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The Ketamine Model of the Near-Death Experience: A Central Role for the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor

Description: Article discussing a biological basis for near-death experiences (NDEs). For example, conditions that precipitate NDEs, such as hypoxia, ischemia, hypoglycemia, and temporal lobe epilepsy, have been shown to release a flood of glutamate, overactivating N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors and resulting in neurotoxicity.
Date: Autumn 1997
Creator: Janson, Karl L. R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Which Comes First: Consciousness or Aspartate Receptors?

Description: Abstract: This paper is a critique of Karl Jansen's hypothesis that near-death and ketamine experiences are caused by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. An assumption that consciousness and its alterations are merely the product of neuronal activity is only one of many possible beliefs about reality. An alternative, which can be verified through one's own direct experiences, is that consciousness is always a subject and body is only its object. The objects come and go; consciousness remains.
Date: Autumn 1997
Creator: Kungurtseu, Igor
Partner: UNT Libraries

Commentary on Jansen's Paper

Description: Abstract: Karl Jansen raises a fundamental and exciting question: Is humankind's consciousness the result of neuronal function, or are there extracerebral aspects as well? While his neurotransmitter model of near-death experiences (NDEs) is well described, I find his supporting evidence weak. Methodological differences between studies of ketamine hallucinations and near-death experiences (NDEs) raise doubts about how similar those experiences are phenomenologically. While Jansen's model has electrifying implications, the data required to support his conclusions do not yet exist.
Date: Autumn 1997
Creator: Morse, Melvin L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Comments on "The Ketamine Model of the Near-Death Experience: A Central Role for the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor"

Description: Abstract: Although ketamine can induce a state similar to a near-death experience (NDE), there is a striking difference between experiences induced by ketamine used in a recreational context and in an operating room. Ketamine is a noncompetitive antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptro, as is ibogaine, the main alkaloid of a shrub used in Central Africa to induce NDEs in a religious context. Ibogaine can also elicit different experiences when used in a hallucinatory context or in initiatic rituals, where a superficial state of coma is induced. These data raise the question of whether the chemically-induced NDE-like experience is related to the use of a particular kind of substance or to a genuine comatose state.
Date: Autumn 1997
Creator: Bianchi, Antonio
Partner: UNT Libraries

Discussion of "The Ketamine Model of the Near-Death Experience: A Central Rold for the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor," by Karl L. R. Jansen

Description: Abstract: We review strengths and weaknesses of Karl Jansen's approach to the near-death experience (NDE). Strengths include his limited goals and avoidance of the trap of explaining all features of the NDE with his theory, although he surprisingly misunderstood our previously published position. Additional, we applaud the possible intersection of psychological and biological theories, demonstrated in Jansen's biochemical explanations for the individualized variations in manifestation and adaptive role of the NDE. However, he failed to take into account the pitfalls in the use of analogy, modeling oversimplification, and in taking association as causality and causes as meaningful, in the arguments for his theory.
Date: Autumn 1997
Creator: Twemlow, Stuart W. & Gabbard, Glen O.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Journal of Near-Death Studies, Volume 16, Number 1, Fall 1997

Description: Quarterly journal publishing papers related to near-death experiences, including research reports; theoretical or conceptual statements; expressions of a scientific, philosophic, religious, or historical perspective on the study of near-death experiences; cross-cultural studies; individual case histories; and personal accounts of experiences or related phenomena.
Date: Autumn 1997
Creator: Greyson, Bruce
Partner: UNT Libraries