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The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

My Tale of Madness and Recovery
Narrated by: Emma Powell
Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (463 ratings)
Regular price: $17.49
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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

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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...

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing story of a brilliant woman's survival.

This is an amazing story of hope and survival. I enjoyed it extremely much. I will pray that Dr. Lipska continues on her path to good health-and no my more cancer, or it's effects. Extremely inspiring! Well read by Emma Powell, an enjoyable, intelligent work full of heart and hope. Highly recommend.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A delightful and informative Bio

loved the book. the narrator, beautiful voice. soothing and looked forward to listening to her every morning!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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5 stars

Expected to read about a scientist suffering from a classical mental illness, an area of fascination for me. The author instead suffers from mental illness driven by multiple tumors in her brain. This work is beautiful written and a page turner, once you get past the prologue.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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wonderful story!

this book was very interesting and uplifting. I lived listening to it. I learned about the brain, mental health and how it is effected by treatments. I also learned how to persevere and keep fighting. this book was amazing and I am so glad that it ended in such a positive way!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Interesting medical narrative

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

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Claire
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • 02-03-19

Exceptional!

Dr. Barbara K. Lipska, Director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the (United States) National Institute of Mental Health, describes her experience of becoming ill with a melanoma of the brain. A neuroscientist-patient, a patient-neuroscientist, she recounts her experience with the disease and her struggle to find definitive treatment with rare transparency and understanding, as well as a gift for communicating her feelings at a time when she did not really understand them herself.

Lipska shows us the extreme vulnerablilty of gradually increasing mental confusion, but without pathos. She explains everything in ways that are accessible to the educated lay reader, but without patronizing us in the least.

An excellent, excellent book. Perhaps the best cancer memoir I've ever read.

Five stars, easily.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An Inspiring Story, But Nothing New

I would like to prelude my review by saying that I was happy Dr. Lipska was able to survive the melanoma, keep the career that she loves, and still participate in athletic competitions.

This being said, I felt that her comments on her experiences were incomplete and did not reveal anything that others haven't said before. For an example, she claims that her experience has heightened her empathy with other neurodivergent people, but never elaborates with real world examples/interactions.

In fact, she spends the majority of the book talking about her family and exercise hobbies and these eclipse the "madness" almost completely.

The highlight for me was Emma Powell's narration. Her pitch and expressiveness kept me listening even when I lost interest in the content.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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."

4 of 5 people found this review helpful