People often look like they are sleeping just after dying, having a neutral facial expression. But one of my relatives, who had intense pain the hours leading up to his death and lacked access to medical care, had a radiant, ecstatic expression. For decades, I have wondered whether the last minutes of life can be… Read more

Religious and spiritual experience activates the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, say researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine. The investigators wanted to determine which brain networks are involved in representing spiritual feelings in one group, devout Mormons, by creating an environment that… Read more

Psychedelic drugs may help curb domestic violence committed by men with substance abuse problems, according to a recent University of British Columbia study. The research found that 42 per cent of U.S. adult male inmates who did not take psychedelic drugs were arrested within six years for domestic battery after their release, compared to a… Read more

Suppression of the brain’s inhibitory functions can result in openness to mystical experiences, suggests new research from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Victoria University of Wellington. The study found that rather than activating a single area in the brain, what’s been referred to as the potential ‘God Spot‘, it is the suppression of the… Read more

An approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that incorporates patients’ religious beliefs is at least as effective as conventional CBT for chronically ill patients with major depression, suggests a new study. Writes Dr Harold Koenig of Duke University Medical Center: “Integrating religious clients’ beliefs into CBT does not appear to significantly reduce its effectiveness, especially in… Read more