Semiology and Mechanisms of Near-Death Experiences

Costanza Peinkhofer, Jens P Dreier, Daniel Kondziella

21 Citationer (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Near-death experiences (NDEs) are conscious perceptual experiences, including self-related emotional, spiritual, and mystical experiences, occurring in close encounters with death or in non-life-threatening situations. The origin of NDEs remains unknown. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of NDE semiology and pathophysiology.

RECENT FINDINGS: Recent prospective studies confirm that NDEs reflect a spectrum of highly distinctive memories which are associated with negative or positive emotions and can be influenced by the nature of the causal event, but the temporal sequence with which these images unfold is variable. Some drugs, notably ketamine, may lead to experiences that are similar or even identical to NDEs. New models extend previous neural network theories and include aspects of evolutionary and quantum theories. Although the factual existence of NDEs is no longer doubted and the semiology well-described, a pathophysiological model that includes all aspects of NDEs is still lacking.

TidsskriftCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)62
StatusUdgivet - 27 jul. 2019


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