Near Death Experiences & Déjà vu
In Part 4 we delved into the concept of Hypnagogia and how some of the greatest minds in modern history (Edison, Tesla, Newton) c edit this altered state of being for their increased levels of creativity. We also took a look at some of the side effects the hypnagogic state known as sleep paralysis and the phenomena recognized as the “Out of Body Experience”.
One of the more well known phenomena in medical circles as it pertains to an “OBE” is when a patient claims to have seen their body from “up above themselves” during traumatic physiological conditions. This is generally classified as an “NDE” or near death experience.
A 2013 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences outlined the activity of the rat brain following cardiac arrest (heart attack). The findings were as follows:
“We identified a transient surge of synchronous gamma oscillations that occurred within the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest and preceded isoelectric electroencephalogram. Gamma oscillations during cardiac arrest were global and highly coherent; moreover, this frequency band exhibited a striking increase in anterior–posterior-directed connectivity and tight phase-coupling to both theta and alpha waves. High-frequency neurophysiological activity in the near-death state exceeded levels found during the conscious waking state. These data demonstrate that the mammalian brain can, albeit paradoxically, generate neural correlates of heightened conscious processing at near-death.”
One of Dr. Rick Strassman’s theories as it pertains to DMT synthesis inside the human body is at the moment of death or during severe physical trauma. It appears as though while certain mechanics (meditation/hypnosis + breathing) seem to reliably provide the internal environment for DMT synthesis, there are instances when DMT can be produced without the “priming” of the body. In Q4LT’s interview with long-time researcher Dr. Steven Barker, he stated “There is some evidence that DMT is neuroprotective and may play a role in neuronal survival in extreme physiological states.”
While this isn’t an official study, this excerpt from the book Fear of the Unknown: Enlightened Aid-in-Dying by Arthur S. Berger & Joyce Berger adds additional insight to the “CO2 angle”: “There are many other elements that are not like the perceptions during an NDE; nevertheless, Sabon wondered whether the build-up of carbon dioxide in the brain could be the trigger that sets off NDE. Sabom’s only documented case in which both blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels were measured at the time of the patient’s cardiac arrest and NDE seems to argue against this because the patient’s arterial oxygen level was higher than normal and his arterial carbon dioxide level was lower than normal.”
(If we are to remain consistent in regards to our hypothesis of Melatonin acting as a precursor and/or synergistic compound for DMT release in the body/brain, it’d be likely that a significant production/release of Melatonin would take place during the moment of death/“NDE”. There are limited studies in regards to Melatonin release at time of death. However, here are a few studies providing support for Melatonin’s neuroprotective qualities: Experimental Brain Research (2005), Pediatrics International (2005), Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism (2008), Acta Neurochirurgica Supplement (2008), Journal of Veterinary Medicine (2008), Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2009), Current Neuropharmacology (2010), Neural Regeneration Research (2014), and Scientific World Journal (2014).)
A 2009 study in the journal Palliative Medicine published findings regarding a surge of EEG activity at time of death in 7 humans. Some of the key findings were as follows: “In each case, loss of blood pressure, as monitored by indwelling arterial line, was followed by a decline is BIS/PSI activity followed by a transient spike in BIS/PSI activity that approached levels normally associated with consciousness. This spike in electroencephalogram (EEG) activity had short duration and the activity then declined to a level of activity associated with burst suppression.”
While the number of studies in regards to EEG measurement during NDE’s isn’t extensive, it’s intriguing that the few observations appear to correlate with Gamma waves and potentially instantaneous DMT synthesis/release. The anecdotal reports of the experiences during NDE’s sound eerily similar to those that describe regular “OBEs”, DMT/Ayahuasca sessions, deep states of meditation, and somnambulistic states of hypnosis.
The question regarding NDE’s always seems to come down to… was the experience “real”?
Once again… it appears to boil down to the consistency of interpretation of measurable physiological aspects of the body/brain during these states. We’ve gone over this in Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.
If we are to believe that fragmented brain activity, less global coherence and weaker HZ frequency leads to optimally better functioning for the brain and body (based on measurable parameters), then we can logically discard many of the experiences outlined thus far as unfortunate artifacts of a malfunctioning neurological system.
