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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

por Susannah Cahalan

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3,1611554,246 (3.98)98
The story of twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan and the life-saving discovery of the autoimmune disorder that nearly killed her -- and that could perhaps be the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history. One day in 2009, twenty-four-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a "flight risk," and her medical records, chronicling a monthlong hospital stay of which she had no memory at all, showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life, a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind? In this narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen. A team of doctors would spend a month, and more than a million dollars, trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong. Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death. Yet even as this period nearly tore her family apart, it offered an extraordinary testament to their faith in Susannah and their refusal to let her go. Then, neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with he help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life. He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks th brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history. This story is the powerful account of one woman's struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her "lost month" to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porFra24books, artsymama03, librarylady247, joeyhyatt08, wooding, blasley, silkentent, biblioteca privada, Nicklerose
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Mostrando 1-5 de 155 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Interesting medical mystery. Horrifying to think others might go through the same thing and be misdiagnosed. ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
memoir
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
Perfectly well written book about an interesting subject that I found somewhat boring.

I bought this because the author was coming to an event at my local bookstore (which I planned to attend but missed due to circumstances) but I might have bought it anyway. The book is about a mysterious neurological illness that overtakes a young woman in her 20s. The ailment is initially mistaken for a psychological issue and the course of her treatment and the discovery of what is ultimately wrong reads much like an episode of Mystery Diagnosis.

I don't know what bothered me about the book. I guess there is too much disparity between the medical stuff (which I like) and the sappy emotional stuff (which I found annoying).








( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
4.5 stars ( )
  EllieBhurrut | Jan 24, 2024 |
This was an easy, fast and fascinating read. Brain on Fire is an important book for calling attention to a newly discovered autoimmunine disorder called NMDA where the body attacks the brain. Cahalan, who was a NY Post reporter, documents her symptoms and recovery as best she can remember (with the help of friends, family and doctors). Her illness started with bouts of paranoia and progressed quickly to hallucinations, mania, and seizures. Cahalan was lucky that her doctor at NYU (Dr. Najjar) had heard of the disorder (discovered at University of Pennsylvania just a few years ago) and didn’t give up on her when all her other tests came back normal. It was frightening to note that one of the "best" neurologists in NYC had never heard of the disorder and was convinced that Cahalan was having a breakdown due to alcohol and job pressures. It makes me wonder how many people are regularly misdiagnosed with schizophrenia or other mental illness or dementia and locked in psychiatric wards when they should be treated with steroids and IVIG treatments. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 155 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
"..a fascinating and compelling story told in a smart, succinct style.."
adicionada por WeeklyAlibi | editarWeekly Alibi, Suzanne Buck (Aug 8, 2013)
 
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The story of twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan and the life-saving discovery of the autoimmune disorder that nearly killed her -- and that could perhaps be the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history. One day in 2009, twenty-four-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a "flight risk," and her medical records, chronicling a monthlong hospital stay of which she had no memory at all, showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life, a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind? In this narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen. A team of doctors would spend a month, and more than a million dollars, trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong. Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death. Yet even as this period nearly tore her family apart, it offered an extraordinary testament to their faith in Susannah and their refusal to let her go. Then, neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with he help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life. He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks th brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history. This story is the powerful account of one woman's struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her "lost month" to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love.

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