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(Cosmiverse)   Scientist gives evidence that mind continues after brain dies   ( divider line
    More: Cool  
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3437 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jul 2001 at 12:17 AM (16 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

43 Comments     (+0 »)
2001-07-04 12:34:50 AM  
"the possibility is certainly there" to suggest that". Yeah, not to ambiguous.
2001-07-04 12:44:17 AM  
Who needs scientific evidence? Just take a look at Tom Green.
2001-07-04 12:48:58 AM  
Skeptics have also suggested that patients' memories occurred during the moments they were leaving or returning to consciousness. But Parnia said that when the brain is traumatized by a seizure or car wreck, the patient generally does not remember moments just before or after losing consciousness.

now, maybe my doctorate isn't in medicine. and maybe i got it off the internet for around forty-five bucks. but i would say that patient's generally don't remember the time period during which they are brain-dead, either.

i mean, my formal education is pretty limited, but i still learned about occam's razor.
2001-07-04 01:28:36 AM  
2001-07-04 01:36:03 AM  
Well if you use the arguement the by occam's razor that when you eliminate all other posibilities the simplest answer is the correct one, then what is the simplest answer?

Multiple people all seeing about the same thing when they are in a state that would generally be considered brain death. How might this be explained to the logical mind?

First we may eliminate any other "visions" or memories that do not conform to the memory that seems to form the general consensus. As they were probably false memories formed by predisposition to a certain mythical idea.

Second we may eliminate mass hysteria, as by the means that they conducted the experiment. And also the three year old child who most likely had not yet had exposure to information on NDE phenomena.

Third we may eliminate the idea of this being a byproduct of chemical reactions of an oxygen starved brain. Because if it was such then it should logically happen in most if not all revived patients. The study showed that memories of the phenomenon are actually not very common. This though could be explained as a reason for the phenomenon though if there could be found a coorelation between brain chemistry and occurance of NDE.

This still leaves a lot of possibilities... which means... there needs to be more research. So no at this point there are only a few possibilites from this research that may discounted
2001-07-04 01:39:03 AM  
Words simply cannot describe the pleasure brought upon one's bottom by wearing women's panties. Out.
2001-07-04 01:44:28 AM  
My brains been dead for years, and yet my soul remains. Or doesn't.
2001-07-04 02:14:09 AM  
I'd consider this more scary than cool... I really don't want to float around the hospital room to see if I shiat a brick upon passing. Although I wouldn't mind going to my own funeral... then I'd leave ghostly turds on everyone's car seats.
2001-07-04 04:06:20 AM  
I did a thesis on this research a bit back; it's been done before. There's actually a lot of interesting phenomena when you die. Chemical reactions, energy dissipation, it's absolutely fasinating. The problem is, the research on the "moment of death" was halted for various religious and political reasons. Or, rather, Official research was halted. Creepily, a lot of the data I found was from the 1940s under Nazi rule. Strange, strange studies.
2001-07-04 04:09:26 AM  
Bear in mind this is on Cosmiverse; The think is, 'brain death' is a bit of a misleading term anyway - when 'we' die, we fail at the system level - but our hair and fingernails will continue to grow for several weeks.

When the brain fails at the 'system level' it doesn't mean the cells die - if it did then revival would not be possible - but the process of system 'failure' and 'reboot' is likely to cause some pretty wierd subjective experiences.

For example, the 'tunnel of light' many near-deat people experience has been shown to be due to the breakdown of cohesion within the visual system, resulting in random firings; because there are far more neurons devoded to the fovealregion of our vision (the bit we read with), the effect of random stimulation is that this part appears to much brighter than the rest - the effect is a blossoming light that appears in the center of view and slowly expands until that 'system failure' occurs - to anyone later revived and of a religious bent, that may well feel like falling into a 'tunnel of light'.

So Nyahh.
2001-07-04 04:10:10 AM  
BTW, my typing skillz are near-death too
2001-07-04 06:00:54 AM  
Code, Mungo, you guys are right on. The "tunnel of light" vision as a result of optic failure probably does explain many of that common report. And Code, your idea that visions are maybe "false memories formed by predisposition to a certain mythical idea" is dead-on. How many Christians see heaven? How many Hindi witness their own reincarnations? Killer ideas to be explored there.

When we believe in something so tenuous as religion, how can we see anything different other than our own vision of Heaven at the onset of death? Thes are cultural notions.

