The study, known as AWAreness during REsuscitation (AWARE)-II, sheds light on a previously overlooked phenomenon of consciousness during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
This discovery has major implications for our understanding of human consciousness and the nature of near-death experiences.
The AWARE-II study included 567 cardiac arrest patients admitted to hospitals between May 2017 and March 2020.
These patients were placed under standard conditions, including CPR and resuscitation techniques, which were carefully monitored for accuracy.
Shockingly, only 10% of patients recovered sufficiently after in-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation to be discharged. However, the study also analyzed data from 126 self-reported cardiac arrest survivors.
Consciousness during cardiopulmonary resuscitation
One of the most remarkable findings of the study was that 40% of cardiac arrest survivors recalled some level of consciousness during CPR that had previously gone unnoticed.
This suggests that people can be aware of their surroundings and have cognitive experiences even while unconscious.
In a group of patients who had their brain monitored during CPR, nearly 40% had brain activity that returned to near normal, sometimes lasting up to an hour after CPR. This was observed using EEG technology, which detected bursts of gamma, delta, theta, alpha and beta waves associated with higher mental functions.
Survivors spoke of vivid and powerful experiences during near-death episodes. These experiences included observing events without pain or discomfort, and deeply evaluating one’s actions and relationships.
It is important to note that the study distinguished these death experiences from dreams, hallucinations, and other similar conditions. This suggests that the phenomenon of near-death experiences is a separate and unique aspect of human consciousness.
New dimensions of reality
According to researchers, near-death experiences may be associated with a process called disinhibition, in which the dying brain removes its natural inhibitory systems.
This disconnection from normal brain activity may allow access to “new dimensions of reality”, potentially allowing a person to clearly recall memories from early childhood to the moment of death, viewed from a moral perspective.
This suggests that near-death experiences provide insight into a real but little-explored dimension of human consciousness.
Dr. Sam Parnia, senior author of the study and assistant professor at NYU Langone Health School of Medicine, expressed his surprise at the results. He declared:
“Although doctors have long believed that the brain suffers irreversible damage about 10 minutes after the heart stops supplying it with oxygen, our work shows that the brain can show signs of electrical recovery for a long time after cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”
Dr. Parnia believes that these memories and changes in brain waves may indicate universal, common elements of the near-death experience. He also suggests these findings could have implications for restarting the heart, preventing brain injury and even transplantation.
The groundbreaking AWARE-II study from New York University Grossman School of Medicine found that people can recall their death experience within an hour of cardiac arrest.
This study challenges our previous understanding of consciousness during CPR and provides valuable insights into the nature of near-death experiences.
The findings suggest that during these episodes, new dimensions of reality may be available to a person, allowing them to delve deeply into what is happening and recall memories.
This research opens up exciting possibilities for further exploration of the mysteries of human consciousness.