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See detailIntensity and memory characteristics of near-death experiences
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege et al

in Consciousness & Cognition (in press)

Memories of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) seem to be very detailed and stable over time. At present, there is still no satisfactory explanation for the NDEs’ rich phenomenology. Here we compared ... [more ▼]

Memories of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) seem to be very detailed and stable over time. At present, there is still no satisfactory explanation for the NDEs’ rich phenomenology. Here we compared phenomenological characteristics of NDE memories with the reported experience’s intensity. We included 152 individuals with a self-reported “classical” NDE (i.e. occurring in life-threatening conditions). All participants completed a mailed questionnaire that included a measure of phenomenological characteristics of memories (the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire; MCQ) and a measure of NDE’s intensity (the Greyson NDE scale). Greyson NDE scale total score was positively correlated with MCQ total score, suggesting that participants who described more intense NDEs also reported more phenomenological memory characteristics of NDE. Using MCQ items, our study also showed that NDE’s intensity is associated in particular with sensory details, personal importance and reactivation frequency variables. [less ▲]

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See detailCorrigendum: Temporality of Features in Near-Death Experience Narratives
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege; Antonopoulos, Georgios ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2017)

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See detailTemporality of Features in Near-Death Experience Narratives
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege; Antonopoulos, Georgios ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2017)

Background: After an occurrence of a Near-Death Experience (NDE), Near- Death Experiencers (NDErs) usually report extremely rich and detailed narratives. Phenomenologically, a NDE can be described as a ... [more ▼]

Background: After an occurrence of a Near-Death Experience (NDE), Near- Death Experiencers (NDErs) usually report extremely rich and detailed narratives. Phenomenologically, a NDE can be described as a set of distinguishable features. Some authors have proposed regular patterns of NDEs, however, the actual temporality sequence of NDE core features remains a little explored area. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate the frequency distribution of these features (globally and according to the position of features in narratives) as well as the most frequently reported temporality sequences of features. Methods: We collected 154 French freely expressed written NDE narratives (i.e., Greyson NDE scale total score 7/32). A text analysis was conducted on all narratives in order to infer temporal ordering and frequency distribution of NDE features. Results: Our analyses highlighted the following most frequently reported sequence of consecutive NDE features: Out-of-Body Experience, Experiencing a tunnel, Seeing a bright light, Feeling of peace. Yet, this sequence was encountered in a very limited number of NDErs. Conclusion: These findings may suggest that NDEs temporality sequences can vary across NDErs. Exploring associations and relationships among features encountered during NDEs may complete the rigorous definition and scientific comprehension of the phenomenon. [less ▲]

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See detailConsciousness: Exploring brain activity in coma and other states of consciousness
Cassol, Helena ULiege

Conference (2017, March 11)

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See detail2 Years outcome of patients in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome/vegetative state and minimally conscious state
Cassol, Helena ULiege; LEDOUX, Didier ULiege; Thibaut, Aurore ULiege et al

Poster (2017, March)

INTRODUCTION: Following severe acute brain damage, patients typically evolve from coma to an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome/vegetative state (UWS/VS; wakefulness without awareness) and later to a ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION: Following severe acute brain damage, patients typically evolve from coma to an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome/vegetative state (UWS/VS; wakefulness without awareness) and later to a minimally conscious state (MCS; fluctuating but consistent nonreflex behaviors). MCS is subcategorized in MCS+ (i.e., command following) and MCS- (i.e., visual pursuit, localization of noxious stimulation or contingent behaviours). Reliable and consistent interactive communication and/or functional use of objects indicate the next boundary – emergence from MCS (EMCS). To date, there is still no reliable predictive model of recovery from the UWS/VS and the MCS. A better understanding of patients' outcome would help in decisions regarding patients’ care and rehabilitation, as well as end-of-life decisions. METHODS: We collected demographic information, acute care history and longitudinal follow-up of patients in UWS/VS and MCS admitted in 15 expert centers in Belgium (via the Belgian Federal Public Service Health). Patients were evaluated at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months post injury with the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised and the diagnosis was based on internationally accepted criteria of UWS/VS, MCS or EMCS. Results were considered significant at p<0.001. RESULTS: 24 months follow-up was available for 476 patients including 261 diagnosed in UWS/VS (88 traumatic, 173 non-traumatic) and 215 diagnosed in MCS (80 traumatic, 135 non-traumatic) one month after the injury. Patients who were in MCS one month after the insult were more likely to recover functional communication or object use after 24 months than patients in UWS/VS. Moreover, functional recovery occurred more often in MCS+ (79%) as compared to MCS- (29%), and mortality rate was more important in MCS- patients (68%) as compared to MCS+ (21%). Comparisons within UWS/VS and MCS groups based on etiology showed that traumatic patients had a better outcome at 24 months than non-traumatic patients. Among non-traumatic patients, no difference was found between anoxic patients and patients with other etiologies regarding functional recovery. CONCLUSION: Our study highlights that the outcome is significantly better for patients who are in MCS one month post-injury as compared to patients who remain in UWS/VS at that time. Concerning MCS patients, the outcome is significantly better for patients who are MCS+ one month post-injury as compared to patients who are MCS- at that time. This study also confirms that patients with traumatic etiology have better prognosis than patients with non-traumatic causes. [less ▲]

