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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tantalising introduction
It's hard not to warm to Sam Parnia. A young jobbing doctor, he became increasingly fascinated by what happens to people after death. Specfically he was interested in finding out what truth - if any - there is behind Near Death Experiences.
His coup was in persuading Southampton Hospital to allow a full-on research study into the phenomenon, persuading them to...
Published on 3 Jan 2006 by Kent Guy

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The sub-title is misleading
Normally, when I want to buy a book, I am reading other customers reviews and go with the majority opinion ... This time I should have gone with the more critical one. Indeed, the book is promising us "A GROUNDBREAKING STUDY into the Nature of Life and Death". Far from it! Although I think Dr. Parnia is very genuine in his works and studies, here he writes about a future...
Published on 9 July 2007 by Marina Muller


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tantalising introduction, 3 Jan 2006
It's hard not to warm to Sam Parnia. A young jobbing doctor, he became increasingly fascinated by what happens to people after death. Specfically he was interested in finding out what truth - if any - there is behind Near Death Experiences.
His coup was in persuading Southampton Hospital to allow a full-on research study into the phenomenon, persuading them to put up suspended boards across the hospital (if anyone reported floating above the bed, could they then read what was the other side of the boards?!) However, funding meant it was only a very small scale study, and reading this book confirms that there is a long way to go before anything close to proof is achieved, one way or the other.
Parnia makes a good introduction to the various theories surrounding the genuine mystery of what consciousness is, and his logic in dealing with these theories is largely persuasive. It is a very readable book to the non-medical and the non-scientific, very occasionally he perhaps simplifies or over-dramatises.
What is perhaps the most powerful section of the book is the individual stories of NDEs. Some, especially from impossibly young children, are utterly extraordinary, while several reports made by from sober, highly experienced surgeons working in the heart of the medical establishment are particularly persuasive. I hope this is not the last we hear of Sam Parnia and his work, and that funds are found to allow for a full study. After all, it's hard to imagine any subject being more relevant to all mankind than what happens to us all after death...
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you just cant put down !, 25 Jan 2006
This book is such a fantastic read for either the none believer OR for those already interested in NDEs. It not only includes personal experiences that people have had but also incorporates strong scientific arguments for the concept of life after death.
The evidence presented in the book makes you realise that there is certainly something going on that science is yet to discover. Ive been studying near death experiences and paranormal phenomena for ten years and this is the best book ive ever read ! Cant wait for book number two !!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well worth reading, 6 Mar 2007
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This review is from: What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study Into the Nature of Life and Death (Paperback)
This book, written by a doctor with an open mind is clearly written. There's no nonsense here, so charateristic of books about life after death. This is the best book I've read on the subject by far. Dr Parnia's writing is calm, logical, level-headed and rational. He is careful not to make too many big claims but his findings and logic cannot be easily dismissed.

Other thinkers, scientists and psychologists have stated that near-death experiences are simply the symptoms of an oxygen-starved brain. Dr Parnia says that confusion, not the clarity characteristic of a near-death experience is what happens when the brain is starved of oxygen. Who do we believe? I don't see any reason to doubt what this doctor is saying.

