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. In January 2015, 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 descended into madness, exhibiting dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. But miraculously, just as her doctors figured out what was happening, the immunotherapy they had prescribed began to work. Just eight weeks after her nightmare began, Lipska returned to normal. With one difference: she remembered her brush with madness with exquisite clarity. In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Lipska describes her extraordinary ordeal and its lessons about the mind and brain. She explains how mental illness, brain injury, and age can change 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.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
BARBARA K. LIPSKA, Ph.D., is director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she studies mental illness and human brain development. A native of Poland, she holds a Ph.D. in medical sciences from the Medical School of Warsaw, and is an internationally recognized leader in human postmortem research and animal modeling of schizophrenia. Before emigrating from Poland to the United States, Dr. Lipska was a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw. She has been at NIMH since 1989 and has published over 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals. A marathon runner and a triathlete, she lives with her husband, Mirek Gorski, in Virginia.
ELAINE McARDLE is an award-winning writer and journalist who has written investigative stories, features, and news for many publications including the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and Boston Magazine. She is the coauthor of The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health (Free Press). A senior editor at UU World magazine, she lives with her husband Jack McGrail in Portland, Oregon.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
So interesting....and coming from a scientist point of view. I experienced bi-polar symptoms four years after the death of my son (PTSD) And like Barbara when I was experiencing the manic side ....I thought I was fine....lots of energy...said what I wanted with no regard if I was hurting someone's feelings...it was a very powerful place to be....BUT then you crash! This book helped me understand what was happening to me and even though I came to "lose" my mind for a different reason.....the experience was similar. She was so honest about what she went thorough and how it affected everyone around her....and that is the difficult part about mental "illness".....it is the unseen illness...but you are as incapacitated as if you had cancer or any other disease. I f you are interested in the brain and how it works on so many levels....Barbara makes it coherent and personal. She takes the stigma out of mental illness......and provides real insight into the world of the brain ~~~~
The first chapter, entitled “The Rat’s Revenge”, is funny in a morbid sort of way. Barbara Lipska, a neuroscientist at the NIH, spent much of her life experimenting on rats’ brains, trying to learn more in order to find treatments or even cures for many varieties of human mental illness. By a strange coincidence, after decades of such research, she was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, one of the most aggressive types of metastasized cancers. In order to save her life, she herself became a guinea pig for many various new treatments, most with devastating side effects. Fortunately, she was cured by the combination of these innovative therapies, and thus able to describe in detail what she experienced while temporarily mentally ill. As numerous tumors seeded her brain, her behavior and abilities changed dramatically. Her specialty was schizophrenia, a disease that makes it difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality. Many of her symptoms mimicked those of schizophrenia and other common mental illnesses and her fascinating description of this intimate experience provides invaluable insight into the strange and sometimes frightening behaviors of the mentally ill. It makes crystal clear the fact that mental illness is a disease of the brain, not some human failing, so this book may remove some of the stigma attached to it. It also brings to light the terrible toll mental illness takes on loved ones, even after they realize the disconcerting behaviors can be attributed to the tumors. She was extremely lucky and was eventually cured by undergoing several innovative, new therapies. I was encouraged to learn about some of these breakthrough treatments, such as immunotherapy and targeted radiation, that are showing great promise with even the worst cases of cancer. I found this engrossing, and read it all in one day. With help from her coauthor, Lipska tells the fascinating, if harrowing, story of her brush with death. It was based on a highly successful article written by Lipska in the New York Times. It’s value cannot be overstated as a deeper understanding of mental illness is critically important in today’s world. Note: I received an advance copy of the ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.