The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind
Neuroscientist Lipska was diagnosed early in 2015 with metastatic melanoma in her brain's frontal lobe. As the cancer progressed and was treated, the author experienced behavioral and cognitive symptoms connected to a range of mental disorders, including her professional specialty, schizophrenia. Lipska's family and associates were alarmed by the changes in her behavior, which she failed to acknowledge herself. Gradually, after a course of immunotherapy, Lipska returned to normal functioning, recalled her experience and, through her knowledge of neuroscience, identified the ways in which her brain changed during treatment. Lipska admits her condition was unusual; after recovery she was able to return to her research and resume her athletic training and compete in a triathalon. Most patients with similar brain cancers rarely survive to describe their ordeal. Lipska's memoir, coauthored with journalist McArdle, shows that strength and courage but also a encouraging support network are vital to recovery

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind Details

TitleThe Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind
Author
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328787309
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Science, Health, Mental Health, Medical

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The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind Review

  • Petra X
    January 1, 1970
    This book made very little sense. The author is an intellectual high-achieving scientist in a family of high-achievers, and what's more she's a top athlete too and a fantastic homemaker who despite everything, always cooked a home-made dinner (until she couldn't). She tells us all this repeatedly and it is one of the reasons I didn't warm to her. Is this to contrast her off-the-wall behaviour when she was ill?The author was not mad, she had deficits more in line with loss of function rather than This book made very little sense. The author is an intellectual high-achieving scientist in a family of high-achievers, and what's more she's a top athlete too and a fantastic homemaker who despite everything, always cooked a home-made dinner (until she couldn't). She tells us all this repeatedly and it is one of the reasons I didn't warm to her. Is this to contrast her off-the-wall behaviour when she was ill?The author was not mad, she had deficits more in line with loss of function rather than the peculiar function that comes from psychosis where people are operating from a different frame of reference. Her speciality is schizophrenia but I just couldn't see that she became anything like that or at least not like any I have known or whose books I have read. In addition to the deficits, her personality changed to being moody, bad-tempered and intolerant but given all she went through, how much of that was a product of the tumours altering her brain and how much the treatment and how much the stress and pressure of living through a second bout of cancer (she had previously had breast cancer and her first husband had died of the same type of cancer, melanoma, she had)? I did wonder if her (second) husband or other of the people who liked to promote her in her athletic endeavours and neuroscience speaking hadn't read My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey and Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (view spoiler)[which I read and was not that enamoured of either. (hide spoiler)] and said to her "You could do this. You could write a book like they did, only better." I'm glad the author has recovered, it doesn't seem to be a permanent recovery but she is back to athletics and neuroscience and I hope it lasts, I hope a total cure is found for her. I wish her well. 2.5 stars rounded up.(view spoiler)[When I read meh books like this, I always look at the plethora of 5 star reviews and see 'netgalley' and 'arc' and think that if you all gave 10 books in a row 2 star reviews... although as one big group on GR says to its freebie reviewers, if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't write a review. As always I have to say that I have freebie reviewers in my friends, but they write great reviews and are honest, which is why I added them to my list. Once I look and see a person has 500 books for example and the majority are freebies and their average is 4.5 or something... again, draw your own conclusions. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Valerity *
    January 1, 1970
    A very good book written by multiple cancer survivor Barbara Lipska, who is such an accomplished lady. She is the head of the brain bank at NIMH (National Institute of M. H.) in and has studied the brain for over 30 years. Until one day hers seemingly went haywire and she had to go and get treated for melanoma in the brain. While she was being treated for it, it left her acting like she had some of the mental illnesses that she'd been studying all those decades. This is one strong lady used to b A very good book written by multiple cancer survivor Barbara Lipska, who is such an accomplished lady. She is the head of the brain bank at NIMH (National Institute of M. H.) in and has studied the brain for over 30 years. Until one day hers seemingly went haywire and she had to go and get treated for melanoma in the brain. While she was being treated for it, it left her acting like she had some of the mental illnesses that she'd been studying all those decades. This is one strong lady used to being in charge and when her brain started acting off, her family really didn't know how to react, and she didn't realize it's happening, so it's a real mess for a while because no one wants to take the reins from her or tell her she's not in charge anymore.She tells a well planned out story and is so wonderfully qualified to explain what went wrong, and how it made her act while it was going on. She knew pretty quickly that there was a problem and went to get checked out by her doctor, and they found the problem. An MRI was done and 3 tumors were found. It follows as she fights to get well again with this scary condition, knowing what's going on in her head all too well. An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley and author Barbara K. Lipska for my honest review.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt April 3, 2018.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Oliver Sacks meets When Breath Becomes Air in this fascinating, page-turning account of insanity. Barbara Lipska's remarkable story illuminates the many mysteries of our fragile yet resilient brains, and her harrowing journey and astonishing recovery shows us that nothing is impossible.—Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Every Note Played
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  • Canadian Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara Lipska, a Polish-born neuroscientist who serves as director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, is a long-time researcher in the field of schizophrenia. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and melanoma in 2011, Lipska had gone on to enjoy good health and a very active lifestyle for several years. Although advised in 2011 that there was a 30% chance of the melanoma recurring, she was confident that she had beate Barbara Lipska, a Polish-born neuroscientist who serves as director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, is a long-time researcher in the field of schizophrenia. