Ketamine and EEG

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Omni brought these posts to my attention from the AwareofAware blog

https://www.sciencealert.com/ketamine-ex...een-before

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-66023-8

I thought it was very interesting, wanted to see what you guys thought. I think that the differences between Ketamine and NDEs are still pretty tangibly clear, but the EEG readings in this are certainly interesting. I wonder what Kastrup would have to say about this.

To me, I think of course big differences are the fact that in NDEs with 0 EEG you aren't breathing, unlike Ketamine, alongside the normal thing of ketamine hallucinations being very powerfully different from NDEs, vague balls of light and dead relatives compared to weird trippy visuals, not to mention the anxiety that can come along from the most hardcore parts of the trip. Another one to me is that you can't remember Ketamine trips, they are recorded like dreams, but with NDEs they are recorded in your brain like real, living memories, which is very different just from the get go.
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I'll just respond with some comments I myself left on the blog in regards to the skeptic's posts which I still stand by: 

Quote:I’d go as far as to say it’s the least plausible of the drug/chemical explanations.
https://www.drugs.com/illicit/ketamine.html


The higher dosage is what some have tried to compare to an NDE, but the issue is that most of these K-Hole experiences lack several aspects of NDEs and have ‘often been reported as terrifying’, whereas hellish NDEs are a less common type.
Irreducible Mind also had this to say: ‘Unlike the vast majority of NDEs, ketamine experiences are often frightening and involve bizarre imagery, and patients usually express the wish not to repeat the experience. Most ketamine users also recognize the illusory character of their experience…Many important features of NDEs, such as seeing deceased people or a revival of memories, have not been reported with ketamine. Furthermore, ketamine typically causes its effects in an otherwise more or less normal brain, while many NDEs occur under conditions in which brain function is severely compromised…’
Here’s another example: https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ketamine/
Side-effects listed there include: confusion, clumsiness, anxiety, panic, vomiting etc.
Also, the after-effects after intake of ketamine include: memory loss, disorientation, clumsiness, aches/pains and even depression.

Additionally, they say the effects are similar, not identical. There are still several differences that have to be taken into account and the effects can’t just be cherry-picked or ignored. You can find several other criticisms of the drug theories on Psychology Today by Steve Taylor. 
I read that study and couldn't really figure out why the skeptic was implying it was relevant and had 'debunked' the 'myth' that NDErs like Pam Reynolds had no brain activity or something. And just because Greyson seemingly 'endorses' a neurological explanation doesn't mean that's really his personal opinion-he clarified that to me in regards to a recent publication he was heavily involved in on terminal lucidity. The same can probably apply to Parnia.
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(2020-11-19, 01:45 AM)OmniVersalNexus Wrote: I read that study and couldn't really figure out why the skeptic was implying it was relevant and had 'debunked' the 'myth' that NDErs like Pam Reynolds had no brain activity or something. And just because Greyson seemingly 'endorses' a neurological explanation doesn't mean that's really his personal opinion-he clarified that to me in regards to a recent publication he was heavily involved in on terminal lucidity. The same can probably apply to Parnia.

I think they mean in regards to something like: if the sheep can lose all eeg because of ketamine, but they're still breathing and are alive, then that means even in someone like Pam Reynolds they must have had secret undetectable brain activity that is responsible for the whole experience. I don't think that's right, but it was what they were getting at I think.

When it comes to researchers, I think that was more their lack of knowledge about the topic than anything. The report including Greyson is more along the lines of "We can't say ketamine doesn't cause NDEs and should keep studying it because if ketamine can improve mental health like them that's good", plus it's not like he was talking about any of the crazy stuff about NDEs in that report, purely the similarities between the two. Parnia doesn't go either way I reckon, he's more interested in the doctor side of it, how long does consciousness last so I can better save this person. Though from what he's said in the past I'd say he has an incling that NDEs are beyond normal weirdness.
I think it's the veridical cases, specifically Peak in Darien types, that make NDEs convincing.

