New scientific research on rats appears to provide a better explanation as to what causes near death experiences, in particular, the "light" that so many heart attack patients report having seen. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is a study that shows how the brain continues working for 30 seconds after blood is no longer flowing.
The continued brain activity appears to be what causes near death experiences because people are still processing signals despite not having any blood flow. Not only does brain activity continue past the heart no longer pumping, but it actually increases according to the study.
Electroencephalograms showed that these near death experiences are likely being caused by extremely high levels of brain activity which defies the way most people thought of death. Prior to the study, the general consensus was that brain activity decreased when blood stopped flowing, so these new findings are somewhat shocking.
George Mashour, author the study, stated:
In fact, at near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death.The idea that the brain would exhibit higher levels consciousness during the death process not only provides scientific grounds for near death experiences but it also backs up some spiritual claims regarding life itself.
One of the study's lead authors, Jimo Borjigin says that she hopes this research will provide a foundation for future human studies to investigate near death experiences including the "light" that so many people see following cardiac arrest.
With near death experiences frequently being cited as so-called proof of an afterlife, this study will definitely be seen as intriguing. Humans have always wondered what happens after death and the realization that the brain is more conscious while dying is an amazing piece of information.