What is going on in the Brain Stem during Near Death Experiences

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This is just a question from me since you guys know a bit more. I've read a few interesting neuroscience articles talking about the importance of the brainstem and its relation to consciousness functioning recently and it made be curious. 

During things like cardiac arrest, does the brain stem have any activity going on or is it quiet? I wonder if with further research something like brainstem activity could be brought up against NDEs.
(2021-06-22, 07:02 AM)Smaw Wrote: I wonder if with further research something like brainstem activity could be brought up against NDEs.
Hmm, I'm not the person to answer the technical question, about the workings of the brain. Forum member @tim is better versed in that area.

However, I'm just curious as to how a person acquiring knowledge of what is taking place in another room, in a distant part of a hospital might be explained by hypothetical brainstem activity? Or the other types of knowledge such as the person knowing of someone who has only recently died, and had no conventional way of knowing, but describes meeting them and passing on details of what happened to them or bringing some message from them.

In your opinion, is this a usual function of the brainstem, or indeed any other part of the brain?
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(2021-06-22, 07:22 AM)Typoz Wrote: However, I'm just curious as to how a person acquiring knowledge of what is taking place in another room, in a distant part of a hospital might be explained by hypothetical brainstem activity? Or the other types of knowledge such as the person knowing of someone who has only recently died, and had no conventional way of knowing, but describes meeting them and passing on details of what happened to them or bringing some message from them.

In your opinion, is this a usual function of the brainstem, or indeed any other part of the brain?

I mean you know I don't think it is. To throw wild points it could be relevant to the survival vs super psi debate. I'm mostly asking since I don't know, and I feel like it's good to get your feelers out on new developments. If a lot of subconscious stuff is related to the brainstem and potentialy even some regular conscious activity related too, AND there's still brainstem activity during NDEs, what does that mean for NDEs? Certainly not that they're all bunk, but it's relevant.
(2021-06-22, 07:02 AM)Smaw Wrote: This is just a question from me since you guys know a bit more. I've read a few interesting neuroscience articles talking about the importance of the brainstem and its relation to consciousness functioning recently and it made be curious. 

During things like cardiac arrest, does the brain stem have any activity going on or is it quiet? I wonder if with further research something like brainstem activity could be brought up against NDEs.

There is a boatload of empirical evidence for the independent existence of the human spirit, including veridical NDEs and verified reincarnation memories. This evidence indicates that the physical brain is the means by which the spirit manifests in the physical world, and that the brain definitely doesn't generate consciousness. This new brain research indicates that this "means of physical manifestation" could include the brainstem, which might be the input gateway. 

The TV set analogy could be used. In the case of satellite TV such as DIRECTV or DISH, the brainstem could be like the RF tuner that first receives the satellite RF TV signal from the antenna and converts it into digital raster scan form for the TV input circuits. The brainstem could be the "input receiver" for the consciousness signal. A very rough analogy.
(This post was last modified: 2021-06-22, 09:35 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(2021-06-22, 07:51 AM)Smaw Wrote: I mean you know I don't think it is. To throw wild points it could be relevant to the survival vs super psi debate. I'm mostly asking since I don't know, and I feel like it's good to get your feelers out on new developments. If a lot of subconscious stuff is related to the brainstem and potentialy even some regular conscious activity related too, AND there's still brainstem activity during NDEs, what does that mean for NDEs? Certainly not that they're all bunk, but it's relevant.
Thanks for the reply. How do you think it's relevant, what would it mean for you?



The reason I asked the original question about veridical information is that it gets close to at least one aspect of the NDE phenomenon. A rhetorical question (no need to answer unless you wish) is this: why does anyone talk about NDEs at all, why are they interesting?

Is it because people have hallucinations and delusional visions, entering into some crazy dream-world? No, it is because they seem level-headed and to contain both factual information and timeless wisdom. If it was all crazy stuff, no-one would care, certainly not me, it wouldn't be discussed on this forum, or have attracted so much attention.

Around the edges there are those who attach themselves, these include both debunkers and some types of religious fanatics, each trying to put their own spin and interpretation on things.

Well, here, yes we're open to evidence-based challenges, but I don't see where the brainstem or other brain-related questions play any role. If someone has a conversation with someone who is deceased, returning accurate factual information which they could not have known, yet they had every reason to think the person was still alive and well in this physical world, then to the brainstem question I can only say so what? If we have contact with the deceased, that is news, do we discount it because we think it should come from a different type of messenger? Why do our expectations on the messenger matter so much?