While our data, AFAIK, on shamanic spirit journeys is quite sparse I would not be surprised if their brains don't flat line yet they also have Peak in Darien experiences.

That Ketamine produces some aspects of NDEs is like DMT producing some aspects. Seems like drugs can open the gateway, or at least crack the door ajar.

"I am no longer as opposed to spiritual explanations of near-death phenomena as my article and this response to the commentaries on it would appear to suggest. Over the past two years . . . I have moved more toward the view put forward by John Lilly and Stanislav Grof: namely, that drugs and psychological disciplines such as meditation and yoga may render certain “states” more accessible. . . . After 12 years of studying ketamine, I now believe that there most definitely is a soul that is independent of experience. It exists when we begin, and may persist when we end. Ketamine is a door to a place we cannot normally get to; it is definitely not evidence that such a place does not exist."

 -Karl Jansen
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2020-11-19, 02:35 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I think it's the veridical cases, specifically Peak in Darien types, that make NDEs convincing.

While our data, AFAIK, on shamanic spirit journeys is quite sparse I would not be surprised if their brains don't flat line yet they also have Peak in Darien experiences.

That Ketamine produces some aspects of NDEs is like DMT producing some aspects. Seems like drugs can open the gateway, or at least crack the door ajar.

"I am no longer as opposed to spiritual explanations of near-death phenomena as my article and this response to the commentaries on it would appear to suggest. Over the past two years . . . I have moved more toward the view put forward by John Lilly and Stanislav Grof: namely, that drugs and psychological disciplines such as meditation and yoga may render certain “states” more accessible. . . . After 12 years of studying ketamine, I now believe that there most definitely is a soul that is independent of experience. It exists when we begin, and may persist when we end. Ketamine is a door to a place we cannot normally get to; it is definitely not evidence that such a place does not exist."

 -Karl Jansen

That's why I wondered about someone like Kastrup, I've read some of his stuff before and he's mentioned about it only making sense to have more wild experiences when you have less brain activity, because it's less of a filter.
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https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266379#1

The skeptic has cited this as another example of evidence of 'deep brain activity' while having a flat EEG. I'm confused as to why he then continually admits it's 'nothing new'-does he assume folks like Parnia are ignorant of this? 

Also, the researchers did mention this:
Quote:However, Dr. Amzica warns of the importance of understanding exactly what these findings mean, particularly for patients and their relatives:

[b]“Those who have decided to or have to ‘unplug’ a near-brain-dead relative needn’t worry or doubt their doctor. The current criteria for diagnosing brain death are extremely stringent. Our finding may perhaps in the long term lead to a redefinition of the criteria, but we are far from that. Moreover, this is not the most important or useful aspect of our study.”[/b]


There's also this article which summarises some limitations of EEG in determining death I think: https://sapienlabs.org/dead-or-alive-ret...-line-eeg/
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-19, 08:49 AM by OmniVersalNexus.)
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I'll just make this one comment on this thread and leave it at that because I'm not qualified to make statements from my own opinion on this subject. The guy on the Aware blog who linked to the study on sheep, has not the slightest comprehension of even the basics of what is known (generally) about anaesthesia.

From that paper :

Most strikingly, when the animals were given high doses at one stage of the experiment, electroencephalography (EEG) readings of their cortical activity appeared to show brain activity turning off completely, in an instant.
This complete cessation of cortical EEG activity – a phenomenon that the team says has never previously been described – lasted for up to several minutes in the test subjects, before their brain activity roused once more.
"This wasn't just reduced brain activity. After the high dose of ketamine the brains of these sheep completely stopped.

Forgive me but I'm at a loss to know how this debunks the mystery of veridical perception during anaesthesia ? That is exactly how high levels of anaesthetic (such as ketamine) affect the brain. They shut it down, period. In general anaesthesia, the brain is shut down to the level of the brainstem, not just the cortex, and it's maintained that way. That's why they have to connect you up to a ventilator to breathe for you as the autonomous breathing function (that's why you breath when asleep) of the brainstem is knocked out. 
 
