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, Psychology, Medical, Health, Mental Health

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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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsBarbara Lipska was born, raised, and educated in Poland before she immigrated to the United States in 1989 to do post-doctoral studies at Maryland's 'National Institute of Mental Health' (NIMH). In 2013 Lipska became 'Director of the Human Brain Collection Core' at NIMH, which secures post-mortem brains for research about the brain and behavior. Barbara Lipska Lipska's expertise helped her understand her symptoms when she developed metastatic brain cancer in 2015, at the age of 63. Lips 3.5 starsBarbara Lipska was born, raised, and educated in Poland before she immigrated to the United States in 1989 to do post-doctoral studies at Maryland's 'National Institute of Mental Health' (NIMH). In 2013 Lipska became 'Director of the Human Brain Collection Core' at NIMH, which secures post-mortem brains for research about the brain and behavior. Barbara Lipska Lipska's expertise helped her understand her symptoms when she developed metastatic brain cancer in 2015, at the age of 63. Lipska - who had previously been treated for breast cancer and melanoma (skin cancer) - realized something was wrong when she was preparing for 2015's 'Winter Conference on Brain Research' in Montana. Reaching out to turn on her computer, Lipska noticed that her hand 'disappeared' when she moved it to the right and 'reappeared' when she moved it to the left. Lipska immediately thought 'brain tumor' - and an MRI confirmed her worst fears. The brain scan revealed three tumors in the scientist's head, one of which was bleeding. Lipska is very fortunate to have a husband, Mirek, who's a cool-headed mathematician; a son, Witek, who's a neuroscientist; a daughter, Kasia, who's a physician; and a sister, Maria, who's a physicist and chief of therapy in the radiation oncology department at Boston's 'Brigham and Women's Hospital.' Lipska's family arranged for her to go to Brigham's, where the bleeding tumor was excised and the other tumors were treated with stereotactic radiosurgery - a procedure that focuses high doses of radiation onto individual tumors. Lipska was also given steroids, to reduce the swelling in her brain.Within months after her surgery, Lipska felt good enough to go skiing with her family and to resume her regular triathlon training, which includes swimming, cycling, and running. Lipska (second from left) skiing with her familyLipska cycling The scientist knew, however, that she wasn't cured, and that new tumors were likely to appear. Lipska decided that her best chance of survival lay with an experimental immunotherapy procedure, which primes the body's immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Lipska got into an immunotherapy clinical trial at Georgetown University Hospital, and was periodically infused with powerful antibody drugs over a period of months. The treatment helped to shrink Lipska's tumors, but also (temporarily) damaged her brain, and the scientist's behavior changed dramatically. Lipska says, "I was changing very gradually, from a loving mother, grandmother and wife, into a kind of a heartless monster. I was yelling at my loving husband. I was yelling at my beloved grandsons and my children. I was behaving like a 2-year-old with a tantrum — all the time." The scientist explains that parts of her brain - specifically areas of the frontal lobe and parietal lobe - were not working properly. Parts of the brain Lipska notes that, "Deep inside my brain, a full-scale war had erupted. The tumors that had been radiated were shedding dead cells and creating waste and dead tissue. Throughout my brain, the tissues were inflamed and swollen from the metastasis and the double assault of radiation and immunotherapy. What’s more, I had new tumors—more than a dozen. My blood-brain barrier…..had become disrupted.....and was leaking fluid. The fluids were pooling in my brain, irritating the tissue and causing it to swell."Lipska's family was disturbed and worried by the changes in her demeanor, but Barbara herself didn't realize anything was wrong - even when her conduct became increasingly bizarre. Examples of changes in Barbara's behavior during cancer treatment include: - becoming irrationally furious at Amtrak when her train was delayed, and talking about it for days, to everyone in sight. - refusing to seek help for lymphedema (swelling) in her arm, then yelling at the therapist and storming out when she finally went for treatment.