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and melanoma in 2011, Lipska had gone on to enjoy good health and a very active lifestyle for several years. Although advised in 2011 that there was a 30% chance of the melanoma recurring, she was confident that she had beaten it. However, in 2015, the then sixty-three-year-old neuroscientist found herself gaining first-hand experience of the kind of cognitive dysfunction and paranoia seen in the people whose disease she'd studied. A number of brain tumours—metastases of the melanoma that had been removed from behind her ear a few years before—were the cause.The initial tumours were in the occipital lobe (responsible for vision) and, as a brain scientist, Lipska knew almost immediately that the loss of sight in the lower right quadrant of her visual field was almost certainly due to the spread of cancer. However, a significant tumour that would later grow in her frontal lobe would greatly affect her cognitive abilities as well as her capacity to regulate her emotions. Other regions of her brain would also be afflicted. Over a period of two months, during the summer of 2015, she “descended into madness”. She also regularly got lost, had trouble orienting her body (and her car) in space, and experienced significant problems with reading and basic arithmetic.In her book, written with Elaine McArdle, Lipska documents her grueling struggle with one of the most lethal cancers. At the time of her diagnosis with metastatic melanoma, one of the original three tumours was bleeding and required immediate surgery. A bleed in the brain is serious. Blood irritates the tissues, causing them to swell dangerously. Pressure builds within the skull, and a patient can die when the brain “cones”—that is, when it is forced downward and the centres controlling heart rate and respiration are compressed. After successful surgery to remove the raisin-sized cancerous growth that was bleeding, Lipska received targeted radiation to the other tumours. Only after this could such treatments as immunotherapy (which empowers the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells) and “targeted” therapy (aimed at specific molecules within cancer cells) be tried. In spite of an iron will and a high tolerance for pain and discomfort, Lipska confronted tumours that had minds of their own. They kept popping up “like weeds in a garden”. At one point, she had eighteen simultaneously. Many of us might not be able (or even want) to persist in the face of considerable suffering as Lipska did. However, she attributes at least some of her endurance to her long-time training and competing as a marathoner and tri-athlete. Lipska is still not out of the woods; however, the mostly new treatments she underwent have prolonged a life that she obviously values, even if that life continues to pose challenges.While Lipska’s story is certainly interesting, the writing in the book is not the best. Some of it is quite cliché and bland. Apparently Lipska and McArdle strove for accessibility over detail, so some of the scientific information is very general. Lipska acknowledges that her bizarre and frankly hostile behaviour was difficult for her family to endure. The many examples of it form a significant portion of her book. However, with respect to this, Lipska sometimes doesn't supply enough detail for the reader to understand how her family agreed to let her carry on with her life as usual when she was clearly suffering significant mental disability. It seems, for example, that she continued to drive to work when there was ample evidence she had serious spatial deficits. Did no one notice the banged-up SUV? And why was she continuing to go for runs alone in the neighbourhood when it was clear that she was frequently disoriented and often got lost? Lipska does mention the distress of family members—the phone calls and tears—over her hurtful and aggressive behaviour, but it seems surprising that her neuroscientist son and endocrinologist daughter wouldn’t have figured out that their mother’s brain was significantly and dangerously impaired (in ways that could put herself and others at risk). They certainly knew about the tumours and their locations.When discussing her first husband’s diagnosis and eventual (1985) death from the very same cancer she would later fight, Lipska mentions that in the Poland of the time, cancer was highly stigmatized. A diagnosis of malignancy was viewed as a sign of weakness and a loss of control over one’s life. No cancer patient discussed his condition with friends, or even with family. One has the sense in reading her memoir that this kind of attitude continued to affect (or, maybe, “infect”) Lipska herself. She states that her typical response to emergencies is to throw herself “into a rational, organized plan, and grasp whatever control” she can. She also writes that (earlier in her life) after breast cancer treatment, she was up and about on the fourth day and that she never failed to cook a meal when undergoing chemotherapy. While receiving treatment for her brain tumours, she remained physically active; she even ran a five-kilometer race a few weeks after her first radiation treatment, placing fourth in her age group. I suppose I should be impressed by this, but I honestly found Lipska’s drive bizarre and even alarming at times.Generally Lipska’s husband, children, and grandchildren are presented quite stereotypically in her book. Her grandsons are adorable; her son, tall and handsome; and her daughter is beautiful and intelligent. I found myself occasionally wondering how Lipska, clearly a high-achieving Type-A personality, would manage if she had to describe children who were not athletic high achievers like herself. I also wondered what the descriptions of family might have been like if they'd been written by a writer other than McArdle--one more sensitive to language and nuance, who could tease compelling details out of her subject.One of the biggest problems I had with The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind was the authors’ persistent use of the present tense. It often does not work well in a book of this sort. Explanatory information (also written in the present tense) about Lipska’s symptoms and the side effects of treatments is interwoven with the narrative proper. As a result, the reader can't always distinguish between what the author understood about her condition as she was experiencing it and what she only knew later--when she'd regained her faculties. “Is this what is happening with me?” she asks at a point in her story when it seems highly unlikely her brain would allowed her such reasoning. Lipska’s tumours created the conditions for anosognosia, a lack of insight into her disease. (50 % of those diagnosed with schizophrenia and 40% of bipolar patients also experience this lack of insight—and it often makes them non-compliant with treatment). The tumours themselves, along with the swelling of brain tissue, also triggered a complete loss of empathy in Lipska--the same lack of empathy that characterizes those stricken with fronto-temporal dementia—a form of dementia which sometimes strikes younger people in the 45-64 age group. In my opinion, to eliminate confusion, it would have made much more sense to narrate Lipska's story in the past tense, shifting only to the present tense when providing explanatory information.Lipska believes that she “emerged from that dark place” through a combination of luck, groundbreaking scientific advances, vigilance, and the support of her family. To this combination should be added her educational level, financial means, and social connections. No matter how lucky, vigilant, and supported a patient might be, and no matter how advanced the medical treatments he undergoes, if he lacks a level of education that allows him to access and comprehend demanding medical literature which will assist him in advocating for himself, as well as the means to see some of the finest doctors in the land, he may not be able to gain the extra time Lipska so clearly treasures. Not everyone has a sister like Lipska’s: a physicist who happens to be the chief of therapy in the radiation oncology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where Lipska received her initial treatment. Early in her book, Lipska says that one of her goals in writing is to identify the parallels between her experiences and the experiences of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. This she manages to do very well. Lipska emerges as a determined, admirable woman--a fighter. Her experience is certainly an interesting and terrifying one, but her book is not quite as compelling as I had expected.