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Implanted Electrode Triggers Out-of-Body Experience

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Implanted Electrode Triggers Out-of-Body Experience

Electrodes implanted into a man’s brain were supposed to treat the patient for a stubborn case of ringing in the ear; instead the implant sparked an out-of-body sensation.

Electrodes implanted into a man’s brain were supposed to treat the patient for a stubborn case of ringing in the ear; instead the implant sparked an out-of-body sensation.

electrodes.thumbnail Implanted Electrode Triggers Out of Body ExperienceStimulating the electrodes made the 63-year-old patient feel like he was outside his body twice, for 15 and 21 seconds, doctors were then able to use a positron emission tomography or PET scanner, to track which parts of the brain became active during the experience.

A team led by Dirk De Ridder of the Antwerp University reported that they were trying to cure the man of tinnitus in one ear when they stumbled onto the phenomenon.

xray electrode implants Implanted Electrode Triggers Out of Body ExperienceUnfortunately, the treatment did not work. Only a certain pattern of stimulation, involving a portion of the superior temporal gyrus (located on the right side of the brain) produced the sensation. PET scans, showed that other parts of the brain became active as a result, including the supramarginal gyrus, which processes information from the inner ear designed to detect head movement and position.

The out-of-body sensation of near-death experiences, are regarded by some people as evidence of an afterlife However most scientists are doubtful, especially when epilepsy, migraine headaches, and brain stimulation can mimic the sensation. Other out-of-body sensation can be induced with drugs. One notable drug, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), is renowned for producing a similar effect.

The Antwerp University wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine,

“Whether these regions are activated in patients who report disembodiment as part of a near-death experience — and if so, how — is a provocative but unresolved issue,”

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