- compulsively eating chocolates - though she normally avoided sweets.- driving her car erratically.- failing to recognize her regular exterminator and throwing him out of the house.- losing her ability to do simple arithmetic.- becoming infuriated when she 'lost' her husband after sending him to pick chanterelle mushrooms in the park.- being unable to locate pots, pans, and utensils in her kitchen.- forgetting how to cook (though she normally prepared dinner every night).- and more. Lipska explains that her symptoms mimicked those of people suffering from various kinds of mental illness, like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and other dementias. Barbara emphasizes that these mental illnesses are brain diseases - not moral defects - and should be treated like any other disease....like disorders of the heart, liver, or kidney. Lipska did recover, both from the cancer and the side effects, though she's aware the 'cure' might not last forever. Still, Barbara's at peace, and very grateful to her family - as well as the doctors and other medical professionals who treated her. She says "I'm feeling great, although I am not as powerful as I used to be — both in terms of my physical strengths and emotions. I went through so much. My brain was assaulted with drugs, with radiation. I lost my vision in the left eye.....I lost some balance. I am a little disoriented spatially, so I have sometimes trouble with maps and finding my places. But, you know what? I'm alive — and that's all that counts. And I'm happy!"The book is both informative and inspirational. Lipska provides a brief, but instructive description of the brain and how it works, with comparisons between experimental rats and humans. And it's heartening to see Barbara travel from health, to madness, and back again. Barbara Lipska I'd recommend the book to anyone interested in the brain and mental illness.Thanks to Netgalley, the authors (Barbara Lipska and Elaine McArdle) and the publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
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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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  • Eve
    January 1, 1970
    "I am a neuroscientist. For my entire career, I have studied mental illness. My specialty is schizophrenia. In June 2015, without warning, my own mind took a strange and frightening turn. As a result of metastatic melanoma in my brain, I began a descent into mental illness that lasted about two months."—Barbara K. LipskaI really enjoy books about neuroscience and the brain. I think the book that really turned me on to the subject matter was Brain on Fire. Like that book, I read this one in two "I am a neuroscientist. For my entire career, I have studied mental illness. My specialty is schizophrenia. In June 2015, without warning, my own mind took a strange and frightening turn. As a result of metastatic melanoma in my brain, I began a descent into mental illness that lasted about two months."—Barbara K. LipskaI really enjoy books about neuroscience and the brain. I think the book that really turned me on to the subject matter was Brain on Fire. Like that book, I read this one in two sittings, and I'm pretty sure it would have been one had it not been for life getting in the way. I really enjoyed the way Lipska was able to write about how she experienced her "insanity" from the angles of both the patient and the scientist (although I have a quibble about the author's perception of "madness" and feel the title of this book is misleading). I hadn't realized what parts of our brain do what, and the ripple effect irregularities can have on cognitive functions! We are wonderfully made! There were times during my reading though, when the writing and sequence seemed disjointed. I suspect that it might have something to do with translation. Lipska is a native of Poland, and I feel like Elain McArdle, the journalist who helped write and edit this memoir, could have been a little more handy in that respect. Other than that, I've come away with so much more knowledge about oncology and the different treatments that are now available. "The motto that adorns the main hallway of the Georgetown University Hospital pops into my mind: We are all broken, that's how the light gets in. It speaks strongly to me, and I whisper to myself, 'Through my broken brain, the light starts getting in.'"
