Skip to content

Speaking on the Brain

Speaking on Neuroscience and Spiritual Experience

Dr. Nelson is available for speaking engagements and opportunites to discuss the frontiers of neuroscientific investigation in spiritual experiences.  Below are some examples of his talks to give a range of the topics he has provided for academic audiences, public groups and the media.  Contact Dr. Nelson for more information on arranging for a speaking engagement from Dr. Nelson.

Academic Talks

Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale (April 8, 2010)
“Syncope and Arousal: Neurophysiology in the Borderlands of Consciousness”

University of Minnesota (March 12, 2010)
“Syncope and Arousal: Neurophysiology in the Borderlands of Consciousness”

University of Kentucky (November 5, 2009)
Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series
“Syncope and Arousal: Neurophysiology in the Borderlands of Consciousness”

Wake Forest University (May 19, 2009)
“Syncope and Arousal: Neurophysiology in the Borderlands of Consciousness”

Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY (February 9, 2008)
“The Tibetan Book of the Dead; What happens in our brains as we die-from the Tibetan Buddhist perspective” (with Tibet scholar Ramon Prats)

Big Sky Neurosciences Symposium, Big Sky MT (January 25, 2008)
“Arousal, Sleep, Syncope, and Near Death Experience”

In the Media (an incomplete list)

Animal Planet, 2011

Discovery News, October 8th, 2010,”Animals Said to Have Spiritual Experiences”

Russian TV channel TVC (Moscow) April 2, 2010, “Has science destroyed the soul?

Discovery Channel (Health) and The Learning Channel, January 2010. Dr. Nelson provides medical explanations for extraordinary near death experiences.

CNN with Sanja Gupta November 2010. Dr. Nelson explores with neurosurgeon Dr. Sanja Gupta the scientific basis for unusual experiences in those near death. Also featured in Dr. Gupta’s book:

“O” Magazine, December 2007
Dr. Nelson’s work inspired this article and served as the concluding interview of “Twilight Zone Explained”.  The piece led off with Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel commenting that paranormal phenomena are brain based.“‘My findings are spiritually neutral’, he’s quick to note. ‘Even the best scientific explanation doesn’t explain away the existence of a spiritual life’”.

AARP,  September/October 2007
The writer points out that 4-5% of Americans claim a NDE.  Dr. Nelson is offered as the viable explanation of how consciousness is altered.

Time magazine (Cover Story, South Pacific ed), August 31, 2007, On-line.

“What science has lacked until recently is an overarching theory that might explain why NDEs seem so coherent. In two articles published in Neurology, the second in March, a team of University of Kentucky researchers led by Nelson proposed that NDEs occur in a dream-like state brought on when crisis in the brain trips a predisposition to a type of sleep disorder. It’s an hypothesis that’s quickly gathered heavyweight support: “I think Dr. Nelson’s REM-intrusion theory to explain NDEs is the actual physiologic explanation,” says Minnesota sleep expert Mahowald.”

New Yorker July 23, 2007/ Musicophilia, A. Knopf 2007 Oliver Sacks
A New Yorker citation in Dr. Sacks abstraction of a chapter from his book Musicophilia, also led to a New Yorker cartoon and Discovery Channel piece taping.

“Kevin R. Nelson and his colleagues at the University of Kentucky have published several papers stressing the similarities between the dissociation, euphoria, and mystical feelings of near-death experiences and those of dreaming, REM sleep, and the hallucinatory states in the borderlands of sleep.”

New Scientist, October 14, 2006
“But despite numerous attempts, no one has been able to scientifically explain all the elements of an NDE.
Now one researcher thinks he can.  For Kevin Nelson, a neurophysiologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, NDEs may be little more than a dream-like states brought on by stress and a predisposition to a common kind of sleep disorder.  If he’s right, as many as 40% of us could be primed to see the light.”

“Whatever causes NDEs, the experience is surprisingly common.”

International news cycle April, 2006
ABC (homepage headline)
BBC (health section headline and special feature)
FOX (homepage headline)
Additional Coverage
NBC, CBS, Reuters, UPI, AP, Scripps, London Daily Telegraph, LA Times, Washington Post, Globe and Mail, USAToday, Time (on line), WebMD, DiscoveryHealth channel, NPR radio (Sound Medicine), CBC radio (The Hour), CNN radio (John Lawrence), ABC radio (Tim Johnson)

Scientific media

Nelson, K.R., Mattingly, M., Lee, S.A., Schmitt, F.A., Does the arousal system contribute to near death experience? Neurology 66:1003–1009, 2006.
Nelson, K.R., Mattingly, M., Schmitt, F.A., Out-of body experience and Arousal. Neurology, 68: 794-5, 2007.

“Neurology” 4/11/06
The largest internationally circulating journal of clinical neuroscience, as well as “the leading clinical neurology journal worldwide”,

Profiled in /, 4/11/06

  1. Angela Arantes permalink

    I would like to know if Dr. Nelson knows the Spiritism doctrine compiled and wrote by Allan Kardek.
    Thanks for the attention.

  2. Kevin Nelson, M.D. permalink

    No, I am not familiar with that work. I will look into it. Thanks

  3. reipsePes permalink
    The aim of life is to live a divine life. We are living in this world. We know that man does not live by bread alone. He needs the soul in order to live in the world of God’s Reality. The soul alone has the capacity to see and feel the known and the Unknown, the existent and the non-existent, the dream of the past, the achievement of the present and the hope of the future.

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS