Alexander Moreira-Almeida

Alexander Moreira-Almeida
Federal University of Juiz de Fora · Departamento de Clínica Médica

MD, PhD

About

173
Publications
75,020
Reads
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4,334
Citations
Citations since 2017
55 Research Items
2474 Citations
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Introduction
Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Research Center in Spirituality and Health (NUPES), School of Medicine, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Brazil. Chair of the Section on Spirituality of the Latin American Psychiatric Association (APAL). Former chair of the Sections on Spirituality of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA 2014-20) and the Brazilian Psychiatric Association (2014-21). Author of more than 180 academic papers that received more than 7,400 citations.
Additional affiliations
July 2022 - present
Federal University of Juiz de Fora
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Full professor of Psychiatry
August 2006 - July 2022
Federal University of Juiz de Fora
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2005 - August 2006
Duke University Medical Center
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Mentored by Prof. Harold Koenig

Publications

Publications (173)
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Despite empirical evidence of a relationship between religiosity/spirituality (R/S) and mental health and recommendations by professional associations that these research findings be integrated into clinical practice, application of this knowledge in the clinic remains a challenge. This paper reviews the current state of the evidence an...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The mind-brain problem (MBP) has marked implications for psychiatry, but has been poorly discussed in the psychiatric literature. This paper evaluates the presentation of the MBP in the three leading general psychiatry journals during the last 20 years. Methods: Systematic review of articles on the MBP published in the three general psy...
Book
Full-text available
This book examines the best available empirical evidence regarding one of the most challenging and pervasive questions throughout ages, cultures, and religions: the survival of human consciousness after death. It begins with a contextual overview of belief in personal survival and refutes misguided historical and epistemological arguments against t...
Book
Religiosity and spirituality (R/S) represent a very important factor of daily life for many individuals across different cultures and contexts. It is associated with lower rates of depression, suicide, mortality, and substance abuse, and is positively correlated with well-being and quality of life. Despite growing academic recognition and scientifi...
Preprint
Full-text available
In our daily lives, we have a constant sense that our consciousness is firmly located in our physical bodies. However, this spatial unity may break down under certain conditions, such as during an Out-of-Body Experience (OBE). OBEs are phenomenologically rich events in which the consciousness, or the self, is experienced as detached from the physic...
Article
Full-text available
To advance the scientific understanding of consciousness, one should be open to theoretical pluralism to freely develop and rigorously test a wide diversity of paradigm candidates and communicate the ideas and findings to the scientific community. Science development is jeopardized when journals tend to present a field’s state-of-the-art findings i...
Article
Full-text available
Apresentamos um panorama sobre como a religiosidade, espiritualidade e sua relação com a saúde têm sido cientificamente abordadas pela Saúde Coletiva, visto os atuais desafios diante do quadro de transtornos mentais prevalentes no mundo. Método: analisam-se artigos brasileiros sobre “Religiosidade, Espiritualidade e Saúde” disponíveis em 6 tradicio...
Article
Spiritual and religious experiences (SREs) are common subjective phenomena related to the awareness of transcendence, which transforms one's perception of life, death and suffering. Despite the high prevalence of SREs worldwide, not enough studies have been conducted beyond Europe and North America. To fill this gap, this study investigates the pre...
Article
Full-text available
Systematic reviews have shown the efficacy of religion-adapted cognitive behavioral therapy (R-CBT); however, many clinicians lack practical knowledge of these protocols. We describe here the techniques of religious adaptation to CBT that have proved effective. We selected randomized clinical trials comparing R-CBT with control conditions in client...
Chapter
This chapter raises the question about the consistent and almost universal presence of the belief in the survival of the soul among cultures and great thinkers. From a philosophical perspective, the existence of compelling evidence for survival has dramatical consequences for every other ethical, metaphysical, epistemological, or existential reason...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes the implications of the evidence presented in this book for the belief in survival of consciousness. First, it shows that the “usual suspects” ((1) deliberate fraud and (2) misinterpretation of chance or unconscious mind activity) might explain part but not all the evidence, because it has been replicated by different competen...
Chapter
When analyzing the whole body of survival evidence with a rational, rigorous, and open mind, it is hard to resist the conclusion that Survival of Human Consciousness after Permanent Bodily Death is a fact of nature. Indeed, this has consistently been the conclusion reached by the vast majority of humanity, including those who performed careful phil...
