Here is the recent news claim...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070823/sc_afp/usscienceparanormal_070823220839 - Scientists recreate out-of-body experiences (no drugs)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6960612.stm - Out-of-body experience recreated
http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070820/full/070820-9.html - Illusion mimics out-of-body experiences
That is the claim that news stories are running with, but a closer examination reveals this simply isn't true at all.
The device used in the new research in question is nothing more than an optical illusion, where the person is fully conscious and alert, and placed in a stagnate simulated autoscopy perception generated by virtual reality. Totally different than a real OBE.
In a real OBE for example, the person is either in an unconscious state or a flat-lined state where brain-wave activity is nill, the person is completely detached from all feeling and senses of the physical body, sometimes the person will have 360 degree ultra clear vision from every angle of the room, and the person actually wanders around while OBE in many cases, not staying stagnate in one position, wandering far outside of their line of sight, like going into the hallway, or the waiting room, or the roof of the building, going into the street and other areas, and Veridically seeing & hearing events, objects, people, writing, events, and conversations there, which can later be checked and verified to be true in a number of well documented and well researched cases. There are even well documented cases of persons who are blind and persons who were born blind having visually veridical OBEs.
Dr. Jeff Long of NDERF / OBERF (NDE/OBE Research Foundation) has reviewed both articles in this week's issue of the Journal Science, including commentary. He also provided comments on the articles by NDE Researcher P.M.H. Atwater L.H.D.
Highlights: "Neither research team claimed to produce an OBE. Both research tems were clear they were tricking the body's sensory system and creating an illusion. Apparently no research subject in either study claimed to have a real OBE. These studies got a lot more press coverage than was warrented by the limited significance of their findings."
"A true, real out-of-body experience, especially if an aspect or component of the near-death phenomenon, typically involves extensive movement and interaction not only within the environment of the individual, but in novel, different, or far-flung environments unknown to the individual that are explored and investigated at length. When these individuals return to their bodies, they are able to recount in detail what they observed, heard, touched, sensed, smelled, and witnessed. Third-party verification of such details is commonplace."
"True out-of-body experiences do not match the results of the experiments conducted by the two neuroscientists reported on in Science Journal. What they did find, though, is quite intriguing and may indeed explain the phenomenon of the double-walker counterpart people have claimed that they had - since the earliest of times."
I personally found it quite amusing to see misinformed one-sided skeptics on science forums running with this misunderstood research screaming, "I told you so! Another example of science over superstition!" Which objectively proves that being one-sided is being dumb-sided, as the vast majority of skeptics I have met have never honestly researched BOTH SIDES of the issue regarding these things. Confirmation Bias is LOL. (I on the otherhand *constantly* read up on all sides of the issue regarding these Phenomenon, reading material from both Researchers and Skeptics).
If they had, they would have known that the research in question produced NOTHING like a real OBE, and regardless can not explain the overwhelming numbers of Veridical Details obtained during real OBEs, especially those that have been documented as occuring during a state in which the brain waves are flat-lined following cardiac arrest.