Open Access Articles- Top Results for Sam Parnia

Sam Parnia

Sam Parnia
Born London, England.
Fields Intensive-care medicine
Institutions Stony Brook University School of Medicine
Alma mater University of London (M.D.)
University of Southampton (Ph.D.). Weill Cornell Medical Center
Doctoral advisor Template:If empty
Known for ·Cardiac Arrest and Brain Resuscitation.
·Consciousness & Awareness during Cardiac Arrest.
·Cognitive Sequelae of Surviving Cardiac arrest including Near Death Experiences

Sam Parnia is an Assistant professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received his medical degree from the Guy's and St Thomas’ Hospitals (UMDS) of the University of London in 1995 and his PhD in cell biology from the University of Southampton in the UK in 2006. Parnia is director of resuscitation research at the State University of New York in Stony Brook [1] and director of the Human Consciousness Project at the University of Southampton.[2][3]


Parnia graduated from Guys and St. Thomas' medical schools in London where he received his MBBS in 1995.[citation needed] He then went on to the University of Southampton were he worked as a clinical research fellow.[4] He received postgraduate student supervision[5] and completed his PhD at the University of Southampton in 2006.[citation needed] He then went on to Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York, USA,[6] where he completed medical residency training in internal medicine in 2008.[citation needed] Two years later he completed fellowship training in pulmonary and critical care, also at Weill Cornell Medical Center.[citation needed]


Parnia is known for his involvement in the field of emergency medicine and cardiac arrest resuscitation, which is considered to be his field of expertise. [7][8] One of his areas of concentration has been in the incorporation of cerebral oximetry during cardiac arrest care as a marker of the quality of oxygen delivery to the brain during resuscitation.[9][10][11]

As a member of the Consciousness Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Parnia has also published theories on the nature of human mind and consciousness.[12] This research has included investigation of near-death experiences.[3][13]

Near-death research

In 2003, Parnia and Peter Fenwick appeared in the BBC documentary "The Day I Died".[4] In the documentary Parnia and Fenwick discussed their belief that research from near-death experiences (NDEs) indicates the mind is independent of the brain. According to Susan Blackmore the documentary mislead viewers with beliefs that are rejected by the majority of scientists. Blackmore criticized the documentary for biased and "dishonest reporting".[14]

In his book Erasing Death and a series of interviews, Parnia has explained that although most people view death as irreversible, he claims that resuscitation research shows it may be reversible.[15][7] Parnia has said he is uncertain the brain produces the mind and has suggested that memory is not neuronal.[16] He has claimed that research from NDEs may show the "mind is still there after the brain is dead". The neurologist Michael O'Brien has written "most people would not find it necessary to postulate such a separation between mind and brain to explain the events," and suggested that further research is likely to provide a physical explanation for near-death experiences.[4]

In 2001, Parnia and colleagues investigated out of body claims by placing figures on suspended boards facing the ceiling, not visible from the floor. Parnia wrote "anybody who claimed to have left their body and be near the ceiling during resuscitation attempts would be expected to identify those targets. If, however, such perceptions are psychological, then one would obviously not expect the targets to be identified."[17] The philosopher Keith Augustine, who examined Parnia's study, has written that all target identification experiments have produced negative results.[18] Psychologist Chris French wrote regarding the study "unfortunately, and somewhat atypically, none of the survivors in this sample experienced an OBE."[19]


Parnia is the principal investigator of the AWARE study (AWAreness during REsuscitation), which was launched in 2008. The study includes medical centers across the UK, mainland Europe and North America.[20][8][7][21][22][23][24] AWARE is a multidisciplinary multicenter international collaboration of scientists, physicians and nurses. This study incorporates testing of awareness and near-death experiences (NDE) during cardiac arrest with methods aimed at measuring the quality of oxygen delivery to the brain. Critics have expressed concern with the NDE research as it presents difficulty in the realm of informed consent.[25]

As part of the AWARE study Parnia and colleagues have investigated out of body claims by using hidden targets placed on shelves that could only be seen from above.[26] Parnia has written "if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories".[26] Parnia issued a statement indicating that the first phase of the project has been completed and the results are undergoing peer review for publication in a medical journal.[27] No subjects saw the images mounted out of sight according to Parnia's early report of the results of the study at an American Heart Association meeting in November 2013. Οnly two out of the 152 patients reported any visual experiences, and one of them described events that could be verified.[28]

On October 6, 2014 the results of the study were published in the journal Resuscitation.[23][29][3][30]

Among those who reported a perception of awareness and completed further interviews, 46 per cent experienced a broad range of mental recollections in relation to death that were not compatible with the commonly used term of NDEs. These included fearful and persecutory experiences. Only 9 per cent had experiences compatible with NDEs and 2 per cent exhibited full awareness compatible with OBEs with explicit recall of 'seeing' and 'hearing' events. One case was validated and timed using auditory stimuli during cardiac arrest.[29] According to Caroline Watt, "The one ‘verifiable period of conscious awareness’ that Parnia was able to report did not relate to this objective test. Rather, it was a patient giving a supposedly accurate report of events during his resuscitation. He didn’t identify the pictures, he described the defibrillator machine noise. But that’s not very impressive since many people know what goes on in an emergency room setting from seeing recreations on television."[31][32]

Science writer Mike McRae has noted "While Parnia’s work contributes valuable data to understanding NDE as a cultural phenomenon, his speculations do indeed sit on the brink of pseudoscience."[33]

Selected bibliography

  • What Happens When We Die. Hay House. 2006. 
  • Erasing Death: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death. Harper Collins. 2013. 
  • The Lazarus Effect: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death. Ebury Publishing. 2013. 


