Near-death experiences are most often described as life-changing at best, traumatic at worst. However, a new study has found that patients who experienced brushes with death may not have been as moved by the events as one would expect.
What Are the Details of This New Study of Near-Death Experience Survivors?
Dying sucks even more after scientists reveal Near-Death experience to be just ‘electrical surges in a dying brain’: http://t.co/JLWr4nge9h— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 14, 2013
In what many are calling one of the first studies of its kind, researchers collected data from 19 people who had undergone near-death experience in intensive care units. The researchers followed up with them 12 months after the near-death experience. The results were published in Critical Care.
The patients had been admitted to the ICU for a wide range of ailments, pertaining to the respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, kidney, neurological, and metabolic functions.
Three to seven days after their near-death experiences, they were interviewed; researchers asked them if the experiences had been dissociative. The patients were also asked about their spiritual beliefs, as these beliefs may have influenced their perceptions of their experiences.
As expected, these patients almost unanimously reported dissociative symptoms, which the Daily Mail described as “feeling disconnected from oneself, feeling little to no pain, and feeling uncertain about who you are – and increased spiritual and personal well-being.”
Did the Study Yield New Findings on Near-Death Experience Survivors?
A year after their near-death experiences, researchers contacted the sample patients again, asking questions that intended to “measure their quality of life.”
After a year, it was recorded that patients overall had no difference in the quality of life when compared to before their incidences.
These findings greatly contradict our culture’s assumptions about near-death experiences.
What Even Qualifies as a “Near-Death Experience”?
Near Death Experiences are real, but in no way spooky. Just our brains doing brain things. https://t.co/JW49ypk5CR— Sean Carroll (@seanmcarroll) October 6, 2022
There are, of course, standards that must be met in order for an experience to qualify as an NDE. According to Dr. Bruce Greyson, developer of the NDE scale, an NDE is defined as an “intensely vivid and often life-transforming experiences, often occurring under extreme physiological conditions such as life-threatening trauma, cardiac arrest, or deep anesthesia.”
Greyson himself conducted a study in 2022 that found that those who experienced NDEs experienced vastly different qualities of life than they did prior to their NDE, a contradiction to the more recent Critical Care study.
The Critical Care researchers wrote that more research will be needed to accurately determine the likelihood of an NDE drastically altering the quality of one’s life.
It has been suggested that one’s spiritual beliefs may play a vital role in their interpretation of an NDE.