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    One day, Barbara Lipska, two time cancer survivor, doctor, and a researcher trying to discover physical markers of schizophrenia in the brain, puts a nice gloppy mass of henna on her hair, wraps it in plastic, and goes for a run. A very long run- we becomes disoriented and lost for quite a while. She returns with red dye running down her head and body, looking like a victim of a serious crime. Then she suddenly loses a quarter of her visual field. Despite being aware that this means something ba One day, Barbara Lipska, two time cancer survivor, doctor, and a researcher trying to discover physical markers of schizophrenia in the brain, puts a nice gloppy mass of henna on her hair, wraps it in plastic, and goes for a run. A very long run- we becomes disoriented and lost for quite a while. She returns with red dye running down her head and body, looking like a victim of a serious crime. Then she suddenly loses a quarter of her visual field. Despite being aware that this means something bad has happened in her brain, she thinks little of it. It’s only with urging from her family that she goes to the doctor. All she is worried about is getting ready for a conference where she’ll be presenting, and also getting some skiing time in. This is just the start of another battle with cancer, a return of her melanoma, this time in her brain. As the cancer spreads and proliferates, her cognitive problems become worse. Radiation brings no permanent solution to her cancer. As the author runs out of treatment options, she enrolls in a clinical trial of immunotherapy. Her cognitive difficulties get worse over the course of the four dose regimen, but she keeps the worst of it to herself. She feels that a lot of her problem is inflammation in her brain due to the immunotherapy, not the cancer itself. She manages to hide her problems enough to get the fourth and final dose, something she knows she wouldn’t be allowed to have if they know how much inflammation she has. If she has too much inflammation, the brain swelling will kill her. If she doesn’t get the final dose, the melanoma will do the job… fortunately, she wins her gamble. As the inflammation goes down and the tumors shrink away, she begins to remember all the strange things she went to while her brain was swollen and being pushed on by tumors. She realizes she has lived through a situation very like schizophrenia, proving that mental illness can be created by physical stresses on the brain. It’s interesting to read; Dr. Lipska relates the various cognitive issues she had to the parts of the brain that were inflamed or squeezed by tumors. The prose is a little choppy but readable. You don’t often read accounts of people who “lost their minds” and then were able to get them back. Four stars.
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  • Biljana
    January 1, 1970
    The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind is a fascinating memoir. Barbara Lispska is an inspiring woman; she is a high-level scientist who is a two-time cancer survivor (breast cancer and melanoma). This memoir details her battle with cancer (melanoma) that has metastasized to her brain. Lipska studies the brain and mental illness (with a focus on schizophrenia), so she has a strong background regarding the brain and its functions. Nevertheless, she does not recognize the progressive breakdown that The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind is a fascinating memoir. Barbara Lispska is an inspiring woman; she is a high-level scientist who is a two-time cancer survivor (breast cancer and melanoma). This memoir details her battle with cancer (melanoma) that has metastasized to her brain. Lipska studies the brain and mental illness (with a focus on schizophrenia), so she has a strong background regarding the brain and its functions. Nevertheless, she does not recognize the progressive breakdown that she experiences due to tumours growing in her brain. This memoir details many of the symptoms that she experiences during her battle with melanoma and links them to the function of the various brain areas involved. Looking back at her experiences, Lipska is able to provide insight into what was happening as her brain function had deteriorated. I would recommend this book to people interested in the brain, biological psychology, and books like Brain on Fire. This was a relatively short and a quick read.
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  • GONZA
    January 1, 1970
    As a clinical psychotherapist I enjoyed this book a lot, mostly of course, because she survived and she is fine, but her tale was brilliant and interesting and gave me many insights about the "right way" to handle situation like those she was living.Come psicoterapeuta e psicologa clinica ho trovato questo libro molto molto bello, specialmente perché l'autrice é sopravvissuta e sta bene, ma anche perché mi ha offerto numerosi insight e molti suggerimenti sul modo in cui gestire situazioni come q As a clinical psychotherapist I enjoyed this book a lot, mostly of course, because she survived and she is fine, but her tale was brilliant and interesting and gave me many insights about the "right way" to handle situation like those she was living.Come psicoterapeuta e psicologa clinica ho trovato questo libro molto molto bello, specialmente perché l'autrice é sopravvissuta e sta bene, ma anche perché mi ha offerto numerosi insight e molti suggerimenti sul modo in cui gestire situazioni come quelle che ha vissuto lei.THANKS NETGALLEY FOR THE PREVIEW!
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  • Kait
    January 1, 1970
    As the step-parent of a child with mental illness, I've often wondered what is really going on in his head. Granted, he suffers from autism as well, but there was so much cross-over between Barbara Lipska's experiences and what I see with my stepson. The idea that every human is just one unlucky event away from madness is terrifying, but Lipska presents her story brush with mental illness factually and scientifically in a way that only a scientist could. Despite the clinical nature of some passa As the step-parent of a child with mental illness, I've often wondered what is really going on in his head. Granted, he suffers from autism as well, but there was so much cross-over between Barbara Lipska's experiences and what I see with my stepson. The idea that every human is just one unlucky event away from madness is terrifying, but Lipska presents her story brush with mental illness factually and scientifically in a way that only a scientist could. Despite the clinical nature of some passages, Lipska could be any of us, her family could be my own as we deal with the changes in one of our own, and the story it frighteningly relatable.I highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with mental illness in their family. I've already recommended it to a friend whose mother has dementia. It is a powerful passage into the psyche of someone in the throes of brain disease and it is a view not often granted to those on the outside.
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  • Cindy Leighton
    January 1, 1970
    Having lost a close friend to melanoma, I was drawn first to this book by my curiosity about how she beat metastatic melanoma. But she quickly reeled me in with her fascinating story of extreme personality changes she endured, but didn't recognize herself, as tumors slowly squashed and inflamed her brain. A neuroscientist herself, she was no more able to recognize the memory loss, the extreme personality change, the inability to complete simple tasks, as signs that tumors were destroying her bra Having lost a close friend to melanoma, I was drawn first to this book by my curiosity about how she beat metastatic melanoma. But she quickly reeled me in with her fascinating story of extreme personality changes she endured, but didn't recognize herself, as tumors slowly squashed and inflamed her brain. A neuroscientist herself, she was no more able to recognize the memory loss, the extreme personality change, the inability to complete simple tasks, as signs that tumors were destroying her brain than I would be able to.What was even more surprising to me was how her family - Polish scientists who had immigrated to the US 25 years earlier (her personal family story is fascinating without surviving two cancers - she also had breast cancer earlier ) - also failed to be alarmed by her increasing anger and frustration, her forgetting how to cook her favorite meals, and eventually even do simple math - until she had progressed significantly. One interesting side to her impaired frontal-temporal function was a loss of emotion - she didn't seem to care one bit about the fact that she was dying. She recalls feeling pretty happy most days, and completely unconcerned. That's encouraging to me actually.She is fortunate indeed to have a highly educated, loving, supportive family. To be a neuroscientist herself. To be living in the DC/Boston area where there are a plethora of outstanding doctors, hospitals, and immunotherapy trials. Her recovery is truly miraculous and her ability to reflect now on what it was like when her brain was filled with 18 tumors - remarkable.Fascinating, compelling, quick read.
