Berzelius Symposium 109: the Mind from Cradle to Grave

Svenska Läkaresällskapet, Klara Östra Kyrkogata 10 or Zoom

Consciousness from fetal life to old age

The nature of human consciousness is a fundamental question often discussed by philosophers and neuroscientists. With the recent advancements  in artificial intelligence, this question has become even more relevant. 

It is also an important topic for clinicians, particularly for those working at the beginning and end of patients’ lives. Even anesthetists are often concerned with the state  of consciousness. However, less attention has been devoted to the content of consciousness. 

The aim of this Berzelius symposium is mainly to discuss the clinical aspects of the emergence of consciousness in the fetus and the neonate and the weakening of consciousness in old age. This is of major importance with regard to setting the limit for legal abortion and determining how to manage extremely preterm infants. Regarding old age, the question of consciousness pertains to intensive care and surgery of patients with conditions such as severe stroke, dementia, and locked-in-syndrome. 

Berzelius symposia are regarded as the most distinguished conferences organized by the Swedish Society of Medicine. Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1749-1848) was a famous chemist and one of the founders of the Karolinska Institutet. This meeting is sponsored by Acta Paediatrica and the Journal of Internal Medicine. Some of the speakers will be invited to write review articles based on their lectures. The articles on the fetus and the child will be published in Acta Paediatrica and those on elderly patients in the Journal of Internal Medicine.


Wednesday, May 22

9.00 Registration
  Chair: Hugo Lagercrantz, Stockholm
9.45 Welcome and Introduction
10.00 Conscious processing down to the molecular level
  Jean-Pierre Changeux, Paris 
10.30 Invited discussants
  Göran Wendin, Göteborg and Hans Liljenström, Uppsala
11.00 Coffee
11.20 Fetal brain imaging
  Hubert Preissl and Joel Frohlich, Tuebingen
12.00 Fetal consciousness
  Nadja Reissland, Durham UK 
12.30 Discussion
12.45 Lunch
  Chair: Annika Janson, Stockholm
13.45 The newborn mind
  Hugo Lagercrantz
14.00 The preterm mind
  Ulrika Ådén, Stockholm and Nelly Padilla, Barcelona
14.45 Discussion
15.15 Coffee
15.45 The joy of being conscious
  Morten Kringelbach, Oxford
16.15 General Discussion
16:45  End of meeting


Thursday, May 23

  Chair: Bo Angelin, Stockholm
9.30 Evolution of consciousness
  Bjorn Grinde, Oslo 
10.00 Consciousness (out) of the body 
  Henrik Ehrsson, Stockholm 
10.30 Discussion
10.50 Coffee
11.10 Disorders of consciousness: from diagnosis to therapy
  Olivia Gosseries, Liège 
11.50 Intensive care of the unconscious patient    
  Michael Broomé, Stockholm 
12.20  Discussion
12.45  Lunch
  Chair: Claes Frostell, Stockholm
13:45 Growing old and dying
  Johan Frostegård, Stockholm 
14.15 The notion and value of consciousness in two ethical issues 
  Göran Hermerén, Lund 
14.45 Coffee 
15.05 End-of-life Care
  Invited Discussants: Helena Almén, Stockholm, Ulrik Kihlbom, Stockholm, Anna Lindblad, Stockholm, Niels Lynoe, Stockholm
16.30 General Discussion
17.00  End of meeting


Abstract Book

Organizing Committee:  Hugo Lagercrantz, Claes Frostell, Bo Angelin

Secretariat: Nina Forsberg, Anna Käll, Elin Alvehag      


The deadline for registration is May 13th

If you have any questions, please contact Hugo Lagercrantz

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