  1. Stony Brook University Medical Center (Brochure). Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship Program. AAMC ID 1563521106
  2. Palchik, Guillermo. Conference Report: The Nour Foundation Georgetown University & Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University Symposium Series Technology, Neuroscience & the Nature of Being: Considerations of Meaning, Morality and Transcendence Part I: The Paradox of Neurotechnology 8 May 2009. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 2009, 4:9
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Results of world's largest near death experiences study published" (Press release). University of Southampton. 2015-05-03 [2014-10-07]. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 O'Brien, M (2003). "'The Day I Died'". BMJ (Review of TV show) 326 (7383): 288. PMC 1125151. 
  5. "Donna Davies § Responsibilities: Postgraduate student supervision". Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute: University of Southampton. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  6. Greyson, Parnia & Fenwick. Correspondence: Visualizing out-of-body experience in the brain. New England Journal of Medicine, 358, 855-856, 2008.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Evers, Marco (2013-07-29) [originally published in German in issue 30/2013 (2013-07-22) of Der Spiegel]. "Back from the dead: Resuscitation expert says end is reversible". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Stephey, M.J. (2008-09-18). "What happens when we die?". Time. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  9. Adam J Singer, Anna Ahn, Loren A Inigo-Santiago, Henry C Thode Jr, Mark C Henry, Sam Parnia. "Cerebral oximetry levels during CPR are associated with return of spontaneous circulation following cardiac arrest: an observational study." Emergency Medicine Journal, published online March 24, 2014
  10. Parnia S, Nasir A, Shah C, Patel R, Mani A, Richman P. "A feasibility study evaluating the role of cerebral oximetry in predicting return of spontaneous circulation in cardiac arrest". Resuscitation. 2012 Aug;83(8):982-5
  11. A, Yang J, Inigo-Santiago L, Parnia S. "A feasibility study of cerebral oximetry monitoring during the post-resuscitation period in comatose patients following cardiac arrest". Resuscitation. 2014 Apr;85(4):522-6.
  12. Parnia, S. Do reports of consciousness during cardiac arrest hold the key to discovering the nature of consciousness? Medical Hypotheses. 2007;69(4):933-7. PubMed
  13. Duffin, Christian. "Near death experiences 'must be taken seriously'". Nursing Standard, 16.17 (Jan 9-Jan 15, 2002):9.
  14. Blackmore, Susan (2004). "Near-death experiences on TV". Sceptic Magazine 17 (1). pp. 8–10. Retrieved 2014-06-03 – via 
  15. Gross, Terry (host); Parnia, Sam (2013-02-20). "'Erasing Death' Explores The Science Of Resuscitation". Fresh Air. Transcript. NPR. WHYY-FM. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  16. Adams, Tim (2013-04-06). "Sam Parnia – the man who could bring you back from the dead". Health: The Observer. The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  17. Parnia, S; Waller, DG; Yeates, R; Fenwick, P (2001). "A qualitative and quantitative study of the incidence, features and aetiology of near-death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors" (PDF). Resuscitation 48 (2): 149–56. PMID 11426476. doi:10.1016/S0300-9572(00)00328-2. Retrieved 2015-04-08 – via Horizon Research Foundation. 
  18. Augustine, Keith (2008) [2003]. "Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences § NDE target identification experiments". Internet Infidels. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  19. French, Chris (2005). "Near-Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest Survivors" (PDF). In Laureys, Steven. Progress in Brain Research 150. pp. 351–67. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(05)50025-6. Retrieved 2015-04-08 – via Higher Education Academy. 
  20. "World’s largest-ever study of near-death experiences" (Press release) (Ref: 08/165). University of Southampton. 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  21. Weintraub, Pamela (2014-09-02). "Seeing the light". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  22. Miller, Bettye (2013-05-21). "Science research grants related to immortality announced". UCR Today (Press release). University of California, Riverside. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Stony Brook professor leads world’s largest medical study on the state of mind and consciousness at the time of death". Stony Brook Newsroom (Press release). Stony Brook University. 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  24. Lichfield, Gideon (April 2015). "The science of near-death experiences: Empirically investigating brushes with the afterlife". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  25. Dieguez, Sebastian (September–October 2009). "NDE experiment: Ethical concerns". Skeptical Inquirer 33 (5). Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Dreaper, Jane (2008-09-18). "Study into near-death experiences". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  27. "AWARE Study Update 2014". Horizon Research Foundation. Archived from the original on 2014-03-07. 
  28. Bowman, Lee (2013-12-20) [2013-12-18]. "Scientists looking closer at what happens when body dies; Edge closer to new understanding". WEWS-TV. Scripps Howard News Service. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Parnia, S; Spearpoint, K; de Vos, G; Fenwick, P et al. (2014). "AWARE-AWAreness during REsuscitation-a prospective study". Resuscitation 85 (12): 1799–805. PMID 25301715. doi:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2014.09.004. 
  30. Cai, Sunny (2014-10-23). "Study finds awareness after death in patients". The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  31. idoubtit (Sharon A. Hill) (2014-10-07). "One not too impressive study does not prove life after death". Doubtful News. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  32. Hill, Sharon (2014-10-08). "No, this study is not evidence for 'life after death'". SWIFT. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  33. Science On the Edge of Life