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  • A. D. Paventi
    January 1, 1970
    So, as soon as I started reading this I was reminded of Brain on Fire. While I did end up skimming through a lot of the technical jargon, overall I did enjoy reading this book. I think the main character is an amazingly brave woman, and I admired her chutzpah while she was dealt blow after blow.
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  • Wendy Cosin
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara Lipska’s memoir was an engaging, quick, educational read. She writes about the brain science in a way I could understand. Of most interest for me was a glimpse into what it was like inside her head during brain swelling and other frontal cortex issues. I have a friend with FTD, so it was helpful to gain some understanding about how she feIt during the time that her behavior had changed, as well as her inability to recognize the changes. One thing that surprised me is that her family didn Barbara Lipska’s memoir was an engaging, quick, educational read. She writes about the brain science in a way I could understand. Of most interest for me was a glimpse into what it was like inside her head during brain swelling and other frontal cortex issues. I have a friend with FTD, so it was helpful to gain some understanding about how she feIt during the time that her behavior had changed, as well as her inability to recognize the changes. One thing that surprised me is that her family didn’t seem to recognize or directly acknowledge why she was having personality changes despite their medical and educational background. Since the memoir is written from Lipska’s perspective, perhaps it doesn’t matter, but it irked me. It was interesting how they were able to talk about those difficult periods after the fact, and how Lipska’s memories were sharpened. It was also interesting that, probably due to the steroids, she didn’t seem bothered by the seriousness of her diagnosis during the period when her behavior was “off”. Her family had to face the likelihood of her death, while she did not. I appreciated her drive as an athlete and that she continued to stay extremely active despite her health challenges. I can see how this could be a helpful part of dealing with a serious health crisis.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara Lipska's memoir could have been harrowing. Instead, the reader is filled with awe as she reads about the way a brain melanoma can affect one's personality, abilities, and sense of self, told by a woman who is both a brain researcher and an educator. Many of the symptoms that were caused by the disease had to be reconstructed by this scientist, who had spent her life researching the very topic of how mental illness might be caused - or detected - in the brain, and who had little recollect Barbara Lipska's memoir could have been harrowing. Instead, the reader is filled with awe as she reads about the way a brain melanoma can affect one's personality, abilities, and sense of self, told by a woman who is both a brain researcher and an educator. Many of the symptoms that were caused by the disease had to be reconstructed by this scientist, who had spent her life researching the very topic of how mental illness might be caused - or detected - in the brain, and who had little recollection of these symptoms. Yes, the writer has survived all of the modern treatments, including the most radical immunotherapy techniques, giving hope to those who suffer, and priceless insight to those who do not. Highly recommended.Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara Lipska suffered multiple melanoma tumors in her brain that caused neurological problems while she underwent different treatments for them. Her understanding of the human brain, coupled with her own experience with the side effects of mental illness, makes her story insightful and compelling.I find the human brain to be one of the most fascinating parts of science. This book was an in-depth look into the world of neuroscience from not only a scientific viewpoint, but from a deeply persona Barbara Lipska suffered multiple melanoma tumors in her brain that caused neurological problems while she underwent different treatments for them. Her understanding of the human brain, coupled with her own experience with the side effects of mental illness, makes her story insightful and compelling.I find the human brain to be one of the most fascinating parts of science. This book was an in-depth look into the world of neuroscience from not only a scientific viewpoint, but from a deeply personal, human perspective. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sharing a free copy of this book with me.
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  • Dorothea
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of "THE NEUROSCIENCTIST WHO LOST HER MIND" from NetGalley for an honest review. I wish to thank NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Barbara Lipska/Elaine McArdlie for the opportunity to read this book.This book was so exciting for me to think about reading. However, for me, it got bogged down a bit in the medical jargon. What I really was into reading was the PERSONAL story of the author - how she interacted with her family and friends. I wanted more of that!It is a VERY I received an ARC of "THE NEUROSCIENCTIST WHO LOST HER MIND" from NetGalley for an honest review. I wish to thank NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Barbara Lipska/Elaine McArdlie for the opportunity to read this book.This book was so exciting for me to think about reading. However, for me, it got bogged down a bit in the medical jargon. What I really was into reading was the PERSONAL story of the author - how she interacted with her family and friends. I wanted more of that!It is a VERY interesting story, but it could have been a GREAT book instead of a GOOD book.I would definitely recommend if you are interested in learning more about the brain, neuroscience, or about the author's personal journey with her brain illness.
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  • Tanya W
    January 1, 1970
    This book was very comforting & insightful for me. If anyone has a loved one with a mental illness, this book may help you understand the certain situations you might find yourself in. I highly recommend this book whether you are interested in the subject for educational or personal reasons.