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  • Valerity (Val)
    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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  • Rana
    January 1, 1970
    Guys. Guys. You know I love medical memoirs, right? Like with the force of a thousand x-rays. Well, this one really struck a nerve and it wasn't the good kind. I think I might be done with them for a while. I realized something about midway through this one, that most medical memoirs are told by rich(ish), white women WHO ARE COMPLETELY AND FUCKING UNAWARE OF THEIR PRIVILEGE HOLY SHIT. I mean, where the fuck are those memoirs about the poor, working class? Or the person of color? Oh, right. That Guys. Guys. You know I love medical memoirs, right? Like with the force of a thousand x-rays. Well, this one really struck a nerve and it wasn't the good kind. I think I might be done with them for a while. I realized something about midway through this one, that most medical memoirs are told by rich(ish), white women WHO ARE COMPLETELY AND FUCKING UNAWARE OF THEIR PRIVILEGE HOLY SHIT. I mean, where the fuck are those memoirs about the poor, working class? Or the person of color? Oh, right. That's because they're dead. They didn't have insurance or if they did, they didn't have the money to pay for that consult with a doctor way the fuck out of their group. Or if they had that, maybe they didn't have the education to be able to read medical journals online to figure out their own care. I just don't fucking care anymore. I want to read a medical memoir about the janitor who got cancer and died because their insurance only covered 3 rounds of chemo rather than 6 and they just didn't have the time or money to self-advocate. Like, all these white women thank their doctors and nurses and bitch, please. You better be thanking your insurance company and the fancy-ass job that is paying for that sweet, sweet insurance. Also, what the fuck? You call yourself a scientist and then you fucking lie to get included on a clinical trial? First, bitch. You stole that spot from someone who legitimately met all the eligibility criteria. Way to go, murderer. Second, you just fucking skewed that data up. The drugs didn't work all that well for you, well no fucking shit, you lied about your health to get onto the trial. And by the way, that doctor who knew your scan results and that you were going to go ahead with the study anyway? Way to have ethics and not report her, Dr. Shithead. And one more thing. Shut the fuck up about your health and exercise and steel cut oats. This just plays into that whole fucking "I beat cancer because I fought it, I worked hard, and gave it my all" shit. Like you think you can "beat cancer" because you like exercise? Fuck you. All that does is tell the family members of people who died from cancer that they were failures. And that is not a helpful narrative at fucking all. That's super cool and all that you like exercise (but also, it's a bit borderline disordered thinking when you start talking about weight, maybe see a therapist?) but let's go back to my point. You didn't "beat cancer" because you fought really hard, you "beat cancer" because you are privileged in your wealth, insurance, and employment. And monkey balls, let's not even get into the condescending shit about how she feels so empathetic about people about mental illness now. As far as I can tell, you had some really bad shit going on for a couple of months and then you got better. Maybe not back to your super amazing normal but "not crazy". Super glad that you had a rough few months but then got better. UNLIKE THE MASSIVE MAJORITY WITH REAL MENTAL ILLNESS, WHOSE SHIT DOES NOT GET BETTER IN A FEW MONTHS. Jesus, this is like somebody saying they really understand racism in American because one time the sales lady forgot to take the security tag off their cashmere sweater and they got stopped by the security guard. And end scene. If anybody knows of any good medical memoirs that talk about privilege and what it means for their medical care or aren't about white women, I'm listening. Otherwise, I think I'm soured for a while.
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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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  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    January 1, 1970
    Netgalley #47Many thanks go to Barbara Lipska, Houghton Mifflin, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.If Brain on Fire had an impact on you then you must read this bookThis woman was a Polish immigrant and of the highest intellect. She ran her own brain study clinic, which makes what happened to her all the more ironic. She was a strong athlete and excelled at several activities. She cooked dinner every night for her family. But she lost all of that and Netgalley #47Many thanks go to Barbara Lipska, Houghton Mifflin, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.If Brain on Fire had an impact on you then you must read this bookThis woman was a Polish immigrant and of the highest intellect. She ran her own brain study clinic, which makes what happened to her all the more ironic. She was a strong athlete and excelled at several activities. She cooked dinner every night for her family. But she lost all of that and more when she developed brain tumors. Her harrowing tale of treatment and recovery is told in this book. It scared me to death knowing this can happen to anyone and how finding the right doctor to heal any illness often takes luck and tenacity not to mention lots of funds, which most of Americans do not have. I think the most important thing about Lipska was that she never gave up. She did not always face her problems, but she also never let it beat her. She was a real trooper. And she had a strong support group. I was left with an inspiring quote by the end. Adorning one of hallways at Georgetown University Hospital is a quote: We are all broken, that's how the light gets in. Light heals. Light elicits good cheer. Light makes one smile in the darkness. I will take this thought away with me.