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

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

by Barbara K. Lipska Ph.D, Elaine McArdle


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As a deadly cancer spread inside her brain, leading neuroscientist Barbara Lipska was plunged into madness—only to miraculously survive with her memories intact. In the tradition of My Stroke of Insight and Brain on Fire, this powerful memoir recounts her ordeal and explains its unforgettable lessons about the brain and mind. 
At the height of her career, Barbara Lipska—a leading expert on the neuroscience of mental illness—was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Within months, her frontal lobe, the seat of cognition, began shutting down. She exhibited dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. But miraculously, the immunotherapy her doctors prescribed worked, and Lipska returned to normal. With one difference: she remembered her brush with madness with exquisite clarity. Lipska draws on her extraordinary experience to explain how mental illness, brain injury, and age can distort our behavior, personality, cognition, and memory. She tells what it is like to experience these changes firsthand. And she reveals what parts of us remain, even when so much else is gone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328589279
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 232,513
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

BARBARA K. LIPSKA is the director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she studies mental illness and the brain. ELAINE McARDLE is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Boston Globe.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

1 The Rat's Revenge 1

2 The Vanishing Hand 19

3 Into My Brain 39

4 Derailed 61

5 Poisoned 73

6 Lost 87

7 Inferno 97

8 Chanterelles 121

9 What Happened, Miss Simone? 133

10 The Light Gets In 145

11 Survivor 163

Epilogue 175

Acknowledgments 182

Notes 185

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