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  • SundayAtDusk
    January 1, 1970
    "Everything we dream, think, feel and do--everything that makes us who we are--comes from the brain. We are our brains."--Barbara K. Lipska, Ph.D.Those two lines near the end of this book explains why I can't totally embrace Dr. Lipska's story. Not surprisingly, she thinks like a scientist, and is certainly entitled to her scientific beliefs. I, on the other hand, am much more metaphysically inclined, and don't see scientists and doctors as gods of the Earth. Moreover, I don't buy her belief tha "Everything we dream, think, feel and do--everything that makes us who we are--comes from the brain. We are our brains."--Barbara K. Lipska, Ph.D.Those two lines near the end of this book explains why I can't totally embrace Dr. Lipska's story. Not surprisingly, she thinks like a scientist, and is certainly entitled to her scientific beliefs. I, on the other hand, am much more metaphysically inclined, and don't see scientists and doctors as gods of the Earth. Moreover, I don't buy her belief that schizophrenia is not a "psychological illness", but a disease "caused by abnormal brain structure and function". There may certainly be some brain abnormality involved, but was that genetic or caused by chronic psychological problems? What the author is proposing is that we humans are nothing but our bodies and brains. I don't believe that and never will. The lab rats very well may have gotten their revenge. Not because rats are capable of doing such a thing; but because there are higher forces working in the universe, forces that have no human bodies or brains; two things that we all will be rid of, at least for a while, after we die.Not that this book was without interesting parts. The author's description of her thoughts and actions during her "madness" will remind many of the thoughts and actions of elders they know, who have or have not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The forgetfulness, the inability to find their way back to a car or home, the failures to remember how to do common everyday things, irritability and anger. Speaking of the last two things, Dr. Lipska points out in her story why family members often do not always react in a decisive manner to a parent's or spouse's strange behavior, when that parent or spouse has always been highly opinionated, or use to having things done how they want things done. Is that strange behavior actually a sign of a medical problem, or is the parent or spouse simply in an angry or demanding mood? In addition, she notes that there may be great reluctance to accept a parent now needs to be seen and treated more like a child, who needs constant care and attention, than the highly capable leader of the family.(Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)
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  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting read about a neuroscientist who has to go a procedure for tumors in her brain and how it affected her. What an incredible woman, who went through so much. Some of this was a bit much to read, with a lot of the medical talk that went over my head, but otherwise I found it gripping.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting story, but not particularly well written. The style was very factual and chronological. It reads like it was written by a scientist used to writing scientific papers (which it was!). It finally picked up in the last 40 pages. I would recommend Susannah Calahan's book over this one any day for a memoir about psychological symptoms caused by brain disease.
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  • Eleanor
    January 1, 1970
    Several years ago I had a nasty fall and suffered a mild (but nonetheless) traumatic brain injury. Although I had a very good recovery, it is also true that I have never been the same. My intellectual abilities, while never terribly impressive, were and are intact. My ability to cope with strong emotions, small frustrations, and competing visual and auditory stimuli, however, was altered. I'm only sharing that because since my accident happened, I've been fascinated by how the brain works and ho Several years ago I had a nasty fall and suffered a mild (but nonetheless) traumatic brain injury. Although I had a very good recovery, it is also true that I have never been the same. My intellectual abilities, while never terribly impressive, were and are intact. My ability to cope with strong emotions, small frustrations, and competing visual and auditory stimuli, however, was altered. I'm only sharing that because since my accident happened, I've been fascinated by how the brain works and how oddly even the most minor injuries can affect everything we are. This is why I couldn't resist this when it was offered by Net Galley for an advance read. Barbara Lipska, a neuroscientist who specialized in studying the neuroscience of mental illness, had navigated through treatment for melanoma, only to have it metastasize years later in her brain. The damage it began to inflict on her caused her to plunge into a period of profound mental and emotional challenges that she terms "madness." Her ability to articulate the bizarre changes she experienced, some no doubt informed by the memories of her devoted but perplexed family, makes for fascinating reading, but it is her nearly poetic reflections on the nature of the brain as the crux of our very being that affected me most. Even so, I could only give this one 3 stars because while there is so very much to admire about her journey, I remained at some sort of remove from her. That's merely an observation about the writing and the way she told her story; her tenacity and purpose-driven decisions even now deserve a standing ovation.**Disclosure: I received an advance Kindle review copy of this book through Net Galley. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt.
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  • Jenn Warner
    January 1, 1970
    fascinating recount of this woman's ordeal. I found her writing style hard to warm to, but her story is incredible and her resolve, tenacity, and resiliency are amazing
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fascinating narrative by a brilliant overachiever, Type A woman who is not particularly likeable but who has incredible drive to try to lick melanoma, which is metastasizing in her brain at a frightful pace. There's quite a bit of boring recitation of all the marathons, iron mans, triathlons, and other extreme sports that she is mastering in her early sixties. She's a brain researcher, not interested in being anybody's buddy. A pretty bloodless scientist.The part I found fascinating wa This is a fascinating narrative by a brilliant overachiever, Type A woman who is not particularly likeable but who has incredible drive to try to lick melanoma, which is metastasizing in her brain at a frightful pace. There's quite a bit of boring recitation of all the marathons, iron mans, triathlons, and other extreme sports that she is mastering in her early sixties. She's a brain researcher, not interested in being anybody's buddy. A pretty bloodless scientist.The part I found fascinating was how she was able to reconstruct her behavior during what amounted to a psychotic break from neurosurgery and new seeds of cancer starting in her brain. It appears she has triumphed over melanoma, which is pretty incredible, but the personality changes that begin to dominate her make her family and even the nurses cry when they leave the room. She was very goal-directed and high-achieving before she got the cancer, but afterwards, she became unbearably dominating and callous toward her family and all caregivers she interacted with. She was the expert on everything that was happening to her, even though she didn't realize that the cancer had made her into an entirely other person that no one wanted to be around.Her nastiness to her family is just awful, but she thinks she is acting with intelligence and pure motives when she has no idea how she comes off. It isn't until after her "recovery" that little bits and pieces dribble back into her memory about what an absolute jerk she was being. Her actions and words were so nasty that family members don't even want to talk about them when she's recovered. It's mindful of Donald Trump having no idea how his absurd pronouncements are being received the world over.The idea of how self-aware a psychotic person or a demented person is while in the clutches of the disease fascinates me. When the late, great Kate Millet is arrested by the police before