Brain on Fire

Brain on Fire

My Month of Madness

Audiobook CD - 2012
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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.
Publisher: [Minneapolis, MN] : HighBridge Audio, p2012
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781611749786
Branch Call Number: CD 616.832 CAH
Additional Contributors: Henderson, Heather

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samcmar May 25, 2017

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this is such an intense look at someone with a rare illness and how they essentially lost a month of their life with no recollection of what happened. I found myself completely glued to this book, and even when the author got very technical about her disease, it never felt overwhelming , and I found I understood what was going on. A great read!

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m0mmyl00
Apr 30, 2017

The author describes her months long experience with an undiagnosed brain disease. It appeared first as inexplicable quirks, then proceeded rapidly to psychosis. Doctors thought she partied too hard, was under too much stress from her job at the NY Post, had epilepsy, was psychotic, etc., etc. In short, they just didn't know. Her live-in boyfriend was steadfast. Her mother and father, estranged from each other, were too. All of her doctors were mystified. Finally, a new doctor asked her to draw a picture of a clock. She drew all the numbers on the right hand side of the circle, giving him a clue about the disease in her brain. Her recovery was as traumatic, though not as dramatic, as her disease. The book was interesting because her experience was so weird, and her recounting of it was competent. It was not, however, uplifting, insightful, or poetic.

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NWPLindabear
Dec 10, 2016

This book was such a page turner. All of a sudden, writer Cahalan starts to go crazy. She seems paranoid, wild and unpredictable and ends up in the hospital. Although it seems apparent that she should go to a psychiatric ward, she and her family are insistent that she stays in medical. What happens is fascinating and the implications so interesting for neuroscience and others who have been condemned to mental institutions.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Nov 13, 2016

New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan suddenly starts experiencing an array of frightening symptoms that confounds doctors. She has seizures, extreme light sensitivity, anger, a total change in personality, hallucinations, and memory loss. Eventually she pieces together her lost month of hospitalization where she remembers nothing. The book is fascinating as readers, like her original doctors, have no idea what is going on. Her parents and boyfriend are baffled and devastated by her sudden turn for the worst, but always believe that the real Susannah is still in there somewhere.

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wendyfath
Jul 27, 2016

A tight line between frightening and fascinating, Cahalan's story provides a intricately detailed account of a mind going, going gone into insanity and emerging back out. It's terrifying to travel this journey with her. Lot's of pause for thought: What triggers brain dysfunction? How much can we count on the medical profession to accurately diagnose? Anyone interested in neuroscience should read this book.

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Squid_1
Jul 07, 2016

Very interesting.
The author seemed to have difficulty with ending the book. The last couple of chapters seemed drawn out. But otherwise, a good read.

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starrpwr
Feb 06, 2016

A startling account of someone's experience with the truly unknown; a perplexing and inexplicable illness that takes away your sanity. It makes me wonder how many people are walking around with some form of this disease! Educational and eye-opening, I realized that the positive outcome of Ms. Cahalan's story was based entirely on her fortunate status as the daughter of wealthy, loving parents, a committed and caring boyfriend, access to top-notch healthcare and all-round good friends and extended family (as Ms. Cahalan points out in the book). What happens to the rest who aren't as lucky? Thankfully, with the publication of this book, recognition of the symptoms of the disease and correctly diagnosing it will save someone else's life, regardless of social status.

Uyc Feb 04, 2016

Brilliant story that really illustrates how disjointed a mind can become and the effects on one's personality. The fact that she was able to pull out so many lost memories from family and close friends, as well as her time in the hospital made for an interesting read. It was not able to continuously hold me rapt though and it feels like it drags a bit near the end.

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MsNavillus
Dec 28, 2015

Very strong beginning. I couldn't put the book down during the diagnostic phase. Things slowed down quite a bit in the middle of the book, and by the end I had almost completely lost interest. The chapters about the events that the author remembers least are by far the most interesting -- the sections about her recovery are much less compelling. Still, a good read and an interesting topic.

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epelto12
Oct 30, 2015

Susannah Cahalan was working for the New York Post when her mood shifted from friendly and talkative (like a journalist), to paranoid, hysterical, and delusional (like a schizophrenic). After severe symptoms, she was taken to New York University Hospital to begin treatment, but the doctors were unsure what exactly they needed to treat. Some doctors thought she had psychosis, but her parents and her faithful boyfriend disagreed. She had been normal just a few weeks ago! Through the hard work and determination of the doctors at NYU, Susannah eventually was treated for and recovered from her illness.

Susannah has written about her illness in "Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness" -- piecing together bits from doctors files, interviews with family and friends, and from footage of her room taken by the hospital. She has to piece together what happened during that blank month, and which situations were real and which were her hallucinations.

This is a medical drama that does not become slow, but moves along while providing easy-to-understand medical explanations of why these things were happening to Susannah. I prescribe one reading of "Brain on Fire," STAT!

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shaylynnhunt
May 12, 2015

shaylynnhunt thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

GSPLNadia Mar 13, 2015

GSPLNadia thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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ZoeCar
Aug 11, 2016

A young reporter named Susannah Cahalan begins to have strange medical issues like seizures, mood swings and suicide attempts. The doctors think she has no hope. If it wasn't for her family and her boyfriend, she would have been put in a mental asylum.

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