Don't get me wrong. I really don't know. The last time I felt the Reaper breathing down my cold, wet, neck, my only thoughts were "fark! I just broke my favorite surfboard!" and "Damn, it's hard to breathe down here!"
2001-07-04 06:16:32 AM  
But Mungo if that was the actual reason for the NDE phenomena... then why is that every single person who is revived from being clinicaly dead have that experience. The fact is that many people do not see the so called "tunnel of light". In fact many do not have any memories at all from that period of time.

If the "tunnel of light" was witnessed by all, or even a majority of people revived from death then I could easily accept it as being random neurons firing in the foveal region. But the fact that this is not that common leads me to believe that this is an incomplete answer. Unless a causal coorelation between the "tunnel of light" and some special chemical state of the brain in some people can be proven, I can not logically see why the "tunnel of light" would not be experienced by all people revived from death.

Now I am not saying that we live in some dualistic reality with souls, and spirits, and bogey men and such. I just cannot logically over come that one inconsistantcy in the presently accepted theory for why a few people see a tunnel of light when they are revived from death, because it cannot explain why everybody does not experience it.
2001-07-04 07:49:35 AM  
adding that further research might reveal the existence of a soul.

This has already been done. Soviet researchers weighted a person about to die before and right after his/her death. They concluded that the soul weighs 5 grams (or whatever the figure was), because that was the difference in the weight between the still-living and the dead body. I don't know if this particular research can be taken any more seriously.

Code: Since not all people experience the "tunnel of light", wouldn't that suggest that it was some physiological freak occurence? I mean if it was the soul rising to the heavens, wouldn't everyone *have* to experience it? In science, you have the possibility that not all conditions are met for an event to occur, in religion (or spirituality or whatever), everybody should have the same experience.
2001-07-04 09:17:12 AM  
Code: The Recall of a common event can be rare. For example, most people, when it comes down to it, cannot recall the sensation of actually falling asleep - mainly because the processes involved in transcribing memories are among those that are shutting down for the night.

Similarly if you are undergoing systemic failure due to temporary oxygen deprivation, for example, it's only going to be incertain cases that this experience survives for recall - indeed, it is unlikely for a variety of neurochemical reasons; there are a bunch of neurotransmitters unique to an area called the Hippocampus (involved in short term memory transcription) that turn 'toxic' in low oxygen conditions - this is why so many stroke victims lose their memory - the Hippocampus is vunerable to low oxygen levels caused by haemmoraging.

Anyway, the upshot is that during near death the memory transcription process is one of the first things to go, and one of the first things to become irrecoverable. It may be that only in people with 'poor' visual cortical blood supplies that they experience this effect before their memory system fail, making the recall of a common event rare.

2001-07-04 09:20:20 AM  
BTW there are a whole lot of things about the concept of a 'soul' that people don't really think through - if the soul is the seat of your conciousness, then there are an awful lot of dead infants having a pretty crap time in heaven. Similarly of conciousness is not coporeal, how do drugs work? How does an adrenaline rush work?

At the end of the day, who you are is heavily determined by what you are - even if you were able to divore some 'soul' from your body, the entity that survived would not be you..
2001-07-04 09:21:10 AM  
Five grams! Jeez, I gotta lose some weight... I'll never float up to heaven with that much mass.

Let's see....five grams converted to pure energy.... hmm... that's 4.5x1014 joules. Wow! I guess I can blast my way into heaven! Cool!
2001-07-04 09:30:40 AM  
While I would like to believe this study, I recently read about another discovery that could explain new and/or false memories being created.

Essentially, memories are recalled electrically, but stored chemically. So even if they are not recording any brain activity, that is electrically activity. That wouldn't stop new memories from being created chemically.
2001-07-04 10:03:39 AM  
"Third we may eliminate the idea of this being a byproduct of chemical reactions of an oxygen starved brain. Because if it was such then it should logically happen in most if not all revived patients"

not really. The article clearly states that most patients have no memory of such events. Even if it did happen to ALL people, only a few recall the events after recovery.
2001-07-04 10:19:40 AM  
that is so sick. "You have two minutes to live. Would you mind lying on these scales?"
2001-07-04 10:31:54 AM  
Scribe, you make it sound like the person dying *HAD* a choice :)
2001-07-04 10:39:49 AM  
"but our hair and fingernails will continue to grow for several weeks."