Chapter
This chapter will present and refute the most frequently claimed empirical and philosophical objections that impede giving the survival hypothesis a fair trial: (1) neuroscience “proves” that the brain generates mind; (2) Principle of Parsimony—we should explain mind solely on a material basis; (3) there is no mechanism for how the mind would influ...
Chapter
This chapter presents the main scientific evidence relevant to the hypothesis of survival of consciousness after the death of the body: studies on mediumship, near-death and out-of-body experience, and cases of the reincarnation type. First, we present a brief history and cultural aspects concerning these subjects. Then, the main scope of this chap...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss the main barriers against an impartial analysis of evidence for the survival of consciousness. Such roadblocks are by far more associated to and supported by pseudoskeptical criticism than rigorous research or philosophical demonstration. Contrary to the true skeptical attitude of demanding evidence for survival, the a pr...
Chapter
This chapter discusses what would be evidence for survival. First it shows we can have certainty and direct access only to our own minds. We know there are other minds in the world by indirect evidence: we perceive other bodies behaving in ways indicating they have minds like ourselves. They behave and express themselves as if they also think, feel...
Article
Full-text available
Alister Hardy was one of the pioneers of the scientific study of spiritual experiences (SE); however, his work and insights have not received the attention they deserve. This paper, based on an in-depth analysis of Hardy’s own writings, presents his main methodological and epistemological contributions for advancing the investigation of SE. Hardy’s...
Article
Background : Suicidal ideation is an important mental health issue among homeless people. Despite the fact that spirituality and religiousness (S/R) have been associated with lower levels of suicide behavior, there is little evidence on this relationship among homeless individuals. Thus, this study aims to investigate the association between S/R an...
Article
Introduction: In the current resurgence of studies investigating anomalous information reception (AIR) in mediumship, it has become a major challenge to balance ecological validity and rigorous control. Objective: To describe the method and present preliminary findings of a new controlled semi-naturalistic protocol combining ecological validity...
Chapter
Research shows that spirituality and religion are important influences upon mental well-being and may play an important part in recovery from mental disorders. The addressing of these concerns in clinical practice raises important questions concerning good practice and professional boundaries, which various national psychiatric associations, and th...
Chapter
This chapter starts defining spirituality as a transcendent realm of reality, which is considered sacred, and religion as the institutional or communal aspect of that spirituality. Then, it explores whether and how issues relating to religion and spirituality (R/S) are relevant to the mental health of individuals. A large body of evidence is presen...
Chapter
It is not uncommon for patients with mental disorders to have symptoms with religious or spiritual (R/S) contents, and, on the other hand, spiritual experiences often involve psychotic-like phenomena. This frequently creates difficulties in differentiating between a non-pathological R/S experience and a mental disorder. Clinical differentiation bet...
Article
Psychotic experiences are common experiences shared by a considerable part of the world's population. Moreover, most of the individuals who report these experiences also report those called spiritual and dissociative phenomena. In specific culture and religious backgrounds, these experiences are frequently seen as a part of normal human experiences...
Article
Full-text available
This study reviews observational studies regarding alleged past-life memories published as scientific articles, and points out their bibliometric and methodological characteristics. Scientific databases were screened (Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, Scielo, and OpenGrey). The 78 included studies were classified by their methodolog...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: For many persons worldwide, mental health is inseparably linked with spirituality or religion, yet psychiatrists have repeatedly expressed doubts regarding their preparedness to address patients' spirituality or religion appropriately. In recent decades, medical educators have developed and implemented curricula for teaching spiritual and...
Article
Full-text available
We live in a contradictory world. Self-proclaimed “skeptics”, as the original meaning itself suggests, should first of all strive for proper scientific rationality, for reflective and objective distancing in the apprehension of reality, for methodological caution and for the extended ability to theoretical and philosophical understanding of intrica...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To propose a core curriculum for religiosity and spirituality (R/S) in clinical practice for psychiatry residency programs based on the available evidence. Methods: After performing a review of studies on the implementation of R/S curricula and identifying the most commonly taught topics and teaching methods, an R/S curriculum was devel...
