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The science of (after)life: new developments

By - Oct 13, 2014 - Category Articles - Print Print - Version française

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The academic journal Resuscitation recently published the results of a large-scale international study involving 2060 cardiac arrest patients. Sponsored by the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), the study was conducted by a medical research team under the direction of Dr. Sam Parnia, the author of Erasing Death: the Science that is Rewriting the Boundaries between Life and Death. Among the cases reported, the most disturbing are those—very numerous—of patients considered to be “brain-dead”, but who reported, once resuscitated, states of consciousness and even perceptions that seem to have taken place while they were suspended between life and death. The neurosurgeon Eben Alexander gave an account of his own spectacular experience in his 2012 best-selling book Proof of Heaven. It has become clear that such cases are not so uncommon, and they are now also better understood. According to the article published in Resuscitation, one case of verifiable conscious awareness was even attested to in the absence of any clinical evidence of brain activity. Scientists thus cautiously highlight a critical phenomenon that may support the claim that consciousness is partly independent from its corporal substrate. Is there an afterlife? That is another story, but science is already starting to shed a glimmer of light on such issues.

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Sam Parnia et al., “AWARE—AWAreness during Resuscitation—A prospective study”, Resuscitation, September 2014.

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