Today’s Headlines: Near-Death Experiences, Grandparents and Meditation

Near-death experiences aren’t figment of imagination, study shows: New evidence may shed some light on near-death experiences. University of Michigan researchers have found that the “brain remains conscious after the heart stops beating.” In fact, the brain “may even function higher in the moments immediately following cardiac arrest than it does when the body is in a normal state.” This finding may help explain the “internal visions and heightened perception” reported by nearly 20% of people who survive cardiac arrest. (CBS News)

Good grandparent, grandchild bond may lower depression risk for both: Turns out a hug from grandma or grandpa really could make us happier. According to a new study, “a good relationship between grandparents and their adult grandchildren was linked to fewer depression symptoms for both elderly and young adults.” Researchers found that grandparents who both give and receive support to and from their grandchildren reaped the greatest rewards. In contrast, grandparents who “received ‘tangible support’ but were unable to reciprocate with a grandchild had the most increases in depressive symptoms over time.” So if grandpa wants to lend a helping hand, say yes – it could make you both happier. (CBS News)

Meditation may help reduce smoking, study says: If you’re trying to quit smoking, look to meditation. A new study shows that meditating “just a modest amount may help curb cigarette smoking, even in smokers who don’t intend to quit.” Researchers found that after “a few hours of meditation, smokers puffed significantly less and had increased activity in brain regions associated with self-control – without even knowing that their behavior had changed.” The effect was significant – meditating for five hours over two weeks reduced smoking by 60%. (Los Angeles Times)