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Brain on Fire

My Month of Madness
Cahalan, Susannah (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Brain on Fire
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Item Details

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.
Authors: Cahalan, Susannah
Title: Brain on fire
my month of madness
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2012
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed
Characteristics: xii, 264 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: by Susannah Cahalan
Summary: 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.
ISBN: 9781451621372
145162137X
9781451621396
1451621396
Branch Call Number: 616.8320092 C1321b 2012
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references
Subject Headings: Cahalan, Susannah Health Cahalan, Susannah Mental health Encephalitis Patients United States Biography Autoimmune diseases Patients United States Biography Frontal lobes Diseases Patients United States Biography Limbic system Diseases Patients United States Biography Diagnostic errors United States Case studies
Topical Term: Encephalitis
Autoimmune diseases
Frontal lobes
Limbic system
Diagnostic errors
LCCN: 2012012670
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Library Staff

The author woke up in a hospital room with no memory of how she got there - what happened?

You live a normal life, happy, healthy, a good person, successful. Imagine waking up one morning strapped to a hospital bed, unable to move or speak, labeled a violent, psychotic, and a flight risk. It could happen. It did happen.

You live a normal life, happy, healthy, a good person, successful. Imagine waking up one morning strapped to a hospital bed, unable to move or speak, labeled a violent, psychotic, and a flight risk. It could happen. It did happen.

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.

A bonus suggestion from the non-fiction world of books. An account of the author's struggle with a rare brain-attacking autoimmune disease traces how she woke up in a hospital room with no memory of baffling psychotic symptoms, describing the last-minute intervention by a doctor who identified th... Read More »


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NYPL Staff Pick
A young New York Post reporter struggles for a month with a rare autoimmune disease that attacks her brain.
- Selection Team

Jun 13, 2014
  • dairyqueen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Hard to put down!

Mar 17, 2014
  • sharus rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A terrifying look into this woman's month of madness. A must read that will leave a long lasting impression on readers. Watching some of Susannah Cahalan's videos on you tube will give readers another shocking look into what this woman went through.

Dec 10, 2013
  • Keyaans rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a very interesting read. The author’s excellent writing skills make the story easy to understand. It also shows that we can come over anything as longs as we and the people around us, believe in us.
I would recommend it to anyone.

Sep 30, 2013
  • writermala rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is the story of the writer's battle with a mysterious illness. Susannah's "weirdness" starts with an innocuous fear of having been bitten by bedbugs to a month long stay in hospital with increasingly major symptoms which defy diagnosis. An illness which costs a million dollars to treat, Susannah is one of the lucky ones. Read about the month long battle with the author, her family, and doctors each treating the illness differently. Will Susannah be back to her old self, or is that gone and lost forever? You'll only know if you read this gripping memoir.

Sep 29, 2013
  • pattyloucor67 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent story of a young woman whose brain infection nearly destroys who she is. I was mesmerized by the quick, downhill spiral her life took. The diagnosis was difficult to achieve. Had it not be for a few perceptive and well-read doctors, Susannah might have spent her life in a mental institution. The brain is a fascinating organ, and infections running rampant can cause a myriad of bizarre, almost possessed, behaviors. The book is well written, sometimes a little overly technical for the layman, but very insightful and engrossing.

Aug 21, 2013
  • smichal rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

A whole lot of blabbing which could be summarized by describing the symptoms and then the proper diagnosis and recovery. Most of this book was descriptions of conversations with doctors, play-by-play of videos recorded in the hospital, medical tests, etc. It was kind of spooky at the beginning (symptoms of a mental disorder) but became boring and stayed boring. Would only recommend this book to those suffering from this rare medical condition. Listening to people complain about their health problems is very draining and boring.

Aug 10, 2013
  • tnorris rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It is an interesting read, though repetitious.

Jul 13, 2013
  • campingmomma rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is the story of Susannah, a young, twenty-something who starts to lose her mind, literally. She starts hallucinating, having seizures and acting paranoid. She loses her ability to speak and nearly walk without much difficulty and just quickly begins to be a shadow of her formal self. First it is believed that she has a mental illness; schizoaffective disorder to be exact. Then she is diagnosed with possible epilepsy and several other illnesses before she is correctly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes her brain to become inflamed.

Susannah is a reporter for the NY Post and uses her skills as such to put together the story of her devastating illness and remarkable recovery. I highly recommend this book. She put it together so beautifully and really makes you feel as though you are with her during this difficult time.

Jun 11, 2013
  • rochellemc9110 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a must read! Amazing story! Riveting and fascinating, and very well written. I could not put it down!

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