Talk Nerdy to Me asks, "What Happens When We Die?"
On July 13, 2012 At 9:44 pm
Responses : 4 Comments
The near-death experience could be nothing more than "a really good trip". Cara Santa Maria explains in the video at the end of this article.
Many people who say they had a near-death experience often report calmness, lack of fear, and feeling of being one with the universe.
However, there is an explanation for this experience. Basically, the upper part of the brain shuts down and the lower parts of the brain, needed for survival, continue working. Thus, the person is not actually dead and in this case, because only the lower parts of the brain function during a traumatic injury that causes the brain severe trauma, a person may see only a bright light.
What's clear is that when the brain undergoes severe trauma, like reduced oxygen flow, blood pressure drops, or sharp increases in blood carbon dioxide levels, interesting things start to happen psychologically.
First, a white light at the end of a tunnel, as David Hovda, of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center explains, is the only thing we can really expect a person to see as they get closer and closer to death. For efficiency's sake, the brain tends to function only in areas needed for basic survival, like the hindbrain, which includes the pons and medulla. Given that the rest of the higher brain regions are essentially shut down, if visual areas like the superior colliculus or occipital cortex are suddenly activated, no higher-level processing can exist, and a bright light is all we would be able to see.
Researchers inSwitzerlanddiscovered they could induce the same experience by stimulating the temporo-parietal junction on the right side of the brain.
This research offers compelling evidence that disruption of the very brain region thought to be responsible for sensory integration and the so-called sixth sense of proprioception–or understanding where your body is in space–could produce a sensation like we're floating above our own bodies. And anyone who has abused the drugs ketamine or dextromethorphan understands what a dissociative anesthetic can do. These drugs act on NMDA receptors in the brain and can produce a sensation that you're detached from your own body or even from the world. Knowing that out-of-body experiences can be induced both during neurosurgery and recreational drug use provides clues that such experiences likely have a neurological basis.
Dr. Rick Strassman proposed in the 1990s that dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is not only found in the human brain, but the brain releases the chemical in large quantities from the pineal gland as death approaches. DMT, a naturally occurring psychedelic, is called the "spirit molecule" due to the intense psychotropic properties. Researchers are currently researching Strassman's proposal and if found an accurate hypothesis… What a trip!