It is a pity that the experiments haven't yet turned up absolute proof of what Dr Parnia is looking for, but his research is going ahead, which if successful will prove the most important and interesting yearning of mankind - to know what, if anything happens after death.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, 6 April 2006
By A Customer
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has ever thought about the ultimate question of what happens when we die... Especially those who want answers based upon the objectivity of science.
Ever since he was a medical student, Parnia MD, PhD was fascinated by what it is that makes us all unique as individuals, in other words what is the relation between the mind and the brain? Later he was touched by the experience of seeing his patients' die and was left with the question of what happens to the human mind and consciousness at the end of life? Disappointed that science had not seriously tried to study this question, he developed a scientific model i.e. cardiac arrest and started research into this field. This was almost 10 years ago...
This book starts with a review of the subject based upon the literature. Although, this is generally where all other books on the subject stop, he however, goes further by describing how novel research was set up and taking us along with answers obtained from the first ever published scientific study to test the different theories of causation of near death experiences. Parnia's study which was published in the medical journal 'Resuscitaton' has been followed by three other independent studies carried out in the US and Holland and published in top journals such as 'The Lancet'. All these researchers including Parnia have concluded (rather significantly) that the occurrence of "lucid well structured thought processes together with reasoning and memory formation when the brain ceases functioning and the clinical criteria of death are met, suggest that the human mind and
consciousness may continue to function at the end of life...!" In this book Parnia then explains how this finding relates to the problem of human consciousness, brain function as well as modern physics.
I have read the other reviews on this site, in which some have been disappointed suggesting there is no study or only a small study in this book and I was frankly very surprised!!! Perhaps they did not read the book very thoroughly or perhaps they were looking for something that is not yet out there. As well as a review of the subject that is based on over one hundred published studies, there are also results from the four newly published scientific studies, including Parnia's own detailed above.
This is a great book and arguably the most complete book examining what happens when we die from a scientific angle. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone with an interest in this area. Moreover it is an easy and enjoyable read and although in parts it is serious in others it is quite light hearted. I can't wait to get the results of the larger multi center study that he has now started...!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The sub-title is misleading, 9 July 2007
By 
Marina Muller "Nelli" (Kefalonia, Griechenland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study Into the Nature of Life and Death (Paperback)
Normally, when I want to buy a book, I am reading other customers reviews and go with the majority opinion ... This time I should have gone with the more critical one. Indeed, the book is promising us "A GROUNDBREAKING STUDY into the Nature of Life and Death". Far from it! Although I think Dr. Parnia is very genuine in his works and studies, here he writes about a future study, and all that is factual described from a study so far are the results from a very limited pilot study. If someone is interested in the problems of funding for groundbreaking, innovative, novel and high-risk studies - read the book. But don't expect answers to the questions that are indicated by the book's title. Up until the last chapter I hoped we will finally get to the groundbreaking study itself ...
I wish Dr. Parnia all the best for his planned study and look forward to read about the results in the future!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Happens when we Die, 8 Jan 2006
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ASHLEY UNIS (EDINBURGH, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
An easy and enjoyable read regards what happend to ones brain when they die. As an emergency doctor interested in death he piloted a small study in a UK hospital with cardiac arrest patients to scientifically answer the question of what happens when we die. This has brought him much acclaim and he along with his team are still awaiting further funding to expand his study into the UKs largest.
Parnia takes us on a journey of his research and life as a UK doctor and he reviews the literature on Near Death Experiences(NDE). Whilst the book contains many facinating anecdotal letters regards Near Death Experiences, it also includes detailed biological issues and surrounds itself with the question of consciousness after death. The books uniqueness is that it takes a scientific point of view to the brain during death and remains open to the evidence.
After reading, the question that remains is whether there is an afterlife.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 1 Jan 2007
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D. Cody (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I was disappointed in this book. I thought from reading reviews of it that it was going to show us a major study indicating whether people actually have provable NDE experiences. Instead we were given the same old scientific theories about NDE and the author's opinion on them, a small inconclusive study, and information about a new major study being done in the future. Also we have the story of the author's interest in and views on NDE's, which is a bit interesting, but not really the information that I, or, I would guess, most people would be that interested in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book review, 16 Jun 2011
A well written book, easy to read for the layman not previously aware of the content. It delivers just what it claims with the hope of future investigation into the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not really ground breaking, 5 Jun 2011
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Very well written in terms of expressing already recognised theories. However, I was disappointed to find there was no further comment on the initial study. What about the boards then? Did anyone actually see the visual displays during a NDE? Will we have to await a further publication to decide if this research is truly groundbreaking?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really just a work in progress., 23 Nov 2010
By 
Glasgow Dreamer (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The author is a doctor with an interest in near death experiences (NDEs), which has inspired him to attempt to conduct studies to conclusively prove what happens at, or immediately before, the point of death. The first half of this book covers his early interest in this subject area, and contains many relevant and fascinating anecdotes, and an account of Parnia's first, somewhat naive attempt at research into this phenomenon in the Southampton hospital in which he worked.

This part of the book is very interesting, and raises hope that the second half may take it all a bit further. Unfortunately, this does not happen. The second half of the book contains far more "technical" information and jargon, and seems to deal almost as much with the difficulties in conducting such research (methodology, funding, credibility, etc.) as it does with the purported subject matter.

It is also significant (to me anyway), that despite Parnia's position as one of the foremost researchers in this field, he has not seen fit to devote his career to it, rather he has developed his career in an entirely different area of medicine, and even in an entirely different country from the research he hopes to conduct, leaving very little time for research into this complex matter. I appreciate there are economic reasons for such decisions, but this lack of commitment to the subject does rather detract from Parnia's credibility in the field.

Overall, this is an interesting book, but very much a work in progress. It is an update of an earlier edition, but has nothing new to report, and I was left with the impression that this edition is really little more than a fundraising exercise. Disappointing.
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