I have long held the view (in agreement with NDE researchers such as Jan Holden) that NDEs can take place in circumstances where the brain is healthy and functioning normally. Here's one definition of an NDE which I found online:
Quote:NDEs are "profound psychological events with transcendental and mystical elements, typically occurring to individuals close to death or in situations of intense physical or emotional danger"

Thus for myself personally, I place far less emphasis on the state of the body, for example if we invoke anoxia in the case of say drowning or suffocation, we cannot do so in the case of someone who is simply going about their ordinary life and continues to do so after the NDE, with no physical trauma. Likewise, if we invoke some burst of hallucinatory chemicals into a healthy brain, we know those same chemicals will do nothing in the case of a brain which is shut down. Again, chemicals or lack of them doesn't offer anything useful in terms of explaining veridical information.

Did you read the book, "The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences"? Highly recommended, and two of the co-authors have been members of this very forum, but that's not the sole reason for the recommendation.
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(2021-06-22, 09:32 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: There is a boatload of empirical evidence for the independent existence of the human spirit, including veridical NDEs and verified reincarnation memories. This evidence indicates that the physical brain is the means by which the spirit manifests in the physical world, and that the brain definitely doesn't generate consciousness. This new brain research indicates that this "means of physical manifestation" could include the brainstem, which might be the input gateway. 

The TV set analogy could be used. In the case of satellite TV such as DIRECTV or DISH, the brainstem could be like the RF tuner that first receives the satellite RF TV signal from the antenna and converts it into digital raster scan form for the TV input circuits. The brainstem could be the "input receiver" for the consciousness signal. A very rough analogy.

I know the evidence, and the analogy, but if NDEs are to be considered water tight then wouldn't it make sense to inquire about what parts of the brain if any are still active?

(2021-06-23, 08:01 AM)Typoz Wrote: Thanks for the reply. How do you think it's relevant, what would it mean for you?



The reason I asked the original question about veridical information is that it gets close to at least one aspect of the NDE phenomenon. A rhetorical question (no need to answer unless you wish) is this: why does anyone talk about NDEs at all, why are they interesting?

Is it because people have hallucinations and delusional visions, entering into some crazy dream-world? No, it is because they seem level-headed and to contain both factual information and timeless wisdom. If it was all crazy stuff, no-one would care, certainly not me, it wouldn't be discussed on this forum, or have attracted so much attention.
---
Well, here, yes we're open to evidence-based challenges, but I don't see where the brainstem or other brain-related questions play any role. If someone has a conversation with someone who is deceased, returning accurate factual information which they could not have known, yet they had every reason to think the person was still alive and well in this physical world, then to the brainstem question I can only say so what? If we have contact with the deceased, that is news, do we discount it because we think it should come from a different type of messenger? Why do our expectations on the messenger matter so much?

I have long held the view (in agreement with NDE researchers such as Jan Holden) that NDEs can take place in circumstances where the brain is healthy and functioning normally. Here's one definition of an NDE which I found online:

Thus for myself personally, I place far less emphasis on the state of the body, for example if we invoke anoxia in the case of say drowning or suffocation, we cannot do so in the case of someone who is simply going about their ordinary life and continues to do so after the NDE, with no physical trauma. Likewise, if we invoke some burst of hallucinatory chemicals into a healthy brain, we know those same chemicals will do nothing in the case of a brain which is shut down. Again, chemicals or lack of them doesn't offer anything useful in terms of explaining veridical information.

Did you read the book, "The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences"? Highly recommended, and two of the co-authors have been members of this very forum, but that's not the sole reason for the recommendation.

I have read the book, and I know what you mean. If the brainstem is active in any regard it doesn't mean much alongside the other evidence. I suppose it could be a curiosity thing, or to find out how water tight NDEs during cardiac arrest are when it comes to there being zero activity.

I'm not disagreeing or implying anything, I just wanna know.
(2021-06-23, 08:32 AM)Smaw Wrote: I know the evidence, and the analogy, but if NDEs are to be considered water tight then wouldn't it make sense to inquire about what parts of the brain if any are still active?
That's only one angle. I have (and please don't take offence) in the past called it "The One Active Brain-Cell Hypothesis". That is, as long as there is at least one cell, somewhere in the brain, which is still alive, then that explains NDEs. The idea being that the one little tiny brain-cell all by itself (in my extreme version) can generate a much richer version of consciousness, embracing great knowledge and insight, as well as the ability to see in 360° vision and seeing other colours beyond the usual visible spectrum. The experience of a 'realer than real' existence. That poor little brain-cell working so hard and generating all that richness of experience and knowledge.

So what is the role of all the other brain-cells, when they come back online? To cry "Shut up, you fool! Don't give the game away!. Be quiet."

It is indeed a curious model of the brain.

