The ketamine model of the near-death experience: A central role for the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor

1997 Journal of Near-Death Studies  
ABSTRAC7 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 re ceptors and resulting in neurotoxicity. Ketamine prevents this neurotoxicity. There are substances in the brain that bind to the same
more » ... ind 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, lead ing to an altered state of consciousness like that produced by ketamine. The near-death experience (NDE) is a phenomenon of considerable importance to medicine, neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry (
doi:10.17514/jnds-1997-16-1-p5-26. fatcat:rzjqz72givatbmmc4kijpvyhbm