The Scientific Explanations Behind Near-Death Experiences

Illustration for article titled The Scientific Explanations Behind Near-Death Experiences

The light at the end of the tunnel. An out-of-body experience. Your life flashing before your eyes. According to Scientific American's Charles Q. Choi, 3% of Americans have had a near-death experience; now scientists are beginning to unravel the biological roots of these experiences.

Choi writes:

Near-death experiences are often thought of as mystical phenomena, but research is now revealing scientific explanations for virtually all of their common features.

...Recently, a host of studies has revealed potential underpinnings for all the elements of such experiences. "Many of the phenomena associated with near-death experiences can be biologically explained," says neuroscientist Dean Mobbs, at the University of Cambridge's Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

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You can read more about the biology underpinning everything from out-of-body experiences to walking corpse syndrome over at Scientific American.

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DISCUSSION

Connie Willis (she's most famous for Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog) wrote a book that explored a science-y (and science fictional) link to near death experiences (NDEs) called Passage and um, well, the Titanic.

Sort of weird but I quite liked it: [www.amazon.com]

(edited to fix book title)