If your brainstem is down (as in cardiac arrest) you are gone. Everything that makes us human is processed through the brain stem. Of course, when the anaesthesia wears off, you come back. But no one really knows WHY even up to this day, believe it or not. It just works and thank goodness it does for all of us.

In Pam Reynolds case, the maximum amount of anaesthetic possible was administered (without killing her). THAT level is termed burst suppression because it is categorically impossible to have any experience going on anywhere in your brain under it. You cannot wake up during burst suppression. You cannot wake up during general anaesthesia either in theory, but because in extremely rare cases some people are able to tolerate it (they don't know why) some patients very occasionally do. (about 0.1% or less) depending on which study you look at. 

I don't care what some students in a university somewhere think they've demonstrated. I listen to medical professionals who have performed these operations/procedures for years. Even arch sceptic Gerald Woerlee admits that burst suppression removes any possibility of experience full stop.

If you look at the "completely stopped" bit above in the sheep study, this is perfectly consistent with what Spetzler has always referred to when talking about the mystery of the Pam Reynolds case. 

"We don't just want the brain to be asleep, we want all the metabolic activity to come to a stop" (not verbatim) The brain is disconnected. Whatever experience is then reported, it cannot be from the electrical and chemical activity between the synapses of the billions of neurons in the brain. it must be something else.

I don't know what that young guy's problem is on that blog but I'm fed up with trying to point out the basics about this to him. If you want my honest and some might say unkind opinion, the guy is either an idiot or a wind-up merchant. I hope it's the latter, for his sake.    
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-19, 09:54 AM by tim.)
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(2020-11-19, 09:51 AM)tim Wrote: Forgive me but I'm at a loss to know how this debunks the mystery of veridical perception during anaesthesia ? That is exactly how high levels of anaesthetic (such as ketamine) affect the brain. They shut it down, period. In general anaesthesia, the brain is shut down to the level of the brainstem, not just the cortex, and it's maintained that way. That's why they have to connect you up to a ventilator to breathe for you as the autonomous breathing function (that's why you breath when asleep) of the brainstem is knocked out.

----- 

 
I don't care what some students in a university somewhere think they've demonstrated. I listen to medical professionals who have performed these operations/procedures for years. Even arch sceptic Gerald Woerlee admits that burst suppression removes any possibility of experience full stop.

If you look at the "completely stopped" bit above in the sheep study, this is perfectly consistent with what Spetzler has always referred to when talking about the mystery of the Pam Reynolds case. 

"We don't just want the brain to be asleep, we want all the metabolic activity to come to a stop" (not verbatim) The brain is disconnected. Whatever experience is then reported, it cannot be from the electrical and chemical activity between the synapses of the billions of neurons in the brain. it must be something else.

I don't know what that young guy's problem is on that blog but I'm fed up with trying to point out the basics about this to him. If you want my honest and some might say unkind opinion, the guy is either an idiot or a wind-up merchant. I hope it's the latter, for his sake.    

I don't think the original study at all was related to NDEs, I just think this one guy grabbed onto it. We've already know for ages that you can stop regular EEG and someone can be still alive, it's other stuff that's the issue. I think that for a lot of people there's a general lack of knowledge for what makes NDEs so special, so even for a layperson they'll see something like this and go "Well brain activity time to move on".

But then I don't want this to turn into another bad skeptics are bad at being skeptics thread. To me it was interesting how this might relate Ketamine to NDEs. The one, biggest similarity between NDEs and Ketamine is the k-hole, where you just lose everything for a moment. The thing is there though that it's normaly completely dissacociative, you lose your body and everything, compared to the keeness of individuality you have during an NDE. Not to mention the structure of course, or yknow, dead relatives instead of trippy horses made out of hundreds of colours, and memory, and life changing effects.

To do some wild speculating, I wonder if the huge drop in EEG could send someone into a NDE like state, and during that brief moment you experience something similar, but then due to being still alive you continue on the rest of your trip while in NDEs they continue as we know. I also wonder how relaxing and letting go might relate, since I've read how in drug experiences attempting to resist can make it worse, like in some NDEs.

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