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Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2019 Jan 11;32(1):163-164. doi: 10.1080/08998280.2018.1542478. eCollection 2019 Jan.

Near-death experiences in medicine.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences CenterLubbockTexas.


Near-death experiences (NDEs) have been a source of controversy within academia and the public. NDEs occur in 10% to 20% of patients who have come close to death and consist of vivid, subjective experiences that occur during life-threatening emergencies. Specifically, NDEs include out-of-body experiences, pleasant feelings, seeing deceased relatives, a life review, or a conscious return into the body. Although alternate psychological and physiological theories have been proposed, several methodological and neuroscientific limitations prevent their verification. Despite these limitations, counselors trained with NDE literature reduced suicidal thoughts, bereavement, and posttraumatic stress disorder among their patient populations. In addition, patients who have experienced an NDE showed significant transformation in their spiritual and emotional lives, with many stating a renewed sense of meaning, existential awareness, and mystical experiences. Family and friends of patients who have experienced an NDE also report increased comfort, hope, and inspiration. Overall, NDEs have positively impacted the medical profession and physician-patient interactions and represent a growing paradigm shift beyond the naturalistic interpretations of science and medicine.


Consciousness; mind-body paradigm; near-death experiences

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