However, if we are to believe that greater brain coherency at a higher Hz frequency coincides with greater optimization of the brain and body (based on measurable parameters), then we must accept some of these experiences as potentially greater truths that have yet to be integrated into our perception of this thing we call “life”… at least from a western, scientific viewpoint. Obviously we would be making this presumption based on the entire body of available data/evidence rather than singular occurrences. While many skeptics cite that the “hallucinations” experienced during NDE’s are simply based on idealistic perceptions of the after-life, Dr. Kenneth Ring published a book titled “Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind”. This book presents cases of people who have had NDE’s and OBE’s while being blind from birth in which the imagery they experienced is extremely similar to that of people who normal visual function.
One of the subjects, Vicki Umipeg stated, “This was the only time I could ever relate to seeing and to what light was, because I experienced it.”
(This is an image provided by Dr. Juan Acosta-Urquidi from his study on exogenous DMT administration published in The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy in 2015. While this image showcases the coherence of Delta EEG waves in volunteers who ingested 5-Meo-DMT, Dr. Acosta-Urquidi stated to Q4LT, “With 5-MeO-DMT 9 out of 10 showed the increased gamma coherence effect. With N, N-DMT, all subjects showed increased gamma coherence.”)
(We do find it intriguing that the brain coherence and phase-coupling activity seen in the rat “NDE” study up above seems to virtually mimic the coherence and phase-coupling seen in Dr. Acosta-Urquidi’s DMT study.)
One of the more controversial contraptions of recent times is known as the “God Helmet”. It was developed by Stanley Koren (originally the “Koren Helmet”) and neuroscientist Dr. Michael Persinger. It was developed to study creativity, religious experience and the effects of subtle stimulation of the temporal lobes. The apparatus, placed on the head of an experimental subject, generates very weak magnetic fields. Persinger reports that many subjects have reported “mystical experiences, altered states, and a sensed presence” while wearing the “God Helmet”.
A 2004 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, showcased an experiment utilizing the “God Helmet”. The findings were as follows: “Only the circumcerebral presentation of the first pulse for 25 ms followed by an acceleration of +2 ms to each of the other 7 solenoids (the last duration = 11 ms) resulted in a significant increase in power within the gamma range (35 Hz to 45 Hz) over both frontal and occipital lobes but not over the parietal or temporal lobes. These results suggest topical application of specific spatial-temporal configurations of magnetic fields may affect the recursive creation of the rostral-caudal waves of cohesive fields that might produce consciousness.”
It wouldn’t appear to be a coincidence that there appears to be some correlation between the “God Helmet” experiences which were induced via Gamma Waves in the frontal lobes and the inducement of “lucid dreaming” via Gamma Waves in the frontal lobes as showcased in the journal Nature Neuroscience in 2014.
Those mysterious Gamma Waves rear their heads once again…
Another controversial topic in regards to altered states is people who claim to be “psychic” or have the ability to “communicate with the dead”. This has been an ability that is much maligned in scientific circles based on the inability to quantify how the information is derived. Much of the scientific community presumes that “psychics” are able to specifically maneuver their vocabulary in a manner that seems to be vaguely accurate to the recipient while evading specific truths.
One would presume that a person who has “different” perceptive abilities… whether they be pure “hallucinatory” fabrications or something else altogether would exude significantly different EEG states than the average person.
A 2013 study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology would showcase the brain activity of 6 participants (in a double-blind study) claiming to be able to communicate with the deceased. The results were as follows:
“The correlation between accuracy and brain activity during the 20 seconds of silent mediumship communication was significant in frontal theta for one participant. Statistically significant differences at p < 0.01 after correction for multiple comparisons in electrocortical activity among the four conditions were obtained in all six participants, primarily in the gamma band (which might be due to muscular activity). These differences suggest that the impression of communicating with the deceased may be a distinct mental state distinct from ordinary thinking or imagination.”
“To conclude, we believe the results for Medium 1, correlating accuracy with electrocortical activity, qualify as a robust finding. The results regarding differences in gamma power bands between different mental states remains puzzling as the gamma difference we observed seems to arise, at least in part, from eye or muscular activity. The characterization of the exact nature of this difference in the gamma frequency band, and assessing whether any of this activity originates from the brain, calls for additional research. Taken together, the study’s findings suggest that the experience of communicating with the deceased may be a distinct mental state that is not consistent with brain activity during ordinary thinking or imagination.”
The researchers appeared to have difficulties deciphering whether Gamma EEG spikes were correlated with eye or muscular activity vs. surges of the brain. The one eye-opening finding from the study was that one participant (Medium 1) appeared to be a more accurate “psychic” than the rest of the group. The fact that Medium 1’s significant accuracy correlated with specific electrocortical activity is rather logical.
