Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What do you see before you die: a bright light, pearly gates, your life in a flash? One researcher is trying to figure it out.

Steven Laureys, director of the coma science group and the department of neurology at Liege University Hospital in Belgium, interviewed 190 people who claim to have vivid memories of near-death experiences.

“We found the near-death experiences were richer and more real than real than any other experience,” Laureys told ABC News, adding that the experience was generally “quite positive.”

“It’s hard to explain how such a rich experience can happen in such a situation where we know the activity of the brain is very, very abnormal,” he added.

Laureys’ subjects had nearly died from a range of injuries, from near-drowning to cardiac arrest. But their memories of the space between life and death were surprisingly similar.

“Over 80 percent a report feeling of peacefulness,” he said.

Only two subjects reported negative experiences, according to Laureys’ study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

While peacefulness is the prevailing feeling from near-death experiences, a review of studies on the topic suggests out-of-body experiences, altered time perception, bright lights, speeded thoughts and “life review” are also common.

“I think first of all it’s a unique opportunity to better understand consciousness,” Laureys said of studying the phenomenon.

Laureys and his team used the Greyson Method, developed by a psychiatrist to measure the depth of a near-death experience, to establish that all 190 subjects were similarly close to death. They also used a special psychological checklist to ensure that they didn’t have false memories from drugs or other injury-related hallucinations.

But the near-death memories were not fuzzy. Instead, the subjects reported vivid memories of their experiences, Laureys said.

Some researchers have hypothesized that oxygen deprivation could be triggering the experiences, but Laureys said that’s unlikely. He said people with injuries that would not immediately affect the flow of oxygen to the brain reported similar memories.

Laureys said he plans on conducting another study that would involve scanning the brains of people who have had near-death experiences to see if there’s any physical change. He’s adamant that more research needs to be done and is even asking the public to share their near-death experience.

If you want to join in on the research you can send your story to Laureys at coma@ulg.ac.be.

The one big question Laureys isn’t touching is whether there’s life after death.

“It’s something that intrigues us,” he said, but added, “I don’t think we have scientific proof of life after death except organ donation.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cameroonian soccer players only scored once during the World Cup — and it wasn’t in the bedroom.

The team is among six whose players who had reportedly been instructed not to have sex during the World Cup in the hopes that celibacy would somehow enhance their athletic ability.

Apparently, it didn’t do that much good.

Coaches for Bosnia, Cameroon, Chile, Ghana, Mexico and South Korea banned sex, according to The Telegraph. But only Chile and Mexico moved on to the tournament’s round of 16. The other four teams are out of the running.

The notion that celibacy helps performance has been around for decades — even Muhammad Ali reportedly abstained before fights. But there’s no scientific evidence that it works, said Jeff Janata, psychology division chief at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

“I assume that it relates to the idea that testosterone and aggression are linked,” Janata said, explaining that some people assume that they lose testosterone through ejaculation. “In reality, science suggests just the opposite.”

Janata said celibate men actually have lower testosterone levels than men who have regular sex.

“So if you’re looking at testosterone and aggression, maybe there’s logic to actually engaging in sex,” he said. “If you’re looking at performance in general, there’s some evidence that sex actually enhances performance across a variety of areas, as long as it’s not immediately before the act.”

Sex releases endorphins, which act as the body’s natural pain relievers, Janata said. It can also help calm anxious players before their matches.

But what about burning too many calories before a match? After all, Brazil reportedly banned only “acrobatic” sex, and its team moved on to the next round.

“Sex does not really expend that much in the way of calories to the chagrin of people who like to think of it as their trip to the gym,” Janata said, adding that a typical sex act only amounts to the number of calories in a “hard-boiled egg.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) — With their latest service devoted to helping couples search for their soul mate, a group of scientists say that in the search for compatibility, love is all about DNA compatibility.

They call it Instant Chemistry, a company founded by Ron Gonzalez, a psychologist, and his wife, Sara Seabrooke, a geneticist.

They said they were inspired to create Instant Chemistry after seeing how many marriages fail.

“If we can help reduce those divorce rates by helping couples learn more about themselves [and] really have that insight that you would take…10 to 15 years to get and you could have it today, you can imagine that that could help ease a lot of relationship tensions,” Gonzalez said.

