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A Biological Explanation for Near-Death Experiences

I came across this fascinating piece about the near-death experience, and thought you'd be interested as well because many more people are trying to explain it. A new study points to one's own biochemistry as the source for such phenomena.

After comparing the health of 55 patients who experienced a near-death episode versus an equal number who didn't, one factor stood out: Rapid eye movement (REM) intrusion.

Those who had near-death experiences were more likely to have REM intrusion, a state in which the boundaries between sleep and wakefulness were blurry and dream sleep interferes with normal consciousness. Among the common traits of REM intrusion: Sudden muscle weakness in the legs and hearing sounds before falling asleep or after waking up that no one else does. Interestingly, 60 percent of near-death patients experienced REM intrusion compared to less than half of the controls.

Although American scientists may have identified a biological trigger for near-death experiences, they wouldn't deny the absence of a spiritual component either.

If you're interested in learning more about the near-death experience, you'll want to read about the work of Dr. Raymond Moody, one of the world's leading experts.

News.telegraph.co.uk April 11, 2006

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