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)
Great even for a medical professional. Well told first person account of descent into and recovery from a mysterious devastating neurologic illness.
Although it is difficult enough to go through such a scary and uncertain illness, I can only imagine the difficulty of examining the events leading up to memory loss, and then exploring the events during the memory loss through the eyes of others. When discussing a similar situation of a family member of mine I was asked not to discuss it further when he said, "That was your reality not mine. I wasn't there." So it is with the utmost respect that I congratulate the author on her recovery, her research, and the recounting of her story. It provides important information that can help us all become better advocates for our own health and for health of those we love.
I found it frustrating that the last two chapters of the audiobook were missing, it never went past chapter 53. But the book itself was fascinating, moving, insightful, intriguing, and overall extremely important for the whole medical community to read.
I went through an eerily similar situation myself and hearing her story has been therapeutic for me and monumental as j now mentally heal from everything that's happened. Thank you Susannah
Great story told with heartfelt and devastating honesty. A must for any reader, but especially for those who love science, the brain, psychology and the human spirit.
What a remarkable woman. She has enlightened many with this information and providing support to those of us battling with complex disease processes.
one of my favorites from audible
When I first found this book I read the description and was immediately intrigued.I was looking for a book I could listen to while I was at work and in less than two days I completed this book. It was a treat. I highly recommend it
loved it. really made me think. could not get enough . what an order Suzanne went through. plenty of medical jargon given in a way anyone could understand .
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