she is sent into the Looney Bin of her book's title, she was washing her hair in a gas station sink, and thought she was justified in doing so because her hotel had locked her out or refused her requests. The image that I most remember is of Millet being driven by the police to the station or looney bin. She sits in the back seat of the squad car with her wet hair, puts her arms around the two huge cops on either side of her, and starts singing, "Wooly Bully." All this happens during a psychotic high that she can't see is happening or even an issue. When a reader finally absorbs the experience, it is evident to him or her that Millet is completely bonkers, but she herself thinks she's acting logically for the situation she's in.The author of this book becomes self-righteousness and vilifying to all around her, because her brain deficits make her think she is uncommonly brilliant and that everyone else is totally screwed up around her. She is constantly correcting people in a really mean way. So the crazy person thinks she is sane and that everyone else must be insane if they can't see the self-evidence of her glory.It's a scary situation, because she is hell-bent on being right and dominating everyone, and they can't tell her that she's completely psychotic. The failure of an accurate consciousness in her is just remarkable. Does it happen this way with other people having psychotic breaks? They're totally looney but you can't tell them a thing?I remember being in a doctor's waiting room and seeing a woman in a wheelchair who was completely demented and shouting at the staff. They gave her a glass of water (I'm sure that was what her brain needed) and told her to calm down and shut up. After they said this, she got a steely, determined look in her eye and tried to roll her wheelchair out of the waiting room to show them what fools they were. They managed to stop her at the door and wheel her back, but she was essentially raving while claiming to be the most logical, cool-headed person in the room. That kind of behavior is what the author of this book describes engaging in herself. Family and staff are turning away weeping because of the self-righteous craziness of the author at this time, and she has no sympathy with them or understanding of why they are demonstrating these foolish behaviors.Trying to talk sense to a person in the middle of a psychotic break is impossible, and I supposed that if straitjackets are still used in mental wards today, it would be to stop people like the author from psychotically creating physical damage or hurting her visitors and the staff. In a situation in which it's impossible to reason with the person, clamping them down somehow physically may be the only alternative until they recover their senses.So her excellent recall of how specifically imperious and nasty she was to family and staff is good to find out, but the irrationality of her behavior during her psychotic break shows how hurtful and nasty "crazy" people can be when they think they're being brilliant and misunderstood. It's a scary phenomenon to watch.I once walked into a locked ward to visit a patient there, a woman in her 70s or 80s who was hebephrenic, and she told me that all her previous visitors insisted that she shoved them down the elevator shaft when they were leaving. There's really nothing you can say to a person devoutly believing that to be true. I imagine it could be just hellish to be a psychiatric staff member trying to calm down someone who thinks like this.So the book gave me a lot of insight into how psychotic people are unable to see themselves as they really present themselves to the world. Very enlightening, but very scary.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'Despite all my years of studying brain disorders, for the first time in my life I realize how profoundly unsettling it is to have a mind that does not function.'The doctor becomes the patient in this fascinating memoir. Exhibiting symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia, much to the horror of those who knew and loved her best, Barbara Lipska’s doctors do everything possible to figure out what is going on. Why was her frontal lobe failing her? Fr via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'Despite all my years of studying brain disorders, for the first time in my life I realize how profoundly unsettling it is to have a mind that does not function.'The doctor becomes the patient in this fascinating memoir. Exhibiting symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia, much to the horror of those who knew and loved her best, Barbara Lipska’s doctors do everything possible to figure out what is going on. Why was her frontal lobe failing her? From where was her madness coming from? It is melanoma, brain cancer. Amazingly, when immunotherapy began to heal her, she remembered everything that happened during her descent into madness, bringing with her firsthand knowledge about what happens in the mind (brain), aiding science in better understanding.Mental illness today is still a mystery, there is so much we just don’t comprehend. How does a brain injury alter behavior? What about traumatic events? Are the answers only in the brain? Is schizophrenia a disease, something going haywire in the brain, what about anxiety? Depression? How do such conditions relate to Lipska’s brain tumors and the effect they had on her mental state? Thirty years of studying mental illness couldn’t teach her as much as her own experience. More than anything, this memoir is eye-opening, humbling in relating what those with mental health difficulties and brain disorders live with. It is frightening to think no one is immune. At any time, an injury, an illness, a mental disturbance could plunge our fragile mind in a state of madness. It’s easy to dismiss this brain we don’t think too much about, that does so much for us our entire lives, never imagining it could fail or trick us. We all will age, studying the brain is crucial to our health, to our very being.I remember a law class I took in high school, meeting a lawyer who warned us against riding motorcycles because he had a client that was in a horrific wreck and suffered a brain injury. He told us, his entire personality changed, this once kind man became violent, believing he was being persecuted by everyone. What can understanding cancer, brain injuries do to help with treating dementia? Other mental illnesses? It’s important to understand the science behind the mind, what a vast universe that demands exploration. Could it help, I wonder, understand how our environment, our experiences change our brains? The mind is a mystery, as Lipska’s unraveled she was able to find the right treatment and return to herself, mind intact and with first hand knowledge to add to her years of study.I’ve always wondered, what is it that causes the individual with mental illness to lose their grip on reality, why does a certain treatment work for one person and yet not another. Is it all the brain? How do experiences in life alter the mind, why? Is mental illness a curable disease? Is it something bigger than science? I have an uncle who has schizophrenia, it is somewhat known he used LSD during his time in Vietnam (in the army). He also had something traumatic happen, either witnessed or was involved in. He was never the same. We always wondered, was it genetic, caused by drug use, trauma? A combination of all three? I don’t know the answers. I hope in the near future we understand mental health far better than we do today, and more that we can have compassion. Truth is, it terrifies people, it makes them uncomfortable and it’s a shame because instead of understanding what is happening in the mind, people are shunned. My son has an austism spectrum disorder, so understanding the science behind the mind has been important to me. How does it happen? When? Thinking on Autism alone, there there are so many variations, different ways stimulating the mind can help with higher functioning. As much as we know, there is still far more we don’t.It is vital to every human being to understand the workings of the brain, we all have one, despite evidence to the contrary we sometimes see. All kidding aside, this is a fascinating memoir. Also, anyone dealing with mystery illness can relate to the struggle of trying to get the proper diagnosis. Dr. Barbara Lipska is highly educated, she has the means, and even for her it’s a fight to understand what is happening. Imagine the obstacles for those with little to no money and poor access to the best doctors. It’s vital we understand our own health, our needs. Demand doctors who are knowledgable in whatever disease, or mysterious illness that we suffer from. Easier said then done, though.A memoir about a woman who is both patient, and doctor. Interesting read.Publication Date: April 3, 2018Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    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 gui 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 professional 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 physical problems in the brain. 