Trigger of Brain Stimulation
Dr. Bruce Greyson's NDE research
Researchers discovered the brain area that is linked to out-of-body
experiences. They found that electrical stimulation of angular gyrus in the brain creates experiences similar to those described by
near-death experiencers. People resuscitated on the operating table speak of being drawn toward a brilliant light, or looking down on their own bodies while the doctors work feverishly to save their lives. A
new study suggests these
OBE and NDEs may be influenced by a portion of the brain misfiring under stress.
However, researchers say that brain-mapping results do not entirely explain these strange reports - nor do reductionist arguments fully explain them. They point to a processing center in the brain known as the angular gyrus. The angular gyrus is thought to play an important role in the way the brain analyzes sensory information to give us a perception of our own bodies. When it misfires, they speculate, the result can be visions of floating outside of ourselves.
The findings were published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
Here is an excerpt:
"We do not fully understand the neurological mechanism that causes OBEs," conceded the study's lead researcher, neurologist Dr. Olaf Blanke at the University Hospitals of Geneva and
Lausanne in Switzerland.
Dr. Bruce Greyson of the University of Virginia said the experiment does not necessarily prove that all OBEs are illusions. He said it is possible that some OBEs occur in different ways than the scientists suspect.
"We cannot assume from the fact that electrical stimulation of the brain can induce OBE-like illusions that all OBEs are therefore illusions," replied University of Virginia neurologist Dr. Bruce Greyson.
The Swiss researchers mapped the brain activity of a 43-year old woman who had been experiencing seizures for 11 years. They implanted electrodes to stimulate portions of her brain's right temporal lobe. The temporal lobe, which includes the angular gyrus structure, is associated with perception of sound, touch, memory and speech. Blanke suspects that the right angular gyrus integrates signals from the visual system, as well as information on touch and balance. When electrical stimulation was applied, the patient reported seeing herself lying in bed, from above, but I only see my legs and lower trunk." She also described herself as
floating near the ceiling.
Millions of people have reported OBEs, but relatively few have been clinically analyzed.
Last December, the British medical journal Lancet published a Dutch study in which 344 cardiac patients were resuscitated from clinical death. About 12 percent reported seeing light at the end of a tunnel, or speaking to dead relatives.
Source: CBS News