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Brain on Fire Audiobook

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

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
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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 (2542 )
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Performance
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  •  
    lana 11-05-15
    lana 11-05-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "surprisingly interesting"

    well written, good narration. I enjoyed that it combined medical fact and information clearly with a very interesting story.
    It wasn't a lightning fast finish, but I slowly progressed through and enjoyed this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John doe 10-21-15
    John doe 10-21-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "amaz"

    This was an amazing and inspiring story. A very beautifully put together exploration of an experience that even memory could not keep intact. As a Cognitive Science student of UCD I was inspired by the power that knowledge can give to someone in Susannah's position. I found this book to be a great way to unify my knowledge through narrative. I'm even more excited to see how I can help from my field.

    I recommend to anyone who wants an application of science in a situation of consequence.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Westminster, CA, United States 10-14-15
    Lauren Westminster, CA, United States 10-14-15 Member Since 2015

    When I need an escape and cannot openly read a book, I whip out my headphones and press play on my Audible app.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Some People Have Real Problems"

    This book is a trip, to say the least. Cahalan was as honest as she could be, even in her admission that she couldn't remember events and relies on a friend or family member's recollection. Cahalan's descent into madness and treacherous trek back are a testament to the human spirit and the vitality of pioneering medical research.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M.W. 10-08-15
    M.W. 10-08-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding!!!"

    One of my favorite audible books to date! This very interesting story of a young woman's journey from illness, to madness to recovery and back is so fascinating. I could hardly resist the urge to jump to the end just to hear the final outcome of this poor girls fate. I certainly learned a lot from this book and I can only hope that it helps and saves lives from its sources. This book not only went into full detail about the month of hell this young woman went through but very carefully sorts and explains all the details in between. This audible is a MUST listen!!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 10-03-15
    Kathleen Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 10-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Compelling true story"

    This is a compelling true account of a young woman's journey through a terrible illness and her triumph over it. Beautifully written in her own words. Excellent narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry East Texas, United States 09-29-15
    Sherry East Texas, United States 09-29-15 Member Since 2015

    Member since 2008, not 2015, as shown below.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just plain boring!"
    Would you try another book from Susannah Cahalan and/or Heather Henderson?

    Maybe the narrator....not the author.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Susannah Cahalan again?

    No


    Which scene was your favorite?

    None


    What character would you cut from Brain on Fire?

    Susannah.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this would describe a few symptoms, then move on to what caused her problems. I listened to 3 hours of her utterly obnoxious behavior, with no indication of why. Maybe if she'd given a hint of what was wrong, I could have had some compassion and finished the book. As it was, I gave up about 3 hours in. Could take no more of her!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi 09-21-15
    Heidi 09-21-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Mystery diagnosis!"

    Loved it! A personal account of a mystery diagnosis. As a medical laboratory scientist, our neurologist occasionally orders the Anti-NMDA test and this book has educated me like no medical book could. An intriguing look into memory, mental illness, misdiagnosis, auto immune disease, love and perseverance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irma 09-20-15
    Irma 09-20-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to put away"
    What did you love best about Brain on Fire?

    It was informative, but still a story. Even though it was about medical issues, it was written in a way someone who knows nothing about it, could still understand it. Besides the medical part, it is a story about fear and dispair, but also love and commitment.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The book is mainly about Susannah, so she's my favorite. Besides that I really have sympathy and respect for her boyfriend Stephen.


    Have you listened to any of Heather Henderson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was a first. I think she did well.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I think the title says it all.


    Any additional comments?

    I really recommend this book. I finished it in 3 days.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina Wilkins 09-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Wonderful,fascinating well written story!"

    Wonderful,fascinating well written story! The way Susannah Cahalan writes is heart wrenching and full of medical facts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanya Howe San Diego, CA USA 09-06-15
    Tanya Howe San Diego, CA USA 09-06-15 Member Since 2011
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    "What a journey!"

    A really good quick read, super interesting read into the very mysterious world of mental illness and neurological issues.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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