According to French researchers there is no obvious medical explanation for the near death experience reported by some patients during cardiac arrest. The near death experience (NDE) has received quite a lot of attention in recent years. It involves a feeling of disconnection from the body during a life-threatening medical crisis - typically a cardiac arrest - and often progress down a tunnel towards a 'being of light' with long-dead relatives standing by.
Researchers in France followed up 200 patients who had been successfully resuscitated from a cardiac arrest. One fifth reported NDE - but this was not linked to the duration of the arrest or time unconscious. It was more common among the under-60s and women and more people who had NDE's died shortly afterwards. Two years on those who had NDEs were more likely to have lost their fear of death - surely a benefit - and to believe in an afterlife. The same was true eight years on. But there is still no medical explanation for the NDE.