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.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    The underlying causes of mental illness are rarely as clear as metastatic brain cancer. And yet I felt I understood for the first time what many of the patients I study go through — the fear and confusion of living in a world that doesn’t make sense; a world in which the past is forgotten and the future is utterly unpredictable.–Barbara K. Lipska, “The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind,” The New York Times, March 16, 2016.Dr. Barbara K. Lipska, a neuroscientist and the director of the Human Brain The underlying causes of mental illness are rarely as clear as metastatic brain cancer. And yet I felt I understood for the first time what many of the patients I study go through — the fear and confusion of living in a world that doesn’t make sense; a world in which the past is forgotten and the future is utterly unpredictable.–Barbara K. Lipska, “The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind,” The New York Times, March 16, 2016.Dr. Barbara K. Lipska, a neuroscientist and the director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early 2015. After surviving stage 3 breast cancer in 2009 and stage 1B melanoma in 2011, the cancer had returned and metastasized to her brain, first manifesting itself through changes in vision. To treat the tumors, Lipska underwent both radiation and immunotherapy in an attempt to eradicate the tumors from her brain. In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery , Lipska recounts her descent into madness during the summer of 2015, as the tumors continued to affect her brain chemistry in adverse ways, with a stunning clarity that offers the reader a unique glimpse into the mind of someone with mental illness.The way in which the author presented her story felt more clinical than personal, which had the disservice of making the author seem distant and aloof – which is more than likely the direct result of a scientist writing about herself as a patient rather than on a more personal level. Although I get it, this often made it hard to relate to the author as she kept some degree of distance between herself and the reader.However, I did enjoy this book. I thought it was inspiring to read about Lipska’s resilience in the face of adversity: from moving to America from Poland, to beating both breast cancer and melanoma, and finally through her battle against the tumors in her brain and the subsequent loss of her mind and mental faculties. Through everything, she showed strength and drive, especially through her continuance working, exercising, and devotion to her family.If you’re interested in getting an overview of this book without reading it (though it only comes in at 208 pages), Lipska wrote an article detailing her experiences, which was published in March 2016 by The New York Times . If nothing else, I’d recommend reading this to learn about a remarkable woman who was able to face her challenges head-on and lived to see another day.Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mithila Menezes
    January 1, 1970
    The title of this book intrigued me. A neuroscientist who lost her mind? How did that happen? Thanks to HMH Books and NetGalley, I could find out how Barbara Lipska lost her mind, and survived to tell the tale. Barbara is a cancer survivor. And a brain tumour survivor. An avid sports enthusiast. A dedicated neurologist. A person with an unusual experience, the tale of which will serve a greater purpose of helping people understand mental illness and the trauma a mentally ill person faces. In Jan The title of this book intrigued me. A neuroscientist who lost her mind? How did that happen? Thanks to HMH Books and NetGalley, I could find out how Barbara Lipska lost her mind, and survived to tell the tale. Barbara is a cancer survivor. And a brain tumour survivor. An avid sports enthusiast. A dedicated neurologist. A person with an unusual experience, the tale of which will serve a greater purpose of helping people understand mental illness and the trauma a mentally ill person faces. In January 2015, she was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. She was earlier diagnosed with breast cancer, so this was a scary time for her and her family. Due to the brain tumours, the most important part of the brain, the frontal lobe, began shutting down. Because of this, she started exhibiting schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified everyone who came in contact with her. But miraculously, a relatively new therapy for melanoma, immunotherapy, 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. She used this knowledge to write a book that introduces the reader to the magical, unexplored brain. She highlights the different advances made in the field of neurosciences, and also how there are many areas of the brain that we can't understand yet. Which is why many mental illnesses and disorders go untreated till today. She also highlights how the brain tumours affected her daily life, in a heartwrenching way. Just reading her words about how she behaved like a completely different person were shocking. It helped me understand what people with mental illness suffer through, and how it's not even their fault. It's totally uncontrollable, and equally terrifying. This book is a must-read if you're looking for an insight into how human brains work, what are the different issues faced by people with brain damage, and the power of endurance that can make miracles.
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  • BOOKLOVER10
    January 1, 1970
    In "The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind," Dr. Barbara K. Lipska, who since 1989 has worked at the National Institute of Mental Health, recounts what happened in 2015 when tests showed that rogue cells from her previous bout with melanoma metastasized to her brain. As a result, for approximately two months, she behaved erratically; was irritable with both strangers and loved ones; suffered from a loss of memory and spatial recognition; and was unaware that she was no longer the loving and warm p In "The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind," Dr. Barbara K. Lipska, who since 1989 has worked at the National Institute of Mental Health, recounts what happened in 2015 when tests showed that rogue cells from her previous bout with melanoma metastasized to her brain. As a result, for approximately two months, she behaved erratically; was irritable with both strangers and loved ones; suffered from a loss of memory and spatial recognition; and was unaware that she was no longer the loving and warm person whom her husband and children cherished.With the able assistance of writer and journalist Elaine McArdle, Dr. Lipska, who has a PhD that she received in her native Warsaw, candidly and compellingly describes her ordeal. On one occasion, she went for a run without her prosthetic--she is a breast cancer survivor--and with hair dye running down her face (she left the house in the middle of putting in the dye). When she got home, her husband barely recognized his wife, and she was bewildered by his stunned reaction. There would other occasions when Lipska's outbursts put a damper on family gatherings; she became disoriented in previously familiar places; and did not grasp that she was seeing the world around her through a distorted lens.Lipska is a strong and courageous woman who admits that, even though she studies the brain at the NIMH, she was as clueless as a layman about what was happening to her. One of the author's themes is that we should show more compassion towards individuals who suffer from brain injuries and emotional disorders. After repeated surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, Dr. Lipska is doing better, but she knows that everything can change in an instant. She poignantly states: "In the course of losing and regaining my sanity, I've come to identify with other people who have known mental illnesses firsthand." This is a gripping and terrifying work of non-fiction that proves how far we still have to go in our understanding of the human mind and body.