Please don't take any of this personally. I just find the whole thing hard to grasp. Mainly because in this model, one part of the brain is working in opposition to all the other parts. There's something very unsatisfactory about a brain in conflict with itself. I'm not sure why it would be appealing or indeed make any kind of sense. It seems incoherent.
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(2021-06-23, 08:32 AM)Smaw Wrote: I know the evidence, and the analogy, but if NDEs are to be considered water tight then wouldn't it make sense to inquire about what parts of the brain if any are still active?


I have read the book, and I know what you mean. If the brainstem is active in any regard it doesn't mean much alongside the other evidence. I suppose it could be a curiosity thing, or to find out how water tight NDEs during cardiac arrest are when it comes to there being zero activity.

I'm not disagreeing or implying anything, I just wanna know.

I agree it might be of interest, but it would be entirely irrelevant to the I consider overwhelming body of empirical evidence for the sometimes separation of the human spirit from the physical body, in particular during NDEs and in reincanation cases. The area of interest might be to study what may be the mechanism of separation. There are many reports of psychically "seeing" a "silver cord" connecting the separated human spirit and the physical body. Presumably this connecting link enters the body at some stregically placed location where the spirit can fully maintain some sort of active interface with the physical body especially the brain. As long as whatever this structure is, is alive and active, presumably the spirit can reenter the body and brain. When the brainstem is disfunctional or dead, presumably the spirit cannot reenter the body and must go on to its natural destinaton.

Following this model, the brainstem could be this structure, designed to have this interface function in addition to its other functions. I don't remember where the "silver cord" has been psychically seen to enter the body, but it might be directly at the brainstem, or in some place directly connected to it.

It would be interesting to investigate this hypothesis. It could start by attempting to verify that with NDEs the brainstem is always still active even if the rest of the brain is disfunctional. If this is the case perhaps it would be a partial confirmation of the hypothesis.
(This post was last modified: 2021-06-23, 03:21 PM by nbtruthman.)
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Personally, I'm much less sure of the significance of the 'silver cord'. Older writings on out-of-body experiences referred to it extensively. But more recently it seems to appear somewhat intermittently, almost as though it could be a cultural artefact. I think its role in describing the connection between soul (or spirit - I'm flexible on language) and the body may be to some extent symbolic, in much the same way as some NDEs describe reaching a barrier such as a river or a doorway which they are told they may not cross, as to do so would mean no possible return to the body. Presumably on crossing the river, the silver cord is severed. As I say, I'm not sure to what extent these are representations of a concept, just as a diagram of electrons whirling in orbit around the atomic nucleus are representing a concept rather than the actual visual appearance.

Well, those are my thoughts, opinions. I'm not in any position to be definitive.
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(2021-06-23, 03:16 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: I agree it might be of interest, but it would be entirely irrelevant to the I consider overwhelming body of empirical evidence for the sometimes separation of the human spirit from the physical body, in particular during NDEs and in reincanation cases. The area of interest might be to study what may be the mechanism of separation. There are many reports of psychically "seeing" a "silver cord" connecting the separated human spirit and the physical body. Presumably this connecting link enters the body at some stregically placed location where the spirit can fully maintain some sort of active interface with the physical body especially the brain. As long as whatever this structure is, is alive and active, presumably the spirit can reenter the body and brain. When the brainstem is disfunctional or dead, presumably the spirit cannot reenter the body and must go on to its natural destinaton.

(2021-06-23, 05:56 PM)Typoz Wrote: Personally, I'm much less sure of the significance of the 'silver cord'. Older writings on out-of-body experiences referred to it extensively. But more recently it seems to appear somewhat intermittently, almost as though it could be a cultural artefact. I think its role in describing the connection between soul (or spirit - I'm flexible on language) and the body may be to some extent symbolic, in much the same way as some NDEs describe reaching a barrier such as a river or a doorway which they are told they may not cross, as to do so would mean no possible return to the body. Presumably on crossing the river, the silver cord is severed. As I say, I'm not sure to what extent these are representations of a concept, just as a diagram of electrons whirling in orbit around the atomic nucleus are representing a concept rather than the actual visual appearance.

I'm kinda in the same boat as you Typoz. Silver chord seems a bit old fashioned and not as big a thing nowdays. But then I suppose a lot of old reported stuff aren't as big nowdays. Honestly I don't give much weight to the uncrossable barrier either, since there's been reports of people crossing that barrier and waking up. If I wanted to wildly speculate you could say that while you might be 'ready' to cross that threshold, that doesn't mean the doctors can't still bring you back by force. 

And I know about the amount of evidence thruthman but I just like to air on the side of caution. We have to be the harshest critics towards ourselves, and even if like Typoz said the 1 brain cell kinda argument sounds silly, I feel it's important to weight it up despite of the other evidence that exists alongside NDEs. But then I've always been very...I dunno prone to doubt or influence from skepticism when it comes to this stuff. Easy to second guess myself.
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