Insights into what "might" be could be a researcher would definitely provide. Scientists, neurophysiologic and animal behavior experts and researchers, as in many scientific reports, may not necessarily paint a picture of an animal’s soul reaching a Rainbow Bridge. But it is quite intriguing and many point toward the positive.
In an article in the Huffington Post, by Dr. Deprok Chopra, he states,"Unable to explain consciousness in the brain, it is easy to see why conventional science ignores out-of-body, or after-death consciousness, rejecting even the possibility of their occurrence. However one controversial theory of in-the-brain consciousness can also in principle explain possible out-of-body and after-death consciousness. That is the Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR' theory of consciousness as sequences of quantum computations inside brain neurons."
One research study performed by the University of Michigan Medical School (Ann Arbor, Michigan) researchers' findings were reported in an abstract of supporting evidence in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) PNAS Journal (August 27, 2013 vol. 110 no. 35 14432-14437)
“This study, performed in animals, is the first dealing with what happens to the neurophysiologic state of the dying brain,” said lead study author Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology and associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School. and associate professor at the same medical school.
Dr. Borligin continues,“It will form the foundation for future human studies investigating mental experiences occurring in the dying brain, including seeing light during cardiac arrest. The study was the first to examine the neurophysiologic state of the dying brain in animals, and found that near-death experiences in which people report ‘seeing light’ could be explained by spikes in electrical activity in the brain after the heart stops beating.”
The researchers conducted their study using rats, and observed that shortly after clinical death — when the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain – the rats displayed brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception.
“About one-in-five cardiac arrest survivors report having had a near-death experience during clinical death. According to previous research, these visions and perceptions have been described as 'realer than real,' although it remains unclear whether the brain is capable of such activity after cardiac arrest." says Dr. Borjigin.
“We reasoned that if near-death experience stems from brain activity, neural correlates of consciousness should be identifiable in humans or animals even after the cessation of cerebral blood flow,” Borjigin said.
The researchers analyzed the recordings of brain activity called electroencephalograms (EEGs) from nine anesthetized rats undergoing experimentally induced cardiac arrest. Within the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest, all of the rats displayed a widespread, transient surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with a highly aroused brain. The researchers also observed nearly identical patterns in the dying brains of rats undergoing asphyxiation.
Dr. Borjigin states, “The prediction that we would find some signs of conscious activity in the brain during cardiac arrest was confirmed with the data.”
“We were surprised by the high levels of activity,” said study senior author George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., an anesthesiologist and assistant professor of anesthesiology and neurosurgery at the University of Michigan Medical School.
“In fact, at near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death.
“The brain is assumed to be inactive during cardiac arrest, although the neurophysiologic state of the brain immediately following cardiac arrest had not been systemically investigated until now.” continues Dr. Mashour.
“This study tells us that reduction of oxygen or both oxygen and glucose during cardiac arrest can stimulate brain activity that is characteristic of conscious processing,” said Borjigin.
The late Primatologist and esteemed author, Jane Goodall shared many of her personal experiences she had living with and studying chimpanzees. It is no longer a mystery that animals are sentient-they experience feelings very similar to ours. Sadness, joy, fear even depression. How can they experience these human feelings? Research suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain -- areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own. Her work is documented and memorialized by the Jane Goodall Institute.
Kevin Nelson, a professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, told Discovery News."Since only humans are capable of language that can communicate the richness of spiritual experience, it is unlikely we will ever know with certainty what an animal subjectively experiences," Dr. Nelson is also an author of several books, "The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain," which was published in January 2011 and more recently, The God Impulse.
“Since other animals, such as non-human primates, horses, cats and dogs, also possess similar brain structures, it is possible that they too experience mystical moments, and may even have a sense of spiritual oneness.” according to Nelson.
Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, also believes animals have spiritual experiences, which he defines as experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective and comparable to what humans have, as in near death experiences.
Bekoff wrote in a Psychology Today report, "For now, let's keep the door open to the idea that animals can be spiritual beings and let's consider the evidence for such a claim. Meager as it is, available evidence says, 'Yes, animals can have spiritual experiences,' and we need to conduct further research and engage in interdisciplinary discussions before we say that animals cannot and do not experience spirituality."
Pictures - A bottlenose dolphin leaping in the North Sea. Stephanie King and Vincent Janik found that bottlenose dolphins can use signature whistles—voice-independent calls unique to individuals and exchanged when the animals meet at sea—to address social companions during natural communication.
Next - How are animals perceived in the Bible and by other spiritual sources? Are their souls equivalent to man?
I you like what you've read in my column, please click "subscribe." Subscriptions are free and you will receive an email notification for each article I publish. Thank you so much for your support of this page!