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Journal of Near-Death Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 5–26 | Cite as

The Ketamine Model of the Near-Death Experience: A Central Role for the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor

  • Karl L. R. Jansen
Article

Abstract

Near-death experiences (NDEs) can be reproduced by ketamine via blockade of receptors in the brain for the neurotransmitter glutamate, the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Conditions that precipitate NDEs, such as hypoxia, ischemia, hypoglycemia, and temporal lobe epilepsy, have been shown to release a flood of glutamate, overactivating NMDA receptors and resulting in neurotoxicity. Ketamine prevents this neurotoxicity. There are substances in the brain that bind to the same receptor site as ketamine. Conditions that trigger a glutamate flood may also trigger a flood of neuroprotective agents that bind to NMDA receptors to protect cells, leading to an altered state of consciousness like that produced by ketamine.

Keywords

Ischemia Glutamate Ketamine NMDA Receptor Hypoglycemia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl L. R. Jansen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Maudsley HospitalLondonUnited Kingdom

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