about and some stuff about NDEs that I forgot about, good find Omni.

Basically adds more weight to the pile. NDEs aren't reconstructed, they aren't like flashbulb traumatic memories, they aren't like DMT or Ketamine trips, are also remembered like memories of real events unlike drug experiences or dreams and the list goes on. The paper also brings up an interesting switcheroo that I don't normally think of which is the fact that NDEs happen in non life threatening scenarios, but are also exactly the same as ones in scenarios such as cardiac arrest or other injuries, which means that it needs to be explained why they're so similar despite the brain being perfectly functional compared to barely functional.
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(2021-02-02, 03:56 PM)tim Wrote: I had a look at that paper, Omni. Very good indeed ! Nahm and his friend have highlighted the important points of the matter (veridical OBE's during NDE's) in (new?) unique terms which I rather like.

The neurophysiological real-time model (Woerlee OBE/NDE by CPR) the neurophysiological reconstruction model (French Blackmore(used to be) Fisher etc OBE by retrospective reconstruction) and the independence model (Separate mind, independent consciousness)

Nahm basically discounts the second one as everyone ought to, because there was never anything 
in it, other than wishful thinking by desperate sceptics trying to bring the fallibility of human memory into play.

It would be nice if sceptics such as Malf and Paul would put their pin in the model which they think does the job so we can finally "pin" them down. They won't though (at least I doubt it) because being "pinned down" would close off their escape route. 

Far better to still have many possibilities on the table so that they can still say, it might not be that but it still could be something else. 

EDIT: Just to add, his use of the term "autoscopy" to label the veridical out of body experience is arguably inappropriate. Autoscopy (according to experts) is a rare medical condition where the patient somehow 'projects' and sees an image of his own body form in front of him. However, Sabom used it after careful consideration, so maybe that's not too relevant.   

I agree. I think Nahm was just trying to add some sort of professional/academic gloss to his paper by using a technical term from psychiatry and psychology, even though it is quite arguably incorrect. He probably wanted to use the term in order to slightly suggest without stating it that NDE OBEs could be a well-known non-paranormal psychological phenomenon. This would make the paper as much like typical technical research papers in medicine as possible, and limit as much as possible any references to the extensive body of empirical evidence in the form of veridical OBEs during NDEs. God forbid, because that would instantly raise the ire of the materialists..
(This post was last modified: 2021-02-03, 06:24 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(2021-02-03, 06:36 AM)Smaw Wrote: The paper also brings up an interesting switcheroo that I don't normally think of which is the fact that NDEs happen in non life threatening scenarios, but are also exactly the same as ones in scenarios such as cardiac arrest or other injuries, which means that it needs to be explained why they're so similar despite the brain being perfectly functional compared to barely functional.

That's a good point. I regularly mention this -  though I'm not posting very often these days.

It is a vital part of the picture. Studies such as Parnia's AWARE study specifically exclude those types of experience where the brain is functioning normally. I understand the reason why, and that is perfectly proper. However for the rest of us, and that includes serious researchers too, it is important to include all varieties of NDE. For one thing, it neatly shoots down all those arguments about anoxia, the 'dyjng brain' explanation is knocked deader than a door-nail.
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(2021-02-04, 01:42 PM)Typoz Wrote: That's a good point. I regularly mention this -  though I'm not posting very often these days.

It is a vital part of the picture. Studies such as Parnia's AWARE study specifically exclude those types of experience where the brain is functioning normally. I understand the reason why, and that is perfectly proper. However for the rest of us, and that includes serious researchers too, it is important to include all varieties of NDE. For one thing, it neatly shoots down all those arguments about anoxia, the 'dyjng brain' explanation is knocked deader than a door-nail.

All true, Typoz, but sceptics simply dismiss those experiences that occur with a fully functioning brain, as, well, a product of a functioning brain. The brain did it, you see. That was why researchers, in order to satisfy (it never does) sceptics, had to demonstrate that 'experience' was taking place without a brain (no brain function)

I think that has been amply demonstrated but there's arguably still a tiny bit of wriggle room left.
(2021-02-04, 02:03 PM)tim Wrote: All true, Typoz, but sceptics simply dismiss those experiences that occur with a fully functioning brain, as, well, a product of a functioning brain. The brain did it, you see. That was why researchers, in order to satisfy (it never does) sceptics, had to demonstrate that 'experience' was taking place without a brain (no brain function)

I think that has been amply demonstrated but there's arguably still a tiny bit of wriggle room left.

You're right, and I've heard Sam Parnia directy speaking on why they choose to study the cardiac-arrest scenario in particular, and especially within recent studies where more measurements are taken using different equipment and procedures so it can be known exactly what is going on in the brain at the time. I support that line of reasoning.

However, it still is the case that his area of study is attacked (with no real success) by the 'dying brain' type of argument - remember the poor decapitated rats? Those cases where the brain is functioning normally (but an NDE still occurs) pretty well render all of that irrelevant. It can't be both caused by these extreme conditions of physical demise and also be caused by good health.

For me, it means any satisfactory explanation of NDES must be able to satisfy both types of scenario with equal ease. That's why it is dangerous to omit the healthy-brain scenarios, it means proposed explanations may not be adequate. Sue Blackmore for instance concentrates on the dying brain model. Not that we should be taking her seriously of course, but you and I know how frequently Blackmore is quoted.

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