Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Susannah Cahalan. Free Press, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4516-2137-2
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In 2009, Cahalan was in a serious relationship and her career as a reporter at the New York Post was taking off. But suddenly, as she tells it in this engaging memoir, she began suffering from a bizarre amalgam of debilitating symptoms including memory loss, paranoia, and severe psychosis that left her in a catatonic state that moved her close to death. Physicians remained baffled until one extraordinary doctor determined that Cahalan was “in the grip of some kind of autoimmune disease.” Released from the hospital after 28 days, she had no memory of her stay there. DVDs recorded in the hospital were the only link she had to her startling condition. “Without this electronic evidence, I could never have imagined myself capable of such madness and misery,” she writes. Focusing her journalistic toolbox on her story, Cahalan untangles the medical mystery surrounding her condition. She is dogged by one question: “How many other people throughout history suffered from my disease and others like it but went untreated? The question is made more pressing by the knowledge that even though the disease was discovered in 2007, some doctors I spoke to believe that it’s been around at least as long as humanity has.” A fast-paced and well-researched trek through a medical mystery to a hard-won recovery. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Glued - 266 pages - 978-0-606-35669-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-14-197535-1
Paperback - 266 pages
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-84614-739-5
Library Binding - 399 pages - 978-1-61173-678-6
Compact Disc - 465 pages - 978-1-61174-978-6
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4516-2139-6
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