The near-death experiences of about 1 500 cardiac arrest survivors will be examined in a study by doctors at 25 hospitals in the United States and the United Kingdom, BBC News reported.
The three-year study will determine if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences, such as recalling looking down from the ceiling as medical staff work over their body.
As part of the study, special shelving will be placed in resuscitation areas. Pictures that are only visible from the ceiling will be put on the shelves.
"If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity," said lead researcher Dr Sam Parnia, BBC News reported.
"It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded," Parnia said. "And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories." – (HealthDay News, September 2008)