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Brain on Fire Audiobook

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

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Publisher's Summary

In 2009, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room strapped to a bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records - from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory - reported psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. Weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia. Over one million dollars worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, until the celebrated neurologist, Dr. Souhel Najjar, joined her team. With the use of a simple - yet ingenious - test, he was able to make a lifesaving diagnosis - revealing a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain.

With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.

©2012 Original material © 2012 Susannah Cahalan. Recorded by arrangement with Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (P)2012 (p) 2012 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Engrossing.... Unquestionably, an important book on both a human and a medical level. Cahalan’s elegantly-written memoir of her dramatic descent into madness opens up discussion of the cutting-edge neuroscience behind a disease that may affect thousands of people around the world, and it offers powerful insight into the subjective workings of our minds." (Mehmet Oz, MD, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Surgery, New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center)

"Brain on Fire reads like a scientific thriller, but with a profound and moving philosophy at its heart." (David B. Agus, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Engineering, University of Southern California, and author of The End of Illness)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (3246 )
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  •  
    Carol D. Florida 03-12-14
    Carol D. Florida 03-12-14 Member Since 2012

    Audible started me reading fiction again. What a treat to have professional actors narrating a book I may not have had the time to "read".

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating memoir of a medical nightmare."

    A well written memoir of a young women who endures a terrible medical condition. She has chosen to write about her feelings and the illness itself in great detail. The narrator is excellent and adds much to the experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve St Charles, MO, United States 03-11-14
    Steve St Charles, MO, United States 03-11-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Wow interesting never would have imagined"

    This is not my normal type of book. That being said, I found it extremely interesting and scary. I would highly recommend this book .

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LadySpeaker 03-09-14
    LadySpeaker 03-09-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Expertly delivered story of her experience"
    What did you love best about Brain on Fire?


    It was a fascinating and brilliantly delivered story of her experience. The narrator was an excellent choice in that it brought the story ‘alive.’ I was intrigued by the in-depth explanation of the different parts of the brain and other elements of the body. I've listen to many audio books and this one will be among my top 5 favorites.


    What about Heather Henderson’s performance did you like?

    Excellent.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DL 12-11-12
    DL 12-11-12
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    "Unique take on root of mental illness"

    The narrator is great. She makes the book better. The content is amazing. In the beginning of the story, I did find it hard to sympathize with the author's plight because she came off as very annoying. However, this annoyance faded as the story progressed.

    Something that is overlooked in the main premise of this story is how important medical advocacy is. The parents of the author are the reason she got the care she did. The story really is amazing. At the same time, it is sad to think of how many others were erroneously diagnosed with mental illness that was actually caused by something else (no spoilers from me).

    This book is a nice complement to "My Stoke of Insight." I do wish the author had narrated. I'm not sure why she didn't...but perhaps it would have been poor narration. The narrator adds to the story and makes it a 5 star book.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clemente Quinones 01-04-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Very Informative"

    A very indepth look at a mental disease that is still being researched and diagnosed properly today.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E. Felker Littleton, CO 01-03-17
    David E. Felker Littleton, CO 01-03-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Yesterday, a friend told me, again, . . ."

    . . . about spending many hours waiting for me to awake from my second neurosurgery. My problems were and still are temporal lobe epilepsy and yet I understand Susannah's struggle to accept the depth of her problem. What she laid, out across the few hours I listened, lays before the reader much of what needs to be heard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lanna 12-25-16
    Lanna 12-25-16
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    "Immeasurable!"

    There were so many heroes in this story, everyone had a key role to play in rescuing Susannah from her besieged mind. I will not be made to feel ashamed for bringing up Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis to future doctors.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-23-16
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    "A peek only."

    It was simply a fascinating peek into a scary place many go and do not always end as well. With that said, I enjoyed the story and the narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica 12-10-16
    Jessica 12-10-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Compelling story. Not overly drawn out."

    Narrator did great in conveying emotions. Good read. Fantastic info for disease awareness. Would recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Maranto 12-09-16
    L. Maranto 12-09-16
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    "Fascinating, well-written story"

    Learned so much about the illness she suffered and about inflammatory brain disease. Reveals so much about how difficult it can be to distinguish psychiatric disease from neurological disfunction. Makes me wonder if more illnesses identified as psychiatric may have a neurological causation. Medical science has learned so much, and yet so little!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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