First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study
Southampton University scientists have found evidence that awareness can continue for at least several minutes after clinical death which was previously thought impossible
Scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.
Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study said:
“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” 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. 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."
Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and of 140 surveyed, 39 per cent said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated. Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness while nearly one third said time had slowed down or speeded up. Some recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others recounted feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water. 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed had been heightened.
Like many struggling to get over the death of a loved one, Katia Apalategui’s mum held on to her late husband’s pillowcase to keep the precious smell of the man she loved.After years of knocking on doors to try and develop her idea, Apalategui was put in touch with the northwestern Havre university which has developed a technique to reproduce the human smell.
“We take the person’s clothing and extract the odor – which represents about a hundred molecules – and we reconstruct it in the form of a perfume in four days.
The powerful link between smell and memory means the product offers “olfactory comfort”, Apalategui claims, on a par with photos, videos and other memories of the deceased.b“We are going through funeral homes to offer families a small box containing a vial of the departed’s odor that we would have extracted from a piece of material provided by them,”
'Social media just wasn't something my husband saw the point of, but it's a huge part of how I grieved and continues to be very important to me,' Bacciaglia said.
Offline or on Facebook, crass is crass when it comes to funerals and memorial services, said David Ryan Polgar, a lawyer and former college professor in West Hartford, Connecticut, who blogs about tech and ethics.
'Would you want to see Google Glass at a funeral? Nothing can replace that human connection,' he said. 'There are certain times for a heightened awareness, a need to stay in the moment, and a funeral is one of them.'
Sometimes the violators are the most grief stricken. A Facebook user once posted a photo of himself at the cemetery with his mother's casket behind him. Another put up a photo of her mother's will in a status update about her role as executor of the estate.
Posting is one thing, Posey said, but web tech can be valuable to the bereaved. His funeral home and others around the country offer livestreams of funerals and memorials as a way for far-flung loved ones to be connected. He sets up 30 to 40 webcasts a year, including one from the funeral of a grandmother so her two grandsons serving in the military in Iraq could be virtually present.