The key to Instant Chemistry, they said, is in the DNA. Couples can use a test that looks at genes in the immune system. According to Gonzalez and Seabrooke, the more differences there are between two people’s immune systems, the more attractive they’ll find each other.

“If you have two people come together with very different immune systems and they have a child, the child is getting immune system genes from both the mother and the father,” Seabrooke said. “The more diverse those genes are, the more chance the child has of withstanding different pathogens or infections than if their immune systems were similar between both parents.”

Instant Chemistry’s test also looks at the serotonin transporter gene, a gene that determine a human’s personality, such as if a person has mood swings or is more even-tempered.

“Essentially, we tell you how you and your partner may deal with a conflicted situation,” Seabrooke said. “We give you the breakdown of how the genetics plays a role in your relationship and also how psychology plays a role.”

While Gonzalez and Seabrooke said the test won’t guarantee that couples will be conflict-free, they said that it’s a tool that can help a couple strengthen their relationship. If someone is looking for a partner, the test can also help them find someone they will more likely have a satisfactory relationship with over time.

The Instant Chemistry lab is located in Toronto. For $199, couples can get an Instant Chemistry kit delivered to their house. All that’s needed for the test is a bit of saliva from each person.

Since the company’s launch in January, Instant Chemistry has sold 200 kits worldwide, Gonzalez and Seabrooke said. Through partnerships with matchmaking services like Agape in New York and Singld Out in Los Angeles, they said their product has resulted in dozens of happy relationships.

However, some say that there isn’t enough data out there to prove Instant Chemistry’s claims. Other scientists said that the test is bogus because variability between people who take the test will inevitably exist and that the test just over-interprets what happens naturally.

“If you’re talking about just randomly putting people together, you have to start thinking about probabilities. What’s the probability of two people coming together who are just randomly meeting and [being] this different from each other?” Seabrooke said of the criticism. “It’s [a] very low chance that two people have actually come together by chance that are this diverse in their immune system.”

Watch the full story on ABC News’ Nightline Prime, Saturday, June 28, at 10 p.m. ET.

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Laura Price(NEW YORK) — Laura Price never thought she would shed her shoulder-length hair until she realized she was likely going to lose her hair to chemotherapy treatments.

In 2012 Price, at age 29, was diagnosed with breast cancer. As she prepared to start chemotherapy treatments she decided she would get rid of most of her hair in favor of a short pixie cut before the drugs kicked in.

“I never would have got this haircut or dared to cut it,” said Price now 31. “This haircut suits me more.”

Price still lost her hair, including her eyebrows and lashes, but said cutting her hair ahead of time helped prepare her. As she went through treatment Price documented her changing appearance by taking a single selfie every day and using an app to make sure she could see just how much hair was growing back. While she sometimes wore wigs or hats when she went out, in the selfies she shows what was going on underneath her head covering.

She also started a blog to keep friends and family updated on her condition. However, her blog got such a strong response she eventually made it public and then began blogging for the Huffington Post U.K. about her experiences being treated for cancer as a young woman.

Now nearly two years out of treatment, Price is healthy with her hair back in the cropped pixie cut shape. To celebrate more than 18 months of being cancer-free she released a video compilation of the selfies that show her changing appearance after getting cancer treatment. The video has already gone viral with local media outlets in the United Kingdom interviewing Price and featuring the video.

For Price, she said she was surprised by the reaction but grateful at the positive response she’s gotten.

“Seeing that and watching the video, I was glad I did it. I’ll carry on with it,” she said of the daily selfie tradition.

The response to her blog and her experience as a young person with cancer lead Price to start working with the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, aimed at raising awareness about young people suffering from breast cancer. Price said she wanted to help others going through a similar situation as her own.

“It never goes away,” said Price of dealing with her past cancer diagnosis. “There’s never a day where I don’t think about it. My hair is a constant reminder.”

Price is now back at work and enjoying the chance to grow out her hair, although she is bothered by one change: a small bald spot on the crown of her head.

“It does bother me a bit,” said Price. “A lot of the other people have said [it doesn't] grow back in the same way.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) — Does worrying about insomnia keep you awake at night?

While that sounds like a joke, people who have problems sleeping do often worry about the reported side effects of insomnia, which include hypertension.

Or are the reports of a link between high blood pressure and a lack of sleep overblown? Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, might have encouraging news.

Vozoris says that the 30 percent of adults with insomnia should not worry about it causing high blood pressure because previous studies on the subject were too small to gauge accurate results.

