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
"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)
I had been wanting to read this story for quite a long time and I was not disappointed at all. While memoirs are not my Gene of choice this is extremely well-written. I was engrossed in her story and the narritve provided. I also enjoyed the amount of medical detail and explanation of everything. great read overall
My sister told me about this book. As a physician I'm now thinking a couple of my patients need brain biopsies :) Seriously though I think it was a very interesting listen and I now have an additional diagnosis on my differential for acute mental status change. Also think it is interesting that auto-immune diseases appear to becoming more common these days.
Well told and chronicaled account of a rare brain condition that's super hard to diagnose and only some people respond to the treatment. Good story for those interested in medical conditions told in the first person by very thorough journalist.
The fact that Susannah Cahalan is here today to share her story is a miracle. All the right people were brought together at the right time and place to make sure she made it through to tell her story and help others.
honestly, i think this is my favorite book that ive listened to.
the performance was the best ive heard yet. perfect portrayal of emotions.
i think it took me 3 days total to finish, so yes.
Great story. Doesn't go very in depth into the science. The narrator's inflection is compelling. Highly recommended.
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