No, they don't. The scalp and cuticles retract after death, giving the appearance of growth.

As for this article, I'm not finding any "evidence," simply a bunch of stories from people. Why do they see the same thing? Maybe it's because of years of people spewing legends of a "bright light" and "divine presence" after death.
2001-07-04 11:54:55 AM  
ToasterThief, is any of that info available online? I'd love to read about some of that research.
2001-07-04 12:18:37 PM  
Code_Archeologist: if a tree falls in the forest does anyone hear? only if there is someone around to listen to it. everybody has dreams; not everyone remembers them.

brains do some pretty funky stuff; they do it regardless of whether a viewer is present or not. some people remember the tunnel of light because their mental viewer was sufficiently "on", some dont. because maybe they were too farked up to be a decent viewer of the light show. they did, after all reboot the mental computer.
2001-07-04 12:23:31 PM  
Maybe souls are really just people playing in an arcade. Those who die young are novice players. Those who make it to level 120 are advanced players. When we die we see a big "Game Over" then suddenly realise we had our faces pressed up against the screen. And then our eternal rewards are stuffed animals, sea monkeys, and Chinese finger traps.
2001-07-04 12:23:56 PM  
regarding the before and after weight:

unless the guy died on the scale and the measurements were split seconds apart, the research is meaningless.
people who are dying tend not to eat much. as such they lose weight naturally.
what was 5 grams would have been 15 pounds if the interval was long enough between measurements
2001-07-04 01:25:06 PM  
As as a scientist I'm skeptical about all of this, but also realize we don't have enough information as far as I know to prove or disprove the metaphysical nature of the NDE phenomenon. As to encoding memories and such without electrical activity chemically, well, Quirked needs to do a little more in-depth study of the workings of the hippocampus and how it works to encode memories. Learning and memory *do* in fact require electrical activity, as the release of neurochemicals involved in the aforementioned requires electrical stimulation. And even then we're just talking about short-term memories. Long term memories involve even more things, like upregulations of ion channels and receptors for this or that neurotransmitter. The somewhat more complicated picture of long-term memory encoding that involves changes in gene expression, etc would be that much more impossible without electrical activity in the brain. And short-term... nada as well.

When doctors say electrical activity, they are talking about EEGs (electroencephalograms) that measure gross mass activity of the brain. Just as you can have electrical signals going from cell to cell within the brain, there are huge waves and quick pulses that go back and forth from brain region to brain region. These do not measure single action potentials between single cell to single cell, but only mass movement of electrical signal from region to region. It might be possible that at the cellular level, small, isolated bits of electrical activity are occurring. Unlikely from the evidence, but a possibility.

Now, then how do these supposed memories form? The bringing up of the fovea of the retina was pretty insightful, as random firing within the brain does occurr as the brain is deprived of oxygen. I have a really hard time believing that memories somehow sublime within the brain when someone dies. I'll believe that when a red dragon appears in front of me and greets me with an arcing wake of flames. I think that memories may form as a person is dying, when random firing is occurring. Because only a few of revived individuals actually hold such memories, it certainly says this is not a common thing to have happen. One would think that everyone would have a soul to erm... remember such an experience, then everyone who underwent the same sort of thing would then remember the experience. But that doesn't happen. There has to be subtle differences in the physical details, what is happening int he real world that would cause or not cause the light-in-the-end-of-the-tunnel experience. But if this is the case, that means the experience is based in something happening to the corporeal brain to allow it, not to the soul. This, firther, makes me skeptical that a soul, entirely separate from the body, is "remembering" something. I'm sick of typing so I'm not going to talk about it any more. If you want to argue or ask anything, I'll check in every now and then.
2001-07-04 01:26:34 PM  
07-04-01 12:18:37 PM 12345678
Code_Archeologist: if a tree falls in the forest does anyone hear?
Did you mean: " If a tree falls in the forest, and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?" ?

My response has been: "Just use a tape recorder."
2001-07-04 01:43:17 PM  
I was excited when I started reading until I realized this is just based on peoples claims. Thats not science. If it were, there'd be proof of UFOs, ghosts, bigfeet, whatever. What would be nice would be to have one of these dead people read something secret thats locked in a safe and report about it.
2001-07-04 01:49:22 PM  
no, the question i asked was exactly as i intended it; it was also a setup for the answer found in the very next sentence.
does a tree make a sound when it falls? the answer depends on your understanding of basic science. does your refrigerator dissapear when you leave the kitchen?
thats up to you. thanks for caring though...
2001-07-04 02:44:33 PM  
Damonkboy actually mostly proved my point better than I did. There is not enough information out there right now to give a diffinitive reason for the NDE phenomenon. The explanations presented have inconsistencies that leave the question open.

