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Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2019 Jul 27;19(9):62. doi: 10.1007/s11910-019-0983-2.

Semiology and Mechanisms of Near-Death Experiences.

Peinkhofer C1,2, Dreier JP3,4,5,6,7, Kondziella D8,9,10.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2
Medical Faculty, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
3
Center for Stroke Research Berlin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
4
Department of Neurology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
5
Department of Experimental Neurology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
6
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
7
Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
8
Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark. daniel_kondziella@yahoo.com.
9
Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Technology and Science, Trondheim, Norway. daniel_kondziella@yahoo.com.
10
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark. daniel_kondziella@yahoo.com.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are conscious perceptual experiences, including self-related emotional, spiritual, and mystical experiences, occurring in close encounters with death or in non-life-threatening situations. The origin of NDEs remains unknown. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of NDE semiology and pathophysiology.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Recent prospective studies confirm that NDEs reflect a spectrum of highly distinctive memories which are associated with negative or positive emotions and can be influenced by the nature of the causal event, but the temporal sequence with which these images unfold is variable. Some drugs, notably ketamine, may lead to experiences that are similar or even identical to NDEs. New models extend previous neural network theories and include aspects of evolutionary and quantum theories. Although the factual existence of NDEs is no longer doubted and the semiology well-described, a pathophysiological model that includes all aspects of NDEs is still lacking.

KEYWORDS:

Brain death; Cardiac arrest; Coma; Consciousness; Death; Out-of-body experiences

PMID:
31352520
DOI:
10.1007/s11910-019-0983-2

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