Huh. So that’s what the crappy ending to Lost, one of my favorite shows up until the last episode, was about.

Doctors believe that a burst of brain activity occurs just before death and this could account for vivid “spiritual” experiences reported by those who come back from the brink. The researchers suggest this surge could be why some patients who have been revived when close to death report sensations such as walking towards a bright light or a feeling that they are floating above their body.

“We think the near-death experiences could be caused by a surge of electrical energy released as the brain runs out of oxygen,” said Dr Lakhmir Chawla, an intensive care doctor at George Washington University medical centre in Washington.

“As blood flow slows down and oxygen levels fall, the brain cells fire one last electrical impulse. It starts in one part of the brain and spreads in a cascade and this may give people vivid mental sensations.”
[…]
In the research he used an electroencephalograph (EEG), a device that measures brain activity, to monitor seven terminally ill people. The medical purpose of the devices was to make sure that the patients, suffering from conditions such as cancer and heart failure, were sufficiently sedated to be out of pain. However, Dr Chawla noticed that moments before death the patients experienced a burst in brainwave activity lasting from 30 seconds to three minutes.

The activity was similar to that seen in people who are fully conscious, even though the patients appeared asleep and had no blood pressure. Soon after the surge abated, they were pronounced dead.




  1. Lucas says:

    isnt this just the DMT chemical in your brain being released right before you die? my understanding is that it’s the same chemical that is released when you dream and right before you die(and when you are born) it is intensified.

  2. amodedoma says:

    #31 MikeN

    Yeah but ‘The Usual Suspects’ was a masterpiece and the end was the best part. I’m no fan of Singer’s or Baldwin’s, still I loved it. It’s like in Fight Club when you work out that it’s really just one guy and Tyler Durden doesn’t exsist.
    Lets face it if you really want to enjoy a mystery get a book. Movie scripts are usually written by talentless hacks.

  3. McCullough says:

    LOST…it really was just a TV show. As for energy not “dying” just morphing into another form. Well don’t let that science get in the way of religious atheism. Save it for another day.

  4. Uncle Dave says:

    MikeN: What the hell are you talking about? First, I never saw Murder She Wrote. I loved that Verbal Turned out to be Soze. Babylon 5 was excellent for it’s time. Having written a couple of movie scripts, I am in awe of how Straczynski wrote an entire season of the show on his own, PLUS being the showrunner and all that entails while creating interesting characters doing interesting things.

    What does that have to do with Lost having an ending that sucked? Maybe it’s because I’m an atheist that I don’t like this religious endings that seem tacked on like BSG’s that don’t answer anything other than it’s God pulling the strings in mystical, unknowing ways. If you’re going to set up a complex, interwoven puzzle that Lost was, don’t leave a million strands that all get tied up with a religious non-answer. Do the hard work and come up with something unique.

  5. Doodat says:

    Nobody knows what the truth is and the only way you are going to find out is to die.
    So, sitting here and speculating is not getting you any closer to a definite answer. You are just wasting your time and your energy. If you really want to find out what happens then go jump off a bridge..

  6. Jonathan says:

    Brain activity may explain the white light, but it cannot explain the out of body experiences where folks later told family members what they were doing at completely different locations. -1 scientists.

  7. Disparkys says:

    Hi, when using photos under creative commons, please make sure you follow the rules applied. In this case, putting a reference linking to my original image or my name. Thank you, looking forward seeing the changes…

  8. Faith says:

    I’m not trying to stir up anything, but I think all people who believe in this science explanation is sadly mistaken. When the rapture happens you’re not going to know what hit you and you will be begging for someone to take your life b/c that’s how bad it will. Maybe some of you people who don’t believe in God should have some faith and read the Bible. There are certain things our human brains can’t rap around and never will until we die or get raptured. The devil is tempting all of us in so many ways trying to make us believe other explanations of this world. Anything he can do to get you to turn away or reject God he will do. Remember this earth is the devil’s play ground.

  9. Mark says:

    Just another theory out there but no proof of anything.

    Truth is they will never prove there is or is not a God. Even if the white light is one day proven to be bio, it might only be a transition effect to ready a person for the spiritual life. After all, most people think the bio and spiritual life are connected.

    An Atheist will make something out of nothing in his or her favor just as a religious fanatic will do and it means nothing either way.