Presently I am not convinced that there is any kind of metaphysical reason for the NDE phenomenon. I just think that the reasoning we give for its existance (both physical and metaphysical) is faulty and needs to be researched more thoroughly.
2001-07-04 02:46:28 PM  
Whether its a mystical experience or one grounded in the physical world, isn't the real question, why does it happen to so few people? What conditions does it occur under? Is there a common factor among people who have these memories?

Also, I think that Ephont's assumption that, "...if it was the soul rising to the heavens, wouldn't everyone *have* to experience it?" is not necessarily true. Suppose the brain is simply the physical matter through which the soul maifests thoughts (as suggested by the researcher in the article) and stores memories. In this case the experiences of the soul after the physical body's death might not be remembered by most people, just as in a purely physical model, the point of death is usually not remembered. I'm not saying this is how it is, but it is a possibility.

Whew! So much speculation, so little time.
2001-07-04 03:14:39 PM  
If a tree falls in a forest, and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It depends. If nobody is around to witness it, it both falls and remains standing. Haha, observe my wonderful quantum physics jokes.
2001-07-04 04:03:26 PM  
"Third we may eliminate the idea of this being a byproduct of chemical reactions of an oxygen starved brain. Because if it was such then it should logically happen in most if not all revived patients"

This seems a complete fatuous argument. For example, most everyone dreams but not everyone remembers dreaming. Also, the brain isn't a clockworks machine, natural and biological systems are never 100% consistent.

It's like the "butterfly effect" in weather prediction - tiny changes in the initial conditions can produce very different results. Perhaps it only happen under certain chemical conditions within the brain. Timing, temperature, even what you had for dinner last night could all have an effect.
2001-07-04 04:38:47 PM  
dr unne, when the wave function collapses the laughter is on tho.
2001-07-04 07:13:30 PM  
This is no big news here in America. it is currently being shown that not only can you have rudimentary thoughts after brain death, you can also be elected president.

Sound only exists in the presence of an auditory receptor. The tree falling creates vibrations, but no sound.
2001-07-04 08:43:47 PM  
I said it before, and I'll say it again:

2001-07-04 09:18:05 PM  
Sound only exists in the presence of an auditory receptor. The tree falling creates vibrations, but no sound.

>>>squirrels then, or birds.

what if there is no one around to say "feel them fpharking vibrations"?
eh. i give up. i dont honestly give a damn anymore. maybe the world ceases to exist with every blink.
2001-07-04 09:26:57 PM  
NDE's are either a hangover from cartesian duality or a result of that Ketamine I've been insufflating...

Of course, if you think that this study somehow validates your a priori assumption of an afterlife, that's fine. In fact, I encourage you to believe that the study indicates what this (rather sensationalistic) article purports it to. I'm not totally sure, however, why one would bother using pseudoscience to support what you believe anyway.
2001-07-05 02:38:29 AM  
Entity - A person. Memories make an entity what it is. The sum of entity's personality and mental uniqueness is the result of the addition of all the memories entity acquired since its genesis. Memories are information, which is bits of reality stored in the hardware of the brain. What makes these stored pieces of reality a unique entity and different in function from infinite amounts of identical pieces is their arrangement. An arrangement is an idea, a non-physical concept. Once created an idea cannot be thus destroyed and is beyond the grasp of time. The essence of an entity is therefore unreal and is immortal.
2001-07-05 02:53:02 PM  
I wonder if I will see a great big joint on my passing?

Who cares if you can hear a tree falling when you are not around, I worry about those damned trees when I am around to be crushed, and, oh yes, you will hear me scream even if the tree makes no sound.
2001-07-05 08:57:47 PM  
Even if "the afterlife" is no more than the chemical decay generated delusions of the victims of near death experiences . . I still want to 'go to heaven' when I die.
2001-07-06 03:49:42 PM  
that's pretty good bullseye ;) as this and other research has shown, you can indeed have thoughts in both cases. but they are limited thoughts, not very well remembered, and are almost always bizarre and of a religious nature. ;)
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