It seems that scientists have finally offered some concrete evidence that life after death really does exist, as the largest-ever study into the issue showed that patients could recall intricate details despite being officially declared clinically dead.
Researchers based at the UK’s University of Southampton, who were involved in the AWARE (“AWAreness during REsuscitation”) study published in the journal Resuscitation, claim that almost 40 percent of people who survived clinical death described some kind of “awareness” during the time before their hearts were restarted.
The study, led by Dr. Sam Parnia, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, spanned four years and involved 15 hospitals in the US, UK and Austria and more than 2,060 cases of cardiac arrest.
“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” The Telegraph reported Parnia as saying. “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.”
Parnia's team tracked down 330 patients who survived heart attacks; 140 of whom were willing to talk about their experiences. Of those who were interviewed, 61 percent said they didn’t remember anything, but the rest did.
Parnia says that one patient described everything that was happening in the room while he was receiving CPR, even after his heart had stopped.
“The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three-minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for,” Parnia said. “He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.”
The probe into the life-after-death realm showed that 46 percent experienced a broad range of mental recollections and 2 percent showed full awareness of their out-of-body experiences. From those interviewed, 13 percent claim they felt separated from their bodies.
A few recurring themes in memories were established, most common ones being fear, violence, and “a feeling of being persecuted.” Patients also experienced after-life images of family, animals and a bright light.
Researchers believe that the newest study shows a need to explore the subject area further.
“Estimates have suggested that millions of people have had vivid experiences in relation to death but the scientific evidence has been ambiguous at best,” Parnia said. “These experiences warrant further investigation.”