Omar Khayyam

Up from the earth’s centre through the seventh gate I rose, and on the throne of Saturn sate, And many Knots unravel’d by the road; But not the knot of human death and fate

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Near Death Experience: psychology or philosophy?

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Introduction

Near-Death experience (NDE) following a severe head injury, critical illness, coma, and suicidal attempt has been reported.An estimated 774 near-death experiences occur in the United States every day, according to the International Association for Near-Death Studies, a non-profit based in Durham, NC.

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Patient 1

A 30 year postgraduate, Hindu, married woman with a 5 month old baby was brought to emergency in Glasgow. She was operated for acute subdural hematoma of left side. During this period of unconsciousness she described that she was in a brilliant light in which she floated. She then went to 'heaven' where there were a pantheon of Gods with 'hierarchy' There was the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva but even they were in hierarchy 'junior' to 'Om' She has slowly forgotten most of her description but her belief has persisted.

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Patient 2

A 4 -year -old male, child was brought in hypotensive shock to emergency secondary to gastroenteritis and dehydration.Over a period of around one week his sensorium improved.After extubation he started describing his experience of being in silvery white clouds with 'time dilatation' or expansion i.e. he felt he was there for months although his altered sensorium was for about a week.Subsequently he forgot most of the experience.The response of family members was initially neutral and advised the child not to dwell upon it.

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Patient 3

Pam Reynolds Lowery, from Atlanta, Georgia, was an American singer-songwriter. In 1991, at the age of 35, she stated that she had a near-death experience during a brain operation performed by Robert F. Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona

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Discussion

Clinical death is preceded by insufficient blood supply to the brain because of inadequate blood circulation, breathing, or both. OBE in which a person experiences the world from outside the physical body may include moving through a tunnel, communication with light, observation of celestial landscape, meeting with deceased persons, life review and presence of border.

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Conclusion

Larger research may make it easier to communicate about personal recollections during this important period. The explanation could range from psychological to neurophysiological mechanisms, with the cultural background or ethos and age groups such as children . Whether they are just hallucinations or proof of an afterlife will be debated until more information becomes available.

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