Article
Full-text available
A integração da espiritualidade de forma sistemática e profunda na prática clí-nica tem sido recomendada como forma de transmitir aos pacientes a certeza de sua posição no centro dos cuidados. A maioria dos pacientes tem alguma forma de religiosidade/espiritualidade que influencia tanto os processos envolvidos na manutenção da saúde e no adoeciment...
Article
Context Mediumship is understood as a kind of spiritual experience in which a person (i.e., a medium) claims to be in communication with, or under the control of, spiritual beings. In the last decades there has been a resurgence of studies on psychological, psychiatric and neuroscientific aspects of mediumship, as well as studies assessing the clai...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the main and most robust scientific evidence on the relationship between Religiousness/Spirituality (R/S) and mental health. We discuss the proposed mechanisms involved in this relationship, such as purpose and meaning in life, optimism, gratitude, social support, self-esteem, cognitive framework (involving, for example, a sens...
Article
Full-text available
Já é conhecido o papel (geralmente positivo) da religiosidade e espiritualidade (R/E) sobre a saúde física e mental dos indivíduos, porém, mesmo com evidências robustas, não existe um consenso científico com relação aos conceitos de R/E, podendo levar a: instrumentos não acurados, ampliação ou “redução” dos conceitos à outros constructos que não ne...
Article
Full-text available
Belief in afterlife is frequent, but little is known about how it relates to religiousness/spirituality (R/S) and socio-demographic variables. To investigate how the beliefs in afterlife and that “there is something beyond matter” are associated with socio-demographic, health, and R/S dimensions in a sample of medical inpatients and their companion...
Article
Full-text available
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well‐being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The multifaceted intertwined nature of optimal health, mental health, and well‐being requires operational, sustainable interdisciplinary partnerships in order to improve personal and global well‐being and happiness. The initial...
Article
The scientific study of mediumship can contribute to the understanding of the mind-brain relationship. This study investigated a letter written by the influential Brazilian “medium” Chico Xavier, whose authorship was attributed to a deceased person. We identified the letter's pieces of information that were objectively verifiable, and we analyzed t...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Religiosity/spirituality (R/S) seems to be a relevant factor in chronic diseases adaptation, but there is a lack of studies involving chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study aimed to investigate the association between R/S and happiness among CKD patients on hemodialysis and whether Sense of Coherence (SC) mediates this possible assoc...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To investigate the forms of coping used to relieve tensions by elderly caregivers of elderly relatives and to know the type of support they receive from the Primary Health Care service at home. Method: A qualitative study with a theoretical-methodological contribution of Grounded Theory, carried out with 10 elderly caregivers intervie...
Article
Full-text available
Background Although many studies suggest that religiosity is a protective factor against drug use, there is little information on its effect on drug consumption patterns of those who do use drugs. Aims We aimed to examine if there is any relationship between religiosity during childhood and adolescence, and drug consumption in adult crack users....
Article
Full-text available
Although the basis of religious studies start with demographics, nation-wide data are often extracted from face-to-face interviews (leading to a social-desirability bias) and in studies not originally designed to assess religion. This study aims to understand the religious landscape in Brazil and to investigate the feasibility of carrying out a rep...
Article
Purpose of review: Academic recognition of the implications of religion/spirituality (R/S) for mental health is increasing, with a growing number of studies involving older adults. The present review provides an overview of these studies, highlighting the influence of R/S on older adults' mental health and the clinical implications of addressing R...
Article
Objective To compare instruments available for evaluating attitudes and knowledge about geriatrics and gerontology. Methods This cross‐sectional study investigated 83 third‐year Brazilian medical students (with exposure to geriatrics and gerontology) and 75 incoming students (with no exposure to this content). We used the University of California...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Few quantitative studies have examined the effect of religious involvement on the course of bipolar disorder (BD). We investigated the effects of religious activity and coping behaviors on the course of depression, mania, and quality of life (QoL) in patients with BD. Methods: Two-year longitudinal study of 168 outpatients with BD. Li...
Article
Background: The present study aims to investigate the effect of two educational strategies to teach geriatrics (flipped classroom-FL and traditional lectures-TR) in relation to a control group (no intervention) on students' competences. Method: An intervention study was conducted during the third year of medicine. Two different educational strat...
