Out of body, in the mind

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Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) have been reported by people for millennia. They are typically (but not only) associated with near-death experiences. 

Although regarded by some as evidence that the ‘self’ can leave the body, we now know what happens in the brain when these bizarre incidents occur. 

Those who have OBEs are more likely to have other conditions like epilepsy, migraines or even anxiety and stress. So, what explains the link?

Neuroscientist Jane Aspell, from Anglia Ruskin University, discusses the latest research into OBEs and related neurological conditions in which the self is fundamentally altered.

By drawing on her recent studies - funded by Versus Arthritis and The Bial Foundation - in which she uses virtual reality to induce OBE-like experiences in healthy participants, she examines how such research helps explain how the brain creates a sense of who and what a self is.

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