November 29, 2012 18:53
Scientists have long been interested in how the brain's activity in what is called an altered state of consciousness. Recently, a group of American researchers led by Andrew Newberg of the Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia) studied cerebral blood flow in the mediums during séances.
The study involved ten people who claim to have the gift of communicating with the dead and can record messages from them in the mode of automatic writing. With five of them were in this business startups and five — "experts" who have experience in séances ranged from 15 to 47 years old and have spent a month up to 18 such sessions. All participants were considered mentally healthy people into a trance and natural way, without taking any psychotropic substances. In addition, all of them were right-handed, which is important for reasons of clarity.
To track the activity of the brain during the spiritualists' communication with the spirits, "they entered the radioactive markers and scanned the computer tomograph. Observations were carried out not only in trance, but in the normal state.
As it turned out, the "experts" in a trance there was a lower level of activity in the left hippocampus, the right superior temporal gyrus, and some other areas of the brain, in particular, are responsible for concentration and rational thinking. But for beginners activity in the same areas was, on the contrary, increased. In all likelihood, the last, plunging into the trance state, continued to partially control their minds.
In addition, the text obtained through automatic writing, in general, have a more complex linguistic structure than written mediums during the control tasks. According to experts, the writing of such texts should have required increased activity front and temporal lobes of the brain, but the opposite is true. One possible explanation may be that, in trance states are beginning to work hard other areas of the brain. Something similar is happening, for example, during musical improvisation. Included subconscious, which contributes to greater creativity.
According to Andrew Newport, "it was the first ever made in terms of neuroscience assessment trance, into which mediums." The study, he says, has allowed to obtain "some interesting data needed to improve our understanding of consciousness and its relationship to the brain."
Earlier, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin (USA), Richard Davidson and his colleagues conducted brain scans of Buddhist monks from India, who had a great experience meditate, while volunteers before meditation is not engaged. It turned out that the monks during meditation increases dramatically the activity of brain waves (called gamma waves). Beginners is not observed. Apparently, the same happens during mediumistic sessions.
In turn, the British neurosurgeons failed to prove that the people who are in a coma, does not turn into "vegetables" — they are able to think and even respond to appeals words.
So, in 2000, Canadian Scott Routley had an accident that resulted in a coma. In spite of the coma, the patient could open his eyes, move his fingers and distinguish day and night. Interest in this case Professor Adrian Owen of Cambridge University, who along with his colleagues developed a special technique that allows to "read" the thoughts of people who are in a coma. Scanning the brain of Scott, the researchers asked him a series of questions, which is expected to either positive or negative. In this scanner recorded any such activity in the brain. Researchers concluded that Scott realizes who he is and where he is, and responds to external stimuli. In particular, "he said," that does not feel pain.
Professor Owen conducted similar experiments with other patients, and in almost all cases, similar results were achieved. "Hopefully in the future we will be able to improve the technique and somehow improve the lives of patients," — he said.