Article
Recent studies indicate high levels of psychotic experiences in the general population. Here, we report a functional imaging study with 8 mentally healthy spiritual mediums and 8 matched controls. The mediums entered a mediumistic-trance state using a standardized manner by closing their eyes and actively seeking to ignore external and internal sti...
Article
Full-text available
The mind-brain problem (MBP) is a persistent challenge in philosophy and science, having marked implications for psychiatry. In this paper, we claim that physicalism, a kind of theoretical monism, is usually taken by many psychiatrists as the only possible solution to the MBP, and argue that this may have negative consequences for the field. Not on...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Few data can be found about cardiac arrest in the intensive care unit outside reference centers in third world countries. Objective To study epidemiology and prognostic factors associated with cardiac arrest in the intensive care unit (ICU) in an average Brazilian center. Methods Between June 2011 and July 2014, 302 cases of cardiac...
Article
Method: 115 participants were recruited from Spiritist Centers in Brazil. At the 1-year follow up, 90 participants (78%) were reassessed. Instruments were the SCID-I (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV), TCI-R 140 (Revised Temperament and Character Inventory), OLIFE-R (Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences), and WHOQOL-BREF...
Article
Full-text available
Background With the aging of the population comes a greater need for geriatric and gerontology teaching. However, there is currently a dearth of investigations on the impact of different educational methodologies for teaching in this area early in medical courses. The present study aims to determine the impact of two educational strategies on the t...
Article
This study aims to conduct a search of publications investigating experiences commonly associated with the possibility of the existence of a consciousness independent of the brain held on the main scientific databases (Pubmed, Web of Knowledge, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and Scopus). Of the 9065 articles retrieved, 1954 were included (598 near-death...
Article
Full-text available
Objective:: It is unclear why some individuals reporting psychotic experiences have balanced lives while others go on to develop mental health problems. The objective of this study was to test if the personality traits of harm avoidance, self-directedness, and self-transcendence can be used as criteria to differentiate healthy from unhealthy schiz...
Article
Full-text available
In the early nineteenth century, investigations into the nature of psychic/spiritual phenomena, like trances and the supposed acquisition of information unattainable using normal sensory channels, prompted much debate in the scientific arena. This article discusses the main explanations offered by the researchers of psychic phenomena reported betwe...
Article
Full-text available
Plant and colleagues, in a very interesting and elegant study,[1][1] found that maternal depression during pregnancy was associated with: offspring depression in adulthood (odds ratio (OR) 3.4), maternal depression during offspring's childhood (OR = 4.8), and offspring exposure to child maltreatment
Article
Full-text available
Background Studies on “Spirituality, religion and health” (R/S) have been increasing worldwide, including in Brazil. Mapping this production can help researchers to understand this field and also to identify gaps in the Brazilian R/S studies. Objective To analyze the Brazilian scientific articles on “Religion, Spirituality and Health” available on...
Chapter
Full-text available
We consider the relationship of Religion and Spirituality (R/S) to person centred care and the complexities of this field. We highlight problems of definition and consider the research evidence on the relationship between religion, spirituality and health. In Western Europe, there seems to be a reluctance to include a spiritual domain in public hea...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to examine if the diagnostic criteria of DSM-5 are able to differentiate between non-pathological religious possession and dissociative identity disorder (DID). We use the case study of an individual who leads an Afro-Brazilian religious group (Umbanda), focusing on her personal development and possession experiences from e...
Article
Full-text available
Background Psychiatrists’ views on the mind-brain relationship (MBR) have marked clinical and research implications, but there is a lack of studies on this topic. Objectives To evaluate psychiatrists’ opinions on the MBR, and whether they are amenable to change or not. Methods We conducted a survey of psychiatrists’ views on the MBR just before and...
Technical Report
What is Near Death Experience (NDE)? What is the importance of studying NDEs? What are the scientific explanations for NDEs? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVoKwS-yp6o
Technical Report
What is Near Death Experience (NDE)? What is the importance of studying NDEs? What are the scientific explanations for NDEs? Profile of academic papers on Near Death Experiences Guidelines for future research on NDE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AZRYEIDmHM
Technical Report
Definition of mediumship for research purposes. Why is it important to study mediumship? Study on the fit and accuracy of Chico Xavier's mediumistic writing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qTr2vqNcWM&list=UUkdgPl5TT1y1TdGhufLX-Eg Based on the paper: Rocha AC, Paraná D, Freire ES, Lotufo Neto F, Moreira-Almeida A. Investigating the fit and accura...
