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For first time, near-death experiences explained

world Updated: Aug 13, 2013 23:47 IST

Light at the end of the tunnel! Near-death experiences may not be just a figment of imagination, a new study suggests.

For the first time, scientists have observed brain activity in dying rats that may shed light on the mystery of human near-death experiences.

The “near-death experience” reported by cardiac arrest survivors worldwide may be grounded in science, according to research at the University of Michigan.

The study shows shortly after clinical death, in which the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain, rats display brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception.

“This study, performed in animals, is the first dealing with what happens to the neurophysiological state of the dying brain,” said lead study author Jimo Borjigin.

“It will form the foundation for future human studies investigating mental experiences occurring in the dying brain, including seeing light during cardiac arrest,” she said.

Approximately 20% of cardiac arrest survivors report having had a near-death experience during clinical death. These visions and perceptions have been called “realer than real,” researchers said.