In Part 1, we outlined the 2008 study in the Journal of Neuroscience that showcased Gamma Waves as high as 250 Hz during REM sleep that coincides with slower wave states (Theta/Delta). A 2006 study in the journal Science states the following in terms of the Theta/Gamma relationship:
“We observed robust coupling between the high- and low-frequency bands of ongoing electrical activity in the human brain. In particular, the phase of the low-frequency theta (4 to 8 hertz) rhythm modulates power in the high gamma (80 to 150 hertz) band of the electrocorticogram, with stronger modulation occurring at higher theta amplitudes. Furthermore, different behavioral tasks evoke distinct patterns of theta/high gamma coupling across the cortex. The results indicate that transient coupling between low- and high-frequency brain rhythms coordinates activity in distributed cortical areas, providing a mechanism for effective communication during cognitive processing in humans.”
While the researchers in the 2013 psychic study up above had difficulties deciphering legitimate Gamma wave spikes from muscle/eye movements, there are periphery studies that showcase a “coupling” between Theta & Gamma waves. This leads us to believe that Medium 1 from the experiment is likely producing this “coupling” effect during accurate recall of information regarding the deceased. This would mean that the mysterious Gamma Waves appear to coincide with “psychic” ability.
This obviously leads to further questions such as… if some people have the ability to “communicate with the dead”, what does that say about the process of dying? What does that say about the process of living?
While communication with the deceased appears to be a rare occurrence amongst the general population, the “psychic” experience of Déjà vu appears to be much more common by comparison. The term Déjà vu means “already seen” (in French). It is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already taken place in the past. It’s a strange occurrence of perception that up to 97 percent of the population has reported having at least once in their lifetimes.
In 2014 the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology published a study regarding EEG activity in 166 subjects (139 healthy volunteers & 27 with epilepsy) who reported having “Déjà vu” experiences. The results were reported as follows: “On the EEG, the phenomenon of Déjà vu was characterized by onset with multispike activity in the right temporal leads, and in some cases, ended with slow-wave activity (Theta/Delta) activity in the right hemisphere.
A 2013 study published in journal Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports would also observe "Déjà vu” episodes beginning with polyspike activity in the right temporal lobe region and, in some cases, ending with slow-wave theta-delta activity over the right hemisphere.
Based on browsing the general definitions of “multispike” and “polyspike” as they pertain to EEG patterns, it seems as though they signify “very fast waves” that occur in consecutive bursts. While the language in the study above doesn’t specify that Gamma waves precede the Theta/Delta activity in Déjà vu subjects, it appears as though there is a correlation between Gamma waves and Déjà vu occurrences.
The formal scientific stance regarding Déjà vu is that it occurs based on the belief that images from one eye is delayed, arriving in the brain microseconds after images from the other eye. This subsequently causes the sensation that something was being seen for the second time. This is referred to as the Optical Delay Pathway Theory. In essence, it’s a “misfiring” of the brain that leads to this dissociated-type of experience.
This theory appeared logical to the scientific community until 2006 when a study published in the journal Brain and Cognition outlined the observation that a healthy, 25 year old male who was blind from birth experienced Déjà vu regularly. Here is an excerpt from ScienceDaily regarding how the man experienced Déjà vu:
“But University of Leeds researchers report for the first time the case of a blind person experiencing déjà vu through smell, hearing and touch.
The University is a world-leader in déjà vu research. The ground-breaking work of the University’s Institute of Psychological Sciences has been widely published in both the scientific and the news media. Their work is particularly aimed at understanding chronic déjà vu, where patients are constantly plagued by the feeling of having "been here before”.
In a new paper published in the journal Brain and Cognition*, researchers Akira O'Connor and Chris Moulin relate how mundane experiences – undoing a jacket zip while hearing a particular piece of music; hearing a snatch of conversation while holding a plate in the school dining hall – were examples of how deja experiences were triggered in the blind subject.“
Much of these transpirations cannot be logically explained utilizing basic scientific theories. Some will cite "Quantum” aspects as “proving” the possibilities but that is not our field of interest nor discussion. The one thing that we do believe is explainable is that OBE’s, NDE’s, “The God Helmet”, Psychic phenomena, and Déjà vu all appear to have Gamma waves and potentially endogenous DMT synthesis in common.
Let us continue here in Part 6!
(A hard copy version of the articles on this site have been compiled in a book titled “Questions for the Lion Tamer”. It’s for sale on Amazon for $19.99)
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