AWARE II back online

The Aware study team have set up a web portal for news and general project information on the Stony Brook University hospital website. (www.stonybrookmedicine.edu/sbuh)

Stony Brook is a New York teaching and research hospital, specialising in, among other fields, neurosciences, organ surgery and transplantation. It is a tertiary care and ‘Level 1’ trauma centre.

The resuscitation section (https://medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu/medicine/sleep/resuscitation) is now the home of the AWARE study as it continues into the second phase, as part of the ‘Resuscitation Research Group’.  

The copy content covers the aims of the study, summarised pretty much as Dr Parnia did in the “Dr Oz” interview discussed in the last article. It focuses heavily on the aim of improving resuscitation methodology and monitoring systems. To improve post cardiac arrest outcome, the group as a whole, including the study, is working on a standardisation of procedure that monitors oxygenation and CPR quality. The spreading or ‘education’ of this procedure so far is claimed to have had measurable success. 

There is comparatively little description of the more esoteric aspect of AWARE, that being the probing of possible consciousness in cardiac arrest situations. There is an intriguing paragraph that raises similar thoughts that I have already mused upon in previous articles:

“we will be testing the hypothesis that by limiting ischemia during resuscitation, higher cerebral oxygenation leads to improved cortical function during CPR and is associated with improved survival as well as favourable neurological, functional and neuropsychological outcomes. We further hypothesize that mental and cognitive activity and awareness during CPR may reflect verifiable events and is associated with the quality of brain resuscitation.”

What is unclear here is, does this refer to the duration of ‘flatline’ EEG? If so, is this not a conflict of current medical understanding? Maybe the implication is rather that better recovery leads to better memory storage, but the wording as expressed could be taken to mean that the CPR quality is in fact itself directly enabling the possibility of awareness, rather than the memory of it.
Is it also then being suggested that verifiable memories, due to cognitive activity, will be based on functional human physiology, and thus any reported ‘out of body experiences’ are presumed to be illusional rather than actual external witness?
That latter point is quite crucial to the scope of the study, even if OBE verification is only presented as a lesser exploration.
I would like the study team to clarify their hypothesising in these regards.

The study has once again been publicly registered in the UK on the NHS research domain. (http://www.hra.nhs.uk/news/research-summaries/aware-ii)

As an extra, there is a good list of resource papers linked that are worth looking at.
(https://medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu/medicine/sleep/resuscitation/publications)
Of particular note are the papers concerning oximetry during cardiac arrest, clinical outcomes, and consciousness and death experience.

It is good to see the study in full progress, and I among followers look forward to further updates.

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