Can science explain consciousness?

Lessons from coma and related states

Media:  Talk   

July 2, 2016

Byens Lys

Steven Laureys

Steven Laureys currently leads the Coma Science Group at the Cyclotron Research Centre of the University of Liège in Belgium. He is clinical professor of neurology, at the Liège University Hospital and Research Director at the National Fund for Scientific Research. Homepage


The Sleeptherapists aren't afraid to take the weight of the world on their shoulders, because The Sleeptherapists are here for those who cannot fall asleep and for those who need to wake up. But The Sleeptherapists aren't just a blanket you can pull over your head. The Sleeptherapists don’t believe in a life after death but in death in life. The Sleeptherapists don't believe in any God but in the Divine Dream witch one night will be dreamt by us all, prior to the eternal sleep. The Sleeptherapists believe in all and everything, in nobody and just in themselves, at one time and forever and never no more because The Sleeptherapists know just how much has been slept in the classroom. Homepage

Can patients be conscious after coma? Can there be consciousness or recovery after a brain death? Do near-death experiences exist? Is your dog conscious? Is your new-born conscious?

What makes the impulses from billions of neurons in our brain consciousness? This question has occupied philosophers since ancient times. New brain scanners are now able to reveal parts of this mystery. The study of coma, anesthesia, sleep, dementia, and hypnosis teach us what parts of the brain are important for human consciousness. This knowledge has direct medical and ethical implications, particularly to what concerns the care of patients in brain death, coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state and 'locked-in' syndrome or pseudo coma.

What is consciousness? Will we ever be able to read minds? How can we know if patients in coma are aware and how to communicate with them? Steven Laureys, one of the world experts in consciousness research, will walk us through the recent findings and evidence for a new understanding of consciousness and how all these peculiar brain states (coma, near-death, etc…) reveal to us the inner mysteries of the brain.

Afterwards, cocktails sure to wake up coma patients and the Søl;vnterapeuterne, composed of the human acid-trip Mikkel Bajer in cahoots with emotion-pathologist Charlie Andersen, will recreate some of their self-effacing shortcuts to higher self-awareness of life's fine knife edge with the help of the death-violin and trance-guitar.

Organised in cooperation with the FENS forum Copenhagen 2016 and the support of Hjerneforum.

Entrance to the event is free. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00.

The talk: