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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

4.1 (2963 )
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  •  
    Dabeyba HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, United States 09-09-16
    Dabeyba HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, United States 09-09-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book"

    I would definitely recommend this book is very informative and insightful. Never boring and very touching.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amaeh89 09-06-16
    amaeh89 09-06-16 Member Since 2016

    Just a listener in a sea of people with headphones in at work.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderfully Frightful"
    Where does Brain on Fire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This one is unique. I posted something on Facebook asking my friends that read to give me their favorites and made a list. A librarian friend of mine suggested this one as a non-fiction. I decided to go outside of my normal science fiction and magically fairy worlds to engage into this story and was not disappointed. The story is very well written, especially as much of it had to be written using her skills as a journalist.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Brain on Fire?

    I think there was this moment I said to myself "holy macro, this is something real!" It was scary to realize and experience through the authors telling the reality of someone suffering from a disease that affects the human brain.


    What does Heather Henderson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator adds this touch of realism that you sometimes can't get reading a non-fiction on paper; the raw emotions.


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

    I was definitely drawn to continue listening to this to see how this worked out. I know that she came out with her sanity back, but the tale of how she got there was keeping me going. I think I listened to it over the span of 2-3 work days.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is an amazing/scary account of a real and relatively newly discovered condition. I am always astonished at what our bodies are capable of, good and bad. If you aren't into these sort of books, I would still recommend stepping out of the comfort zone and giving this a shot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard C. Kinzly San Francisco, CA United States 09-01-16
    Richard C. Kinzly San Francisco, CA United States 09-01-16 Member Since 2016
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    "amazing story"

    I've suffered mental illness. I wonder if perhaps it is some other reasoning. I love that she was able to get the help most don't. there is hope out there. keep trying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-09-16
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    "Harrowing and Educational"

    I have never heard of this disease, this was eye opening and a tough listen at times but made easier by the narrator. I come away feeling more educated about how parts of the brain works and amazed that she was able to recover.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    reneeshaffer 07-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Recomend this book!!!"

    I couldn't stop listening to it, very captivating, unbelievable true story. this book kept my undivided attention.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Los Altos Hills, CA, United States 07-07-16
    Christine Los Altos Hills, CA, United States 07-07-16 Member Since 2003
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    "Medical mystery"

    Didn't know actual diagnosis when I read it and it read like a mystery. Enjoyed finding out "what happened". The negativity on the health care system is unfortunately warranted.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Brashear 07-05-16
    K. Brashear 07-05-16 Member Since 2015
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    "I wasn't sure what the book was about"

    The book is a nice combination personal narrative of a horrifying experience, commentary on medical care and medical diagnosis difficulties and mistakes, and the impact on lives of major medical issues. I am surprised it is being made into a movie but I will definitely see the movie.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophia Ruvalcaba 06-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Thank u for sharing your experience!"

    I really enjoyed every bit of this book as I struggle w/my own issues.. inspirational
    and hopefully!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Grizzel 05-30-16
    Jan Grizzel 05-30-16

    Southern heart, soul and spirit! Enjoy a good clean emotional storyline. I have found a new passion in Audible

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    "Fact filled read"

    Amazing journey she takes and scary to think about others with crazy looking symptoms never find the right Dr or the right diagnosis. Highly recommend for those who struggle

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MidnightBookGirl 05-04-16 Member Since 2010

    Book Seller, Book Blogger and Book Lover.

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    "Hopefully Helpful"

    What Susannah Calahan went through, the frightening physical and psychological manifestations of her disease, the many misdiagnosis, and eventual recovery is a powerful tool to help current and future people suffering the same illness.

    This story is hopeful in that more research is being done, and more attention paid, to uncover the physical reasons behind what often looks like mental illness or autism.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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