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  • Kelli
    January 1, 1970
    So I definitely read this book in one day..while at work..it was THAT good. It was definitely an easy to read book, but that wasn't a huge factor in why it only took me only 6 hours to read (**cough cough** while on the clock). Barbara's writing was incredible. It drew me in from the first paragraph and kept me hooked throughout the book.You can definitely tell when reading this book that Dr Lipska has such an in-depth understanding of the brain and how it functions. She describes in detail and So I definitely read this book in one day..while at work..it was THAT good. It was definitely an easy to read book, but that wasn't a huge factor in why it only took me only 6 hours to read (**cough cough** while on the clock). Barbara's writing was incredible. It drew me in from the first paragraph and kept me hooked throughout the book.You can definitely tell when reading this book that Dr Lipska has such an in-depth understanding of the brain and how it functions. She describes in detail and accuracy what the different functions of the brain are and how her symptoms showed signs of malfunction. These easy-to-understand explanations helped me, a former Psychology major, to better understand her work, her symptoms and how her symptoms connected to where her tumors were located.This book was a hugely inspiring and motivational story while also having an undertone of a harrowing tale. It is frightening to think this could happen to me or my loved ones, but also insanely optimistic because of how this marvelously strong woman was able to overcome these tumors. There were many lessons to learn in this book. Always get a second opinion. Take charge of your own healthcare. When something doesn't seem right, go get it checked out. Your family is your biggest ally so when they see something wrong, trust and believe them. The strength of the human body is astounding. Optimism and hope can only strengthen you and others and improve your chances.This book and this story will stick with me for quite some time and I am so thankful to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Barbara Lipska and NetGalley for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Virginia McGee Butler
    January 1, 1970
    The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her MindThe book title, The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, presents an intriguing promise that is kept by Barbara K. Lipska writing with Elaine McArdle in her memoir. While she’s at it, she adds amazement to the organ that is the brain, first from her scientific knowledge and second from firsthand experience. The irony of melanoma spreading to the brain of a person who is an expert in the neuroscience of mental illness and has an understanding of what is happening The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her MindThe book title, The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, presents an intriguing promise that is kept by Barbara K. Lipska writing with Elaine McArdle in her memoir. While she’s at it, she adds amazement to the organ that is the brain, first from her scientific knowledge and second from firsthand experience. The irony of melanoma spreading to the brain of a person who is an expert in the neuroscience of mental illness and has an understanding of what is happening makes the book infinitely fascinating.Almost as interesting as the memoir itself are her comparisons of how what is happening to her holds similarity to others with dementia, schizophrenia, and other mental challenges. Her reflections after the ordeal is over explain her own lapse of control of her own emotions and actions and why and how this parallels to other mental illnesses. Her additional assessmemts of how behaviors and memory change with age, brain injuries, or mental illnesses are helpful in understanding memory loss and changes in behavior and personality. The important learning from the book is woven into a nail-biting narrative of Barbara’s battle with the brain cancer and behavior that terrifies her supportive family and coworkers. I was glad I could count on a good ending since I knew she was author of the book. The fact that her memory and reason returned intact seems equally miraculous and medical. I recommend the book to anyone who loves a suspenseful memoir and to anyone who is touched by someone with any type of mental illness.
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  • Amanda Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a very hard book for me to read. My mother and aunt both died in 2011 from breast to bone metastasized cancer that they had each fought for over 10 years. My grandmother is currently receiving immunotherapy to hopefully treat the lung cancer she has been battling for 4 years. I have just had (hopefully) my last revision to a preventative mastectomy/reconstruction that I fought for years to have (luckily they did finally agree as they found the pre-cancerous cells). Lipska's descrip This book was a very hard book for me to read. My mother and aunt both died in 2011 from breast to bone metastasized cancer that they had each fought for over 10 years. My grandmother is currently receiving immunotherapy to hopefully treat the lung cancer she has been battling for 4 years. I have just had (hopefully) my last revision to a preventative mastectomy/reconstruction that I fought for years to have (luckily they did finally agree as they found the pre-cancerous cells). Lipska's description of her mental state and reactions definitely brought me back to places and gave me a different perspective on what my family members had gone through.The first section was a bit rough to battle through. She was very descriptive and technical in giving you a complete background of how amazing her job is. Coming from an anthropological background I was able to work my way through it and found the person she was underneath and through it all. This is more than just a story of survival, but a story of finding oneself in the midst of endless appointments and having the hope to be able to find themselves on the other side. This should be a must read for family members going through the cancer battle. It is one thing to hear someone try to describe to you what they are going through when you are walking them to appointments every day, but it is another to hear it so completely broken down and raw.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    An engaging memoir written by a remarkable woman. Dr. Barbara Lipska demonstrates what every person with a serious illness learns: you have to be your own advocate. In her case, this means getting second opinions, educating herself about her illness, researching treatment options, and fighting for the best treatment possible. She comes well prepared to tackle brain disease, as director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health. And she's surrounded by a family An engaging memoir written by a remarkable woman. Dr. Barbara Lipska demonstrates what every person with a serious illness learns: you have to be your own advocate. In her case, this means getting second opinions, educating herself about her illness, researching treatment options, and fighting for the best treatment possible. She comes well prepared to tackle brain disease, as director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health. And she's surrounded by a family full of physicians and scientists. Even at that, though, she sometimes has to fight to be heard. At 64, she is in top shape, a marathon runner and swimmer and is preparing for a triathlon. Then she is diagnosed with a brain tumor—three actually. While this is not your average human, her story is universal. Because of her adamance to get immunotherapy, she survived a disease the doctors were sure would kill her within months. I especially enjoy health memoirs, so I appreciated her explanation of the roles of the different parts of the brain and how that affected her behavior. This was a highly enjoyable read that was educational to boot. I wish Dr. Lipska and her family well.Thanks to Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a review copy of the book in advance of publication.
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