cover image The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery

Barbara K. Lipska. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-1-328-78730-9

In a terrifying moment one morning in January 2015, neuroscientist Lipska lost sight of her right-hand while she was eating breakfast. As she reveals in this fast-paced memoir, her symptoms eventually lead her doctors to discover that a melanoma had spread to her brain. Although she studied brain disorders for a living, she was afraid to look at the first MRIs of her own brain, admitting that her brain was a “mortal danger” to her. Following surgery to remove the small malignant tumor that caused vision loss, Lipska, hopeful she could return to normal life, began an intensely active physical regimen of cycling and running. Within a few weeks, however, she experienced dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms, exhibiting aggressive behavior, caused by what she would learn were lesions in her brain. Lipska shares excruciating details of the drug therapies and other treatments she underwent, such as radiation and taking immunotherapy drugs. She recognizes that she will never be the same and that she must deal with brain scans and other tests the rest of her life, but she revels in the pleasures of living every day with her family. Her exhilarating memoir reveals the frustrations of slow recovery, and that even with the best medical care there are no guarantees for good health. (Apr.)