DETROIT (CBSDETROIT) – About 20 percent of cardiac arrest survivors report having them, but are near-death experiences real?

University of Michigan researchers say near death experiences may actually be grounded in science.

Their work suggests the dying brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stages of clinical death.

The study’s lead author says shortly after clinical death, when the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain, rats display brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception.

LeTrisha Stallard, of Ypsilanti, believes in near-death experiences too. “I think it happens, sometimes we are close to death,” Stallard said.

“I was in a car accident years ago and I vaguely remember I was about to pass out. I wasn’t anywhere near being dead, but I just remember telling myself,’wake up, wake up , wake up.'”

Megan Reitman, of Southgate, says she believes it:¬†“I just kind of believe that there are a lot of things that we can’t explain – so near-death experiences – why not?”

The researchers expect their findings will form the foundation for future human studies investigating mental experiences that occur in the dying brain, like seeing that bright light during cardiac arrest.

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