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Near Death Experiences

Future Work to Improve Near Death Experience Scales

Near Death Experiences Series, Article 15 (Reviewed by the Editorial Board)

 According to professor S. Parnia, Director of Research at Stony Brook Medical Center (NY, USA), the research scales devised by Drs Ring and Greyson, are extremely useful but like all measuring tools they have certain limitations and future research should focus on developing other more comprehensive and accurate scales.

Both scales currently in use are set up using subjective NDE accounts given by people sometimes many years after the event. From a scientific point of view researchers are thus limited by the fact that they could not ascertain objectively how close to death an individual has really been.  This is because in the majority of cases researchers do not have access to the medical records from the time of the experience and so are necessarily limited to what the patients describe of their condition. In some cases this maybe sufficient to ascertain that the patient’s life was in danger, as they may have been told by medical staff that they had suffered a cardiac arrest or other critical condition, but this is not universal. Therefore, an improved standard scale would be one based upon recalled experiences from patients who had been proven to have been medically close to death. Experiences recalled from such a period could truly be called ‘near death’ or even actual ‘dying’ experiences. One other difficulty is that it is also impossible to know what the patient’s personality was before the NDE as this may have an influence on the scales.  So although these scales are the best we have to date, further work on them will increase their accuracy.

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