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an account of what mental illness looks like from the inside. But it is also a map of my evolution as a scientist and as a person. It is the story of an incredible journey, one from which I could not have imagined I would ever return. It is a story that I never thought I would be able to tell, of how I went from being a scientist studying mental disorders to being a mental patient myself – and how, remarkably, I came back. Right from the title – The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind This book is an account of what mental illness looks like from the inside. But it is also a map of my evolution as a scientist and as a person. It is the story of an incredible journey, one from which I could not have imagined I would ever return. It is a story that I never thought I would be able to tell, of how I went from being a scientist studying mental disorders to being a mental patient myself – and how, remarkably, I came back. Right from the title – The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery – and then from that quote from the introduction, "How I went from being a scientist studying mental disorders to being a mental patient myself”, I was totally intrigued: I thought this was another My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey; a neuroscientist who “becomes a mental patient”, gets better, and goes on to write about what it was like inside that fractured mind – that sounds so interesting to me. But that's not really what happens here: Barbara Lipska thought she had conquered melanoma, but years later, it metastasized into lesions and tumours in her brain. While undergoing aggressive therapies to kill the tumours, she spent two months not quite herself – she was paranoid, quick to anger, would become disoriented and get confused easily, and lost the ability to calculate the tip at a restaurant. Madness? “Mental patient”? I don't think so. The story was not as interesting as the buildup led me to believe, and ultimately, it wasn't very well written either (despite being co-written by journalist Elaine McArdle) . My emotional overreactions – anger, suspicion, impatience – suggest that my frontal lobe is undergoing catastrophic changes. But these warning signs are lost on me. As an expert on mental illness, I, more than most people, should be able to see that I'm acting strangely. But I can't. Although I don't know it yet, my six tumors and the swelling around them are shutting down the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that allows for self-reflection. Paradoxically, I need my frontal cortex in order to understand that mine has gone missing. Barbara Lipska, a Communist-era Polish-born neuroscientist who serves as director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland is perfectly poised to give insight into the science behind what happened to her: she spends her days slicing up cadaver brains, looking for the physical markers of “madness” (and in particular, schizophrenia), and when she noticed some loss in her visual field, Lipska could mentally picture the tumour that must be pressing on her visual cortex. A quick MRI confirmed the worst, and because she professionally knew or was related to all of the best cancer doctors working in the field locally, Lipska was able to receive multiple therapies (an experimental immunotherapy clinical trial at Georgetown University Hospital, radiation, steroids for swelling, and targeted therapy for melanoma cells) that made her one of the lucky few to escape a terminal outcome for metastasized melanoma. The science and the medicine is all explained adequately, but because Lipska's tumours were pressing on her frontal cortex, she wasn't aware that her behaviour had changed, and her “report from the inside” isn't particularly insightful. And because she's such an A-type, in-charge, rule-the-roost boss/wife/mother, no one in her circle was willing to confront Lipska over her more alarming behaviours: allowing her to continue driving herself to work after banging up her car, driving wildly over the freeway, getting lost on a familiar route; allowing her to go out for her solo morning runs despite getting lost, losing inhibitions about her personal appearance, even becoming incontinent; continuing to run a prestigious medical facility despite an increasing inability to read and retain information from emails and frequent mental distractions that would send her running out of her office to attend to something “important”. Kasia doesn't tell me until much later, but it deeply pained her to see me so disoriented, so altered, from the sharp-minded and accomplished person I used to be: her sharp-witted mother, the one who taught her math and logic as well as the importance of honesty and how to enjoy her life. She doesn't want our roles to change. She doesn't want to be a physician examining my symptoms and observing my strange new behaviors in an attempt to understand what's wrong. She wants her loving, fun, competent mama. Not this confused, angry, self-absorbed impostor. Honestly, between a self-important tone and her specific behaviours – she's concerned about being able to continue training for an Ironman competition, which smacks of the most out of touch sense of privilege; she lied about the presence of existing tumours in her brain that would have excluded her from the experimental immunotherapy clinical trial (thus skewing the study's results and taking someone else's spot); she bemoans getting a takeout pizza after her last round of immunotherapy because even when she was getting chemotherapy for breast cancer many years earlier, she always cooked dinner from scratch every night; gave away the cosy pjs a friend gave her after her mastectomy because she didn't want to think of herself as in need of comfort – Lipska is just not very likeable or relatable. No acknowledgment is made that she was incredibly fortunate to have had the right connections to get cutting edge therapies – all paid for by her insurance company – and the ski trips, biking in Hawaii (and entering a footrace there on a lark), even the big house she shares with her husband, having two hour dinners every night, splitting a bottle of wine as they enjoy the forest view and each other's company, reinforces that Lipska's life is not like your life; it's hard to like her or understand her. As if from some previous life, as if from the deepest fog of perception, images of my recent past begin to emerge. I'm regaining my hold on everyday life and on reality. It's like I'm clawing my way up from a black hole and slowly beginning to recognize my surroundings and see the sun. And I'm starting to realize how deep that hole was. And on the other hand, Lipska did face down a terminal diagnosis and lived to tell the tale; I have plenty of empathy for that; for the effect that all of this must have had on her obviously loving family. Just don't call what happened to Lipska “madness” – that seems a strategy to sell some books. (For anyone who wants just the basic story, it was first published in this article in The New York Times .) I wish her well.
