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Publisher's Summary

In January 2015, Barbara Lipska - a leading expert on the neuroscience of mental illness - was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Within months, her frontal lobe, the seat of cognition, began shutting down. She descended into madness, exhibiting dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. But miraculously, just as her doctors figured out what was happening, the immunotherapy they had prescribed began to work. Just eight weeks after her nightmare began, Lipska returned to normal. With one difference: she remembered her brush with madness with exquisite clarity.

In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Lipska describes her extraordinary ordeal and its lessons about the mind and brain. She explains how mental illness, brain injury, and age can change our behavior, personality, cognition, and memory. She tells what it is like to experience these changes firsthand. And she reveals what parts of us remain, even when so much else is gone.

©2018 Barbara K. Lipska and Elaine McArdle (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This narrator? Not a fan.

I am giving this book a 5/5 because of its genre: memoir in a medical/science setting. My favorites! Medical and psych details of this book are thoroughly presented, though at times seeming a bit "dumbed down". I would guess this is to simplify the story and give non-medical readers a handle on the brain and all its vast capabilities. Plus it helps to move the story fast without dwelling on small or technical details. I am part of that "non-medical" audience, but I am also an armchair medical geek, and would have enjoyed a more technical focus.

The choice of the narrator doesn't make sense to me, due to her voice, which sounds too old for this protagonist. She has quite a well-defined British tonality and speech cadence and I don't get the reason for driving the story using such a colloquial accent. Compare this narrator to the contemporary professional voice from "Still Alice" and "Every Note Played", where the voice is calm, straightforward, professional and appropriate for a skilled neuroscientist.

But I did manage to accustom my ears to this sound, so that after a certain point I could ignore it.

I especially could not buy this character sounding like a children's book reader. Very juvenile and almost like she is talking down to her audience, not realistic in my view.

I do recommend this book with my five stars, but with the warning that the voice is not consistent with the story and the sing song dialog requires a huge suspension of disbelief.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating Book, Beautifully Written and Read

This book is beautifully written, listening to it was a great pleasure. The story is engaging and moving, and the medical aspects of the neuroscientist's cancer and interlude of mental deficits are explained beautifully. I ended up listening to the entire book in only two sessions because I "couldn't put it down."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 04-11-18

Be Prepared To Feel Insane--

After all, Emma Powell narrates this with such brilliance that you will writhe and cringe as Lipska navigates her newly unsound world, her deeply unsound mind and traumatized brain. She seethes, she snipes, she shrieks at times at those who love her and see only that she has become the worst version of herself. They have no idea it's because the part of her brain that controls empathy, controls impulses, has been damaged by tumors.
Lipska is frustrated by sounds that are interpreted as too loud and shrill, an environment which should be familiar has no discernible landmarks she can use, people who don't seem to understand that by God, she has been incredibly wronged by a train running late. She has no idea that one shouldn't urinate on oneself in public, or otherwise; one shouldn't jog miles and miles with the gore of hair dye running down ones face.
The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind gives a vividly drawn, perfectly imaged glimpse into what it's like to be the person with dementia, the person who is schizophrenic. And even, while she's on massive doses of steroids to control the swelling of her brain, the person in the grip of a manic psychotic break.
It's a listen I won't be forgetting any time soon. And a family member with Alzheimer's? I'll be looking at her, treating the crises that arise with such an illness, in a far different manner...

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating first-hand insight of mental illness from a neuroscientist

This an incredible story of a neuroscientist describing her horrific ordeal with surviving a brain tumour slipping into madness, becoming someone else, and recovering to tell the story from a scientific perspective.

A truly brave person, and rare descriptive inward analysis, highly recommended for any one who doubts we are our brain.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful read

Being an oncology nurse for the past 7 years, I've worked with so many patients, including melanoma survivors, who have overcome so much! Such a moving, powerful read!!! So very personally motivating!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Miraculous story of grit and science

This book could easily qualify as a case study in
* Grit
* Perseverance
* Neuroplasticity
* Immigrant Life in the 90s
* Life at a bran bank

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Inspiring Motivating Energizing

Barbara Lipska has extraordinary resolve to cure her melanoma. She goes through treatments that have terrible side effects. I think I would have quit those treatments. But she perseveres. I’m impressed with her strength and fortitude. I highly recommend this book. I loved listening to it on Audible.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting medical narrative

The narrators medical treatment is of interest. Her life story is self centered and elitist.

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Enthralling!

I found it hard to stop listening. It is heartbreaking and joyful. Can't help but admire the comradery of Barbara's family!

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Perspective in a new light!

While I didn't care for the scientific studies since I remain clueless-I loved hearing about the effects on the brain when certain areas are affected. It's something I was interested in after my son died from DIPG. His brain was affected in many ways also with some similar symptoms.
I am very happy to know this woman survived to tell of her experiences.