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)
This is a "must read "! After reading this story, I have a new found respect for the intricacies of the human body and especially our brain. Good narration is excellently done, especially since the experience happened to her personally. Since the author is a journalist, she certainly needs the qualifications for an excellent writer. This story has a happy ending which makes it all the more enjoyable.
Took me from Indianapolis to Richmond, VA. Glad it was may companion along the way, kept me engaged and wanting to keep in the car to listen to what would happen next.
This book was both fascinating and informative. I was amazed that an illness so serious could be misdiagnosed again and again leading to a possibility of losing your sanity. Great read!
Heather Henderson did a fantastic job of reading this book. She used expression and voice change when needed to help the listener recognize the different characters in the story. She definitely made the story come to life and I didn't even notice that I was listening rather than reading it myself. Awesome job!
I would have loved to listen to this book in one sitting if I could have. My schedule is so busy that I had to listen to it in parts. However, I would listen to it every moment I had an opportunity to do so. Even though I might only be in my car for 10 or 15 minutes, I would put it on. I couldn't wait to hear what was happening next in the story.
Yes. I loved this book. I defiantly think you will enjoy it, it is fabulous I finished it in 2 sitings.
This autobiography of the author's struggle with an autoimmune response in her brain was fascinating. I had never heard of the rare disease and she did a good job of placing you there with her. Bravo.
Absolutely met my expectations. I generally read for personal development and wanted time away from the subject to just read for out right enjoyment! This was it well written and enjoyed the narrator's interpretation.
Wow! Thank goodness for doctors who press on even when there seems to be no hope. Susannah's story is wonderfully told and excellently narrated.
Very informative and intriguing story! Amazing how far medical technology and knowledge has come and yet still so many untapped areas...
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