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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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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    While the author makes no mention of this, to me this book manages to highlight the stunning inequality in the US healthcare system. The author is wealthy, her children are well off, her son in law’s parents are wealthy; she is extremely well connected, white, and lives in D.C. giving her location advantage. She needed all these factors to survive. Most of us in her health situation would be dead, but because she had means and access she has now survived 3 years out from her malignant melanoma d While the author makes no mention of this, to me this book manages to highlight the stunning inequality in the US healthcare system. The author is wealthy, her children are well off, her son in law’s parents are wealthy; she is extremely well connected, white, and lives in D.C. giving her location advantage. She needed all these factors to survive. Most of us in her health situation would be dead, but because she had means and access she has now survived 3 years out from her malignant melanoma diagnosis. I am happy for her, of course, and also know if it was me in her situation I would likely not have.
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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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  • 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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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara Lipska is the director of the Human Brain Bank at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C. An internationally recognized researcher in human brain development and mental illness, Dr. Lipska has a doctorate in Medical Sciences from the Medical School of Warsaw.In 2015, Barbara was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread and caused multiple tumors in her brain. In this fascinating memoir, she describes her battle to survive this deadly form of cancer. Her struggle, with Barbara Lipska is the director of the Human Brain Bank at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C. An internationally recognized researcher in human brain development and mental illness, Dr. Lipska has a doctorate in Medical Sciences from the Medical School of Warsaw.In 2015, Barbara was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread and caused multiple tumors in her brain. In this fascinating memoir, she describes her battle to survive this deadly form of cancer. Her struggle, with its numerous setbacks, was heart wrenching as she fought to maintain her dignity and personality. Her work as a researcher of brain illnesses enabled her to present a unique perspective on brain illness and dysfunction because she actually experienced it. In layman’s terms, Barbara explains how brain injury, illnesses, and age can affect a person’s personality, memory, behavior, and cognitive ability. Because there is so little known about the brain, Barbara’s experience adds to the knowledge in this area of research.Barbara’s survival is nothing short of miraculous! Her story is one of perseverance, strength, love of family, and never giving up. This well written memoir is one you shouldn’t pass up!
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Barbara Lipska, a neuroscientist, moved her family from Poland to America for better educational and job opportunities. Readers learn that she is in charge of the National Institute of Mental Health Brain Bank where scientists study the brains of the deceased trying to understand mental illness and brain function. Dr. Lipska shares her story of how the melanoma that she was treated for earlier in life came raging back in the form of tumors attacking her brain. Many of the tumors were located Dr. Barbara Lipska, a neuroscientist, moved her family from Poland to America for better educational and job opportunities. Readers learn that she is in charge of the National Institute of Mental Health Brain Bank where scientists study the brains of the deceased trying to understand mental illness and brain function. Dr. Lipska shares her story of how the melanoma that she was treated for earlier in life came raging back in the form of tumors attacking her brain. Many of the tumors were located in her frontal lobes— the center of complex thinking in our brains