Studying death and near-death experiences requires neuroscientific expertise

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2022 Nov;1517(1):11-14. doi: 10.1111/nyas.14888. Epub 2022 Aug 26.


Parnia et al. recently published suggestions for the study of death and experiences recalled in a near-death context. We have serious reservations about the authors' statements. In this commentary, we discuss the omissions and knowledge gaps inherent to the authors' paper, which among others include incorrect neurological claims about brain death and misunderstandings regarding the terminology of consciousness. Although we believe that (near-)death research deserves a framework guideline, the paper by Parnia and colleagues is misleading and, contrary to the authors' intention, hinders the scientific understanding of near-death experiences and the neural mechanisms occurring in the dying brain.

Keywords: cardiac arrest; consciousness; death; near-death experience; responsiveness.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Consciousness
  • Death
  • Heart Arrest*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall