Those who care for patients with dementia and other debilitating neurological disorders sometimes relate episodes in which dying patients spontaneously and – given their diagnosis and disease severity – unexpectedly speak or act in ways that suggest lucid awareness, including return of memory function and verbal ability.
This phenomenon – called terminal lucidity – can be distinguished from a waxing and waning pathology (e.g., a “good day”) by occurring during a period in which the functional or behavioral consequences of the dementia are considered to be irreversible.
Like the near-death experience, terminal lucidity therefore signifies a death-related emergence of awareness and complex cognition during conditions of drastically disrupted cerebral physiology generally considered unlikely to support consciousness and cognition.
Studying terminal lucidity could help elucidate the factors governing the peculiar relationship between mind and brain, particularly as the brain deteriorates; additionally, it could facilitate the development of new therapeutic approaches to the dementias and other severe neurological disorders.
During this research meeting, overviews of what is known about terminal lucidity and related events near death will be presented along with new research findings from the largest TL study so far; additionally, we will look at current research initiatives to further elucidate the intricacies of consciousness, cognition, and personhood near death.
Lectures and discussions will be held in English
Admission is free, registration required