Vozoris said he poured over data that involved 13,000 Americans who were asked about insomnia symptoms and whether they had taken medication for sleeplessness or hypertension.

His findings were that “there were generally no associations between insomnia and high blood pressure, even among people who were suffering from insomnia the most often.”

Not only might the study put millions of people’s minds at ease but Vozoris says it should also prompt physicians to ease up prescribing sleep meds if they previously thought there was some connection between insomnia and hypertension.

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Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(HANOVER, N.H.) — A picture may tell a thousand words but nothing beats a visual chart to get someone to change their mind during an argument, especially if they’re ill-informed on a subject.

Dartmouth University cognitive researchers say these charts resonate more with people than the spoken or written word because they reflect our “native language.”

Specifically, the researchers wanted to learn what it would take to change someone’s political views when they had their facts wrong.

Presenting arguments both verbally and in writing didn’t seem to work because people just countered them with their long-held beliefs, no matter how inaccurate they were.

However, when presented with facts in the form of a chart, participants were more apt to accept the information, so long as their sense of self wasn’t threatened.

In order to reduce that likelihood, the Dartmouth researchers tried to affirm the participants’ self-worth, which also seemed to clear up misperceptions even when there wasn’t any new data provided.

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Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(HANOVER, N.H.) — A picture may tell a thousand words but nothing beats a visual chart to get someone to change their mind during an argument, especially if they’re ill-informed on a subject.

Dartmouth University cognitive researchers say these charts resonate more with people than the spoken or written word because they reflect our “native language.”

Specifically, the researchers wanted to learn what it would take to change someone’s political views when they had their facts wrong.

Presenting arguments both verbally and in writing didn’t seem to work because people just countered them with their long-held beliefs, no matter how inaccurate they were.

However, when presented with facts in the form of a chart, participants were more apt to accept the information, so long as their sense of self wasn’t threatened.

In order to reduce that likelihood, the Dartmouth researchers tried to affirm the participants’ self-worth, which also seemed to clear up misperceptions even when there wasn’t any new data provided.

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — One of the worst things to happen to anyone is finding out that they have cancer.

Adding insult is injury is what researchers term “financial toxicity,” that is, all the stress of worrying about how much of a financial burden a patient and their family will undertake to treat the disease.

Jonas de Souza, head-and-neck cancer specialist at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine, says this is one aspect of contracting cancer that few doctors talk about with patients.

That’s why de Sousa and others at the University of Chicago developed a tool called COST, which stands for Comprehensive Score for financial Toxicity.

In short, COST measures a patient’s ability to deal with all the financial concerns associated with their disease.

With this information at their disposal, according to de Sousa, they can make more informed decisions, particularly when it comes to medications.

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Fuse/Thinkstock(ESSEX, England) — Parents who want their kids to be star athletes might want to arrange it so that they’re born in the months of October or November.

That’s the advice of Dr. Gavin Sandercock of the Center for Sports and Exercise Science at Essex University in England.

An expert on children’s physical activity, Sandercock says that fall-born children have “a clear physical advantage” over their peers.

The study involved measuring the stamina, hand grip strength and lower body power of 8,550 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 16.

Essentially, those born in October and November rated higher in the characteristics that make children good athletes such as heart and muscle strength and speed.

So what is it about the autumn months that give children a leg up on the playing field? The most plausible explanation, according to Sandercock and his team, is that pregnant women who are out in the summer months expose their babies to copious amounts of Vitamin D, which has known health benefits.
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Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOULDER, Colo.) — Although it seems counterintuitive, the more bicyclists that ride on crowded city streets, the less chance they’ll have of colliding with cars.

What accounts for this phenomenon known as the “safety in numbers effect?” It’s something that researchers at the University of Colorado haven’t yet ascertained.

However, what they did find out after studying the incidence of accidents involving motorists and bicyclists in Boulder — one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities — is that collisions dropped significantly at intersections when there were more cyclists on the road.

Co-author Wesley Marshall says they could verify the “safety in numbers effect” with a good deal of certainty because Boulder was one of the first cities in the nation to establish a bicycle counting program some time ago.

As for why more bicyclists are shown to reduce accidents, Marshall can only guess. One theory is that it changes the behavior of drivers, making them more apt to look out for people on two wheels.

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