Carbon Dioxide and NDEs


Melvin L Morse MD (

Reasearchers from Slovenia published in Critical Care Medicine (April 2010) a nicely done prospective study of near death experiences.  They documented that patients who had NDEs, as compared to control patients who did not have NDEs, had higher levels of carbon dioxide in their blood stream.  They suggest that elevated carbon dioxide levels might be a cause of the near death experience.  They are cautious to acknowledge that this does not invalidate the experience.  They are only postulating a mechanism for it. (Click here to read article) Please note they were kind enough to reference my articles, so I, of course, think they are very smart.

My quick and dirty response is that of course patients who have near death experiences are going to have higher CO2 levels in their bloodstream.  Those are the patients who are closer to death and in turn more likely to have the experience.  The near death experience, is, of course, the dying experience.  High CO2 levels would be a correlation, but not the cause of the experience.

However, there is more to this story, so read on for one of the more bizarre tales in medical history. I personally spoke with Dr. Arthur Atkinson, Chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology at Northwestern University School of Medicine, to get this story. (He is now at the NIH)


“The brevity of treatment will make this therapy so inexpensive that even poor patients can afford it. It will be a new and satisfactory treatment used widely by General Practionners” -Medune

In the late 1950s, a group of prestigious physicians at Northwestern University School of Medicine did a study unprecendented in medical history.  They administered to patients a potentially fatal combination of carbon dioxide gas.  They used this to successfully treat a wide variety of psychiatric and even physical illnesses such as peptic ulcers.  They were convinced that they would revolutionize psychiatry; patients would be cured of even the most troubling psychiatric disorders with only 2-3 in office treatments with the gas!

The patients received brief treatments, during which time they lost consciousness, had a vivid sense of nearly dying, and even a life review.  They received complete pre- and post-treatment evaluations including extensive psychiatric and psychological profiles.  Their resultant transformation  was carefully compared to a control group of patients who breathed the harmless gas nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

The lead researcher, Laso Medune, as well as Arthur Atkinson, believed that the mixture worked by causing a cessation in brain activity.  They documented that the mixture cured anxiety disorders, depression, and even ulcers.  They documented many cures from schizophrenia.  Over 1000 patients were treated with the mixture with excellent results.

Arthur Atkinson Medune Mixture Near Death Experiences

Arthur Atkinson Jr, son of Professor Atkinson who developed the Medune Mixture

I also spoke with Professor Yacorzynski, also one of the lead researchers.  He also reported that the mixture was extremely safe and very effective.  He said that the only reason that the treatments were discontinued was because of hostility from the medical establishment that something so simple could actually work.


Absolutely.  The descriptions given by subjects of the Medune Studies were exactly like those who describe near death experiences.  One patient stated: “after the second breath of the mixture, came an onrush of color and design, rushing towards me, engulfing me, and leaving me breathless.  I felt separated from my body, my soul being drawn apart from the physical body.  I left Earth and reached a communion with (god) causing great relaxation and a sense of security.  Throughout the entire experience, I felt the Greater Spirit smiling on me, indulgently, and I pressed close to its warmth and tender strength.  I had no need to worry.”

Nor did this patient ever worry about death or anxiety again.  She was cured of severe depression and anxiety.

Remember that these studies took place in the 1950s, long before near death experiences became a household name.  The researchers did not make an association between their discovery and NDEs.

When I spoke with Arthur Atkinson, he told me with sadness that his father (Arthur Atkinson Sr.) never lived to learn about near death experiences and possible associations between his discoveries and the transformation of the NDE.  He had a long and prestigious career, but always felt sadness that his dream that anyone could afford and be transformed by the Medune Mixture did not come to pass.

I asked Dr. Atkinson Jr. if he believed the mixture worked.  He laughed and said, “well, we had a close family friend who was a pretty good sailor.  But after he was treated with the Medune Mixture, he went on to be a World Class Competitor in sailing and racing.  I would say it worked!”.

So, of course patients with high CO2 levels had NDEs in the Critical Care Medicine Study.  High levels of CO2 clearly induce the experience and all its benefits.  We need to bring back the Medune Mixture.

Melvin L Morse MD



About Melvin Morse

Melvin L Morse MD, a former Pediatric Intensivist, was a pioneer in Near Death Research, particularly in children. His books Closer to the Light, Transformed by the Light and Where God Lives: How Our Brains are connected to the Universe, are International Best Sellers. He has post graduate training in Neuroscience from the University of Washington. He was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the U of W for 20 years. He is a neuroscientist and Board Certified Pediatrician. Dr. Morse was honored by Best Doctors as being one of the best Pediatricians in America from 1996-2006. He has numerous teaching awards and honors. He has published extensively in the medical literature on near death experiences, consciousness, and Reiki/energetic healing. He currently is in part-practice of Pediatrics in Delaware. He and his wife run the SpiritualScientific Institute, a small consciousness research group. They have been honored by the World Health Organization for their recent research and are presenting at the upcoming Science of Consciousness 2011 Conference in Stockholm. Dr. Morse's current research interests include 1) Spiritual Neuroscience: an understanding the hardware of spiritual understandings 2) Controlled Remote viewing, which he considers to be a window into the near death experience. 3) The right temporal lobe, our "god spot" which connects our brains to the divine. This “god spot” has been more recently been extended by Mario Beauregard MD to be the “Spiritual Brain”. His book Spiritual Brain presents a greater understanding of our brain as a filter of consciousness. 3) Reiki and energetic healing 4) Applications of near death experiences to death and dying, hospice and our cultural understanding of death 5) Medical applications of remote viewing. Dr. Morse lives with his wife and two children in Lower Slower Delaware. He and his wife are one of the few civilian remote viewing teams in the United States.
This entry was posted in Carbon Dioxice and NDEs, Science and NDEs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Carbon Dioxide and NDEs

  1. Arthur Atkinson, Jr. says:

    Actually, the CO2 therapy was invented by Dr. Lazlo Meduna, a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois who had come to the US from Hungary where he had invented insulin shock therapy. My father believed that the treatment had potential for stress-related illness, which peptic ulcer was felt to be at the time, and adopted the procedure in his medical office. He and Dr. Yacorzinski then collaborated on the book that you cite. My father was a doctor of internal medicine who specialized in gastroenterology and did active research with Andrew C. Ivy at Northwestern in the 1940s and 1950s. He never rose to the rank of professor or was chairman of the Gastroenterology Section at Northwestern. My career at Northwestern was also in the Department of Medicine and I started a Clinical Pharmacology Center there before moving on to the Upjohn Company, and then the NIH. I hope these comments are helpful.

  2. Administrator says:

    I hope that Dr. Atkinson does not mind that I inadvertently gave his father a promotion! Nevertheless, Dr. Atkinson confirms that this amazing story is true! I feel that a greatly missed opportunity occured when mainstream medicine overlooked the Medune mixture. You can bet that I will be hanging out at Dr. Atkinson’s house the next time he has a garage sale, to see if any of that old equipment is still around.

    Dr. Morse

  3. Pingback: small coffee table

  4. You wouldn¡¯t believe it but I¡¯ve wasted all day digging for some articles about this. You¡¯re a lifesaver, it was an excellent read and has helped me out to no end. Cheers,

  5. Suzy Sturm says:

    So why does this have to be relegated to history? What would it take to reinstitute this procedure? With enough Internet exposure it would seem there would be a clamor to try this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>