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See detailApplication of Qualitative Thematic Analysis to Near-Death Experiences
Cassol, Helena ULiege; Pétré, Benoît ULiege; Degrange, Sophie ULiege et al

Poster (2017, February 01)

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See detailNear-death experiences: actual considerations.
Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege; Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege et al

in Schnakers, Caroline; Laureys, Steven (Eds.) Coma and Disorders of Consciousness, Second Edition (2017)

The notion that death represents a passing to an afterlife, where we are reunited with loved ones and live eternally in a utopian paradise, is common in the anecdotal reports of people who have ... [more ▼]

The notion that death represents a passing to an afterlife, where we are reunited with loved ones and live eternally in a utopian paradise, is common in the anecdotal reports of people who have encountered a “near-death experience” (NDE). These experiences are usually portrayed as being extremely pleasant including features such as a feeling of peacefulness, the vision of a dark tunnel leading to a brilliant light, the sensation of leaving the body, or the experience of a life review. NDEs are increasingly being reported as a clearly identifiable physiological and psychological reality of clinical and scientific significance. The definition and causes of the phenomenon as well as the identification of NDE experiencers are still matters of debate. The phenomenon has been thoroughly portrayed by the media, but the science of NDEs is rather recent and still lacking of rigorous experimental data and reproducible controlled experiments. It seems that the most appropriate theories to explain the phenomenon tend to integrate both psychological and neurobiological mechanisms. The paradoxical dissociation between the richness and intensity of the memory, probably occurring during a moment of brain dysfunction, offers a unique opportunity to better understand the neural correlates of consciousness. In this chapter, we will attempt to describe NDEs and the methods to identify them. We will also briefly discuss the NDE experiencers’ characteristics. We will then address the main current explicative models and the science of NDEs. [less ▲]

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See detailPrevalence of coma-recovery scale-revised signs of consciousness in patients in minimally conscious state
Wannez, Sarah ULiege; Gosseries, Olivia ULiege; Azzolini, Deborah et al

in Neuropsychological Rehabilitation (2017)

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See detailPhenomenology of future-oriented mind-wandering episodes
Stawarczyk, David ULiege; CASSOL, Héléna ULiege; D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULiege

in Frontiers in Psychology (2013), 4

Recent research suggests that prospective and non-prospective forms of mind-wandering possess distinct properties, yet little is known about what exactly differentiates between future-oriented and non ... [more ▼]

Recent research suggests that prospective and non-prospective forms of mind-wandering possess distinct properties, yet little is known about what exactly differentiates between future-oriented and non-future-oriented mind-wandering episodes. In the present study, we used multilevel exploratory factor analyses to examine the factorial structure of various phenomenological dimensions of mind-wandering, and we then investigated whether future-oriented mind-wandering episodes differ from other classes of mind-wandering along the identified factors. We found that the phenomenological dimensions of mind-wandering are structured in four factors: representational format (inner speech vs. visual imagery), personal relevance, realism/concreteness, and structuration. Prospective mind-wandering differed from non-prospective mind-wandering along each of these factors. Specifically, future-oriented mind-wandering episodes involved inner speech to a greater extent, were more personally relevant, more realistic/concrete, and more often part of structured sequences of thoughts. These results show that future-oriented mind-wandering possesses a unique phenomenological signature and provide new insights into how this particular form of mind-wandering may adaptively contribute to autobiographical planning. [less ▲]

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