Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death (英語) ハードカバー – 2013/2/26
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Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death reveals that death is not a moment in time. Death, rather, is a process—a process that can be interrupted well after it has begun. Innovative techniques have proven to be effective in revitalizing both the body and mind, but they are only employed in approximately half of the hospitals throughout the United States and Europe.
Dr. Sam Parnia, Director of the AWARE Study (AWAreness during REsuscitation) and one of the world’s leading experts on the scientific study of death and near-death experiences (NDE), presents cutting-edge research from the front lines of critical care and resuscitation medicine while also shedding light on the ultimate mystery: What happens to human consciousness during and after death? Dr. Parnia reveals how some form of “afterlife” may be uniquely ours, as evidenced by the continuation of the human mind and psyche after the brain stops functioning.
With physicians such as Dr. Parnia at the forefront, we are on the verge of discovering a new universal science of consciousness that reveals the nature of mind and a future where death is not the final defeat, but is, in fact, reversible.
“A fascinating discussion that addresses medical, moral and social issues and their implications for understanding consciousness, self-awareness and the soul.” (—Kirkus)
“What happens when we die, and what lies beyond death’s door, are among human-kind’s most enduring questions. Erasing Death offers groundbreaking new insights into these vital questions. You won’t want to miss out on this outstanding and highly recommended book.” (—Jeffrey Long, M.D., author of the New York Times bestselling Evidence of the Afterlife)
“Parnia convincingly argues that death is a dynamic biological process that only begins once the heart stops beating. Modern medicine and technology have now made it feasible for consciousness to persist in the dying brain—and come back to life.” (—Stephan A. Mayer, M.D., professor of neurology and neurological surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons)
“Based on his studies on ‘near-death experiences’ (or even better ‘actual-death experiences’), Parnia gives convincing arguments that there is a continuation of consciousness after physical death and that we have to reconsider our current definition of death. An important and highly recommended book.” (—Pim van Lommel, cardiologist, NDE researcher, and author of Consciousness Beyond Life)
“A fascinating and informative book, written by this cutting-edge researcher on the forefront of resuscitation. Erasing Death may change the way we practice medicine.” (—Tom P. Auferheide, M.D., FACEP, FACC, FAHA, professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin)
“Erasing Death is a solidly researched and carefully presented story that will astound readers and make them rethink what we believe about the border between life and death.” (-Bruce Greyson, M.D., Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Viginia Health System)
“Parnia has captured the miracle of life… The public should learn from these compelling stories.” (—Robert E. O'Connor, M.D., MPH,professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Universityof Virginia School of Medicine)
“Parnia has the extraordinary ability to communicate these complex concepts in a way that readers will understand. The result is a piece of work that is both stimulating and highly informative.” (—Jerry Nolan, M.D., consultant in anesthesia and intensive caremedicine at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, UK, and editor-in-chief of Resuscitation)
“Parnia demonstrates that consciousness can persist after the disappearance of any outward sign of brain activity... His story gives hope for future improvements.” (—Graham Nichol, M.D., MPH, FRCP(C),director of the University of Washington–Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency Care in Seattle, Washington)
“[Parnia] helps bring people back from the dead—and some return with stories. Their tales could help save lives, and even challenge traditional scientific ideas about the nature of consciousness.” (Wired)
This is a fascinating work that explains the science of dying, which is a process rather than a moment in time, in easily understood detail. I recommend it to anyone interested in emergency medicine, as well as those curious about the latest science on "after death" experiences.
The major problems are not in the subject matter. Dr. Parnia comes off as being very knowledgeable, objective, and competent as a scientist and as a doctor. He speaks with a clear, direct voice. That said, this book needed a ruthless editor, because the repetition gets trying after a while. My belief is that if you can say it in 100 pages, don't use 300. With some judicious pruning, this book's length could have been halved and it would have been all the stronger for it. Repetition has a diluting effect on writing.
The book is on much firmer ground when it's talking about medical advances -- who knew hypothermia could be so handy? -- than when it goes into NDE territory. I found the blow-by-blow walkthrough of cardiac arrest, and the discussion of the biological processes of death, fascinating. The NDE stuff, I think, would only be surprising or new to someone who had never heard of an NDE. The (relatively brief) discussions of policy-making in relation to resuscitation medicine are too specialized for the average reader, and they made my eyes glaze over. They should have been cut out altogether.
I think this book deserves 2.5 stars, but Amazon won't let me rate in half-stars. So I'm going to be generous and give it 3. The interesting stuff is there, but it's hamstrung by repetitive filler. A ruthless editor is a good editor.