Article
This article reviews mainstream scientific publications on near-death experiences (NDEs). We searched near-death experience in titles, key words, and abstracts at the Web of Knowledge database published between 1945 and 2013. We identified 266 relevant documents, the oldest from 1977. There was a strong predominance of opinion articles (book review...
Technical Report
Brief explanation of the "Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science". Does science imply in materialism? What is materialist scientism? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF6Yvro_iSU
Technical Report
Why clinicians do not address patients' spirituality? Would patients wish their religiosity to be addressed? Reasons for this gap in clinical practice? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfn_VqtgAOM
Technical Report
Fifth video of a series that discusses five of the most common myths about the relationship between science and religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0EcdQDq_n8
Technical Report
What are some of the research areas in spirituality and health most needed of investigation? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72NR1wn5UT8
Technical Report
The complexity of the relationship between religion, spirituality and health. Which religious dimensions have been most investigated? Religious affiliation, coping, organizational, private, subjective, intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k1i-F4zNH8
Technical Report
Fourth video of a series that discusses five of the most common myths about the relationship between science and religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoI9DZrS9Yw
Technical Report
Second video of a series that discusses five of the most common myths about the relationship between science and religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp73p0XWEhg
Article
Context The study of mediumship is important because if mediumistic abilities are real, they would provide empirical support for non-reductionist theories of the mind, thus having major implications to our understanding of the mind-brain relationship. This study investigated the alleged mediumship of Chico Xavier, a very prolific and influential ‘m...
Conference Paper
First video of a series that discusses five of the most common myths about the relationship between science and religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2lZOdm7mGg
Technical Report
Third video of a series that discusses five of the most common myths about the relationship between science and religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5TBbL-yS5Q
Technical Report
First video of a series that discusses five of the most common myths about the relationship between science and religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2lZOdm7mGg
Technical Report
Every week, reliable and accessible videos for students, researchers and general audience interested in science, health and spirituality. TV NUPES' mission is to produce and disseminate accessible and reliable information on the relationship between spirituality, science and health. NUPES's mission is to develop interdisciplinary research about t...
Technical Report
very week, reliable and accessible videos for students, researchers and general audience interested in science, health and spirituality. TV NUPES' mission is to produce and disseminate accessible and reliable information on the relationship between spirituality, science and health. NUPES's mission is to develop interdisciplinary research about th...
Article
Despite Brazil's high levels of religious involvement, there is a scarcity of validated religiousness/spirituality (R/S) measures in Portuguese, particularly multidimensional ones. This study presents the validation of the Portuguese version of the "Brief Multidimensional Measure in Religiousness and Spirituality" (BMMRS) within the Brazilian conte...
Article
While there has been a large increase in scientific studies on spirituality, there has been too few of studies of the core of spirituality: spiritual experiences (SE), which often involve altered states of consciousness, reports of anomalous experiences and of consciousness beyond the body. This paper argues that SE, although usually neglected in d...
Chapter
In 1992 the World Health Organization (WHO) published the section on mental disorder (chapter V) of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10). The ICD-10 has appeared in several versions, such as for clinicians in mental health settings, for research, and for use in primary care.
Article
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between religiosity and mood, quality of life, number of hospitalizations, and number of severe suicide attempts among bipolar disorder patients. Methods: In a cross-sectional study of bipolar disorder outpatients (N = 168), we assessed symptoms of mania [Young Mania Ra...
Article
Full-text available
To investigate the relationship between religiosity and drug use among Brazilian university students. This manuscript is part of the "First Nationwide Survey on the Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs among College Students in the 27 Brazilian State Capitals". In this study, 12,595 university students were divided into two groups according to t...
Article
Full-text available
Traditional textbooks on the history of psychiatry and psychology fail to recognize William James's investigations on psychic phenomena as a legitimate effort to understand the human mind. The purpose of this paper is to offer evidence of his views regarding the exploration of those phenomena as well as the radical, yet alternative, solutions that...