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An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one. Read Brain on Fire PDF - My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan Simon & Schuster | NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING. Editorial Reviews. From Booklist. *Starred Review* In this fascinating memoir by a young New Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by [Cahalan, Susannah].

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Brain on Fire PDF Summary by Susannah Cahalan is a memoir containing the life-journey of a woman who tackled a rare illness and came out. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. Author: Susannah Cahalan. Extract. Chapter 1. Bedbug Blues. Maybe it all began with a bug bite, from a bedbug that didn't. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING CHLOË GRACE MORETZ An award-winning memoir and instant New.

Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? Plus, receive recommendations for your next Book Club read. By clicking 'Sign me up' I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the privacy policy and terms of use.

She believed that her studio is also under attack and it would be hard for the city to avert a potential catastrophe. She called upon an exterminator to get rid of the bugs and spray all across the place. At first, she tried to hide the fact that she has bug bites out of fear and mostly judgment.

It is not easy to come out of the woodwork and just confess everything to people you hardly know. The overly suspicious behavior turned a proficient and intelligent woman into an underdog. As time went by, they became increasingly concerned about her emotional and mental situation.

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Outwardly, she started to exhibit an odd behavior by twisting her hands and mumbling. Without any remedy in hand, the illness progressed.

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The doctors failed to spot the issue as they asserted that the tests are just fine and no preliminary action is required. Without any professional assistance, her health deteriorated.

She spent 4 weeks in the hospital before any official report or test about the disease was made. Doctors suspected that she may be suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or have sustained some physical ailments. With her life on the line, a doctor, known for his ability to unpuzzle similar medical mysteries was summoned.

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She was instructed to draw a clock containing all the numbers from Immediately as she started drawing, he spotted the issue. Najjar immediately did a brain tissue biopsy which only upheld his claims made earlier. The report was conveyed to Dr. Dalmau who had experience with similar disorders and have worked with patients suffering from brain inflammations.

Now, they had to figure out the possible treatment that could help her in the recovery process. The doctors were relieved because at least now, they had a good understanding of the problem.

The road turned out to be a tough one, so the doctors decided to ponder heavily before each decision is made. How did Susannah fall victim to the disease was a mystery to them?! It included several possibilities, all of which with a significant percentage of probability. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness eBook: Susannah Cahalan: Kindle Store

Cahalan stood back up again — seven months since she first became infected with the disease. Her health condition was on the rise as she made up her mind to go back to work. Educated from this experience, Cahalan wrote an article to embolden those suffering from similar disorders and invite them to share the problem as soon as possible.

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An experience that almost cost her life was actually the turning point of hers — now Cahalan sees the world with different eyes, dazed in awe at the fragility of existence.

This is consistent with the idea of a resilient, structural basis of memory and personality that is attacked by anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis but is then slowly rebuilt. One issue, which Cahalan describes, is that anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis is associated with a significant amnesia for the period of acute illness.

This paradox gives readers fascinating insight into the way that people constantly construct their own perceptions. Brain on Fire is also very effective as an illustration of the diagnostic odyssey of an individual with an unknown disease. Cahalan was diagnosed and treated only after weeks of progression, after finally being admitted to a specialized neurology service in a tertiary care center—and even at that center, the tale is presented as if only one specialist was familiar with the condition.

Viewed from that perspective, Cahalan could be considered lucky even to have received the correct diagnosis. The author does not condemn physicians unaware of the diagnosis, as she recognizes the difficulty in staying abreast of new developments in medicine. The book is dedicated to undiagnosed patients, a group that goes far beyond anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis. Even in the age of whole-genome sequencing, the medical community lacks much information about even common diseases, much less rare ones.

Good news is that the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program is currently undergoing revision and expansion, in recognition of the number of disorders that remain unknown and might become recognizable. In some ways, Cahalan oversimplifies the medical and scientific communities.

The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr.

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House—joined her team. In addition to the content of the quotation, why is it particularly poignant that the author would choose a quote by Nietzsche to bookend her work? Evaluate and discuss the style and genre of Brain on Fire. Cahalan describes the book as a memoir, but she also says that it reportage.

She acknowledges using help from other sources since she has little to no memory of many of the happenings recounted in the book. What does this indicate about truth and bias in storytelling? What complex issues does it raise in our understanding of works designated as nonfiction? How does her account challenge our preconceptions of these three subjects?

Alternatively, how does her account confirm or bolster what we already know and believe about these three subjects?


Brain on Fire is divided into three parts and fifty-three chapters. Why is this structure meaningful and important? How does it correspond to some of the major subjects and themes of the book? How does this structure affect our comprehension of the work or our emotional experience of it as readers?

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Are the responses uniform or varied? Are they expected or unexpected? Consider the response she recalls having while she was suffering versus her response after her treatment and recovery. What does consideration of these responses reveal about our responses to the mysterious and the unknown? Consider and discuss your own reactions as readers to what you encounter on the page—at the opening of the story and as the story continues to its conclusion. How did your thoughts, feelings, and opinions change throughout?

In Chapter 22 p. What does it reveal about the workings of the brain? The characters in Brain on Fire—friends, family, medical personnel, and even Cahalan herself—frequently consider if she may be suffering from some form of mental illness.