    • Reply says:

      If someone were to tell you that they saw bigfoot, is it up to them to prove that they saw bigfoot or is it up to you to prove that they didn’t. The burden of proof rests with the believer not the skeptic.

  10. Atheist says:

    I find it sad that so many people deny the findings found in this experiment simply because it contradicts their faith. To me this is just a copy of the great prayer experiment, where scientists tried to find out if prayer had a healing effect on the sick. This was proven false, yet people still pray for their loved ones when they’re sick. When they get better, they thank God, when they should thank the doctors. It is this kind of religious belief that slows down the progress of science and society. Whether the issue be abortion, gay marriage, birth control, or artificial conception, religion has always been the one to stand in the way. When will people realize that their beliefs are irrational and just accept the fact that the white light we see when we die is a cascade of brain activity rather than a divine intervention caused by a deity such as God

    • Charper says:

      This doesn’t destroy anyone’s religion. Why wouldn’t the brain be in high activity during the seconds as one travels from this life to the next? As a physician, I’ve heard many a patient describe those moments. If I were experiencing the things they experienced, my mind would be showing a burst of electrical energy too! As a Christian, I look forward to it.

      • Atheist says:

        Just like alien abductions this is another phenomenon that can be explained using science. To those who believe that the brain is the porthole to an after, the soul is, not the brain. So if you believe in a certain religion than you would agree that your physical body is left behind and your spiritual body is taken to the next place. However, when the brain lacks oxygen, the neurons still fire due to abiding by the all or nothing principle, until they are completely out of impulse. So when the dead die, the brain frantically fires all neurons. This can produce the illusion of a bright light, or strange feelings due to the brain relaying these impulses all over the body.
        Those who argue that this is God telling you it’s not your time, you are wrong. This is just as state of unconsciousness such as sleeping, because your body is at rest whole your brain continues to fire on. If you do lose a heart beat, or die as many call it, your heart has stopped but your brain has not, so the illusions appear due to the rapid firing of the brain after detecting the heart has stopped. God is fake.

  11. Susan says:

    I don’t think that belief in the scientific findings and in a Higher Power are mutually exclusive. God creates incredible brains and everything else, why not break it down to understand the process, but also credit the Creator.

    • GRivera says:

      What creator? You have seen it? How can you follow something you have not seen? Religion produces some sick results and this is proof.

      • This is how they explain the experience before death. It is very interesting that many people have found this sensation with out dying.

        This leads me to believe that this experience of “burst in brainwave activity” is not only experienced by dying patients.

        After reading many comments I’ve noticed the argument is Science vs. Religion. Lets see!
        The benefit of science is hard evidence. Experiments convert hear say into “Facts” for us everyday people.
        The benefit of religion is history. Today’s science is converting religious history into scientific facts. The disadvantages of science and religion might be innumerable let’s not go there.

        Blind faith and Experimentation are both looking for the same thing….? Results

  12. Greg says:

    It is devine, otherwise how would you explain the “floating” over your body feeling? or the sense of feeling at peace with no pain or suffering what so ever. The human brain is the primary porthole to an afterlife. If it wasn’t how would you explain bricks or things getting picked up and thorwn around a room? or shapes and images showing up on cameras or infrared images?Face it ghost and spirits do exsist. But don’t worry we all eventualy will find our place in the never ending universe. Earth is just another realm (an undesirable one IMO) like the trillion or endless others.

  13. JustaThought says:

    I can see why some atheists can really resent the religious. Maybe you’ve had interactions with the psycho-religious (Westboro Baptist). However, I don’t see why one can’t make a correlation between an ominous creator and science.

    In earth’s beginning, so says religion-exclusive science, a primordial “soup” of amino acids found the right combination to create a more developed life form and so started evolution. But did you know the likelyhood of those amino acids finding the right combination was EXTREMELY small? Why couldn’t some divine or alien interaction have set the wheels in motion?

    I’m not saying that there is a bearded figure hovering over earth curing people and punishing others, quite the contrary actually. It just seems to me that at this point in biological research it seems more likely that there was intervention in Earth’s early stages and to completely cast out the idea of outside help at this point is foolish and based more in resent. Thoughts?

    • Morgan says:

      Well to say that the universe is so complex and convenient that something MUST have created it, is counter productive. You are saying that something cannot come out of nothing, however stating something created the universe brings the question of what created that something and what created that and so on.


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