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 would definitely recommend this book is very informative and insightful. Never boring and very touching.
Just a listener in a sea of people with headphones in at work.
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.
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.
The narrator adds this touch of realism that you sometimes can't get reading a non-fiction on paper; the raw emotions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Southern heart, soul and spirit! Enjoy a good clean emotional storyline. I have found a new passion in Audible
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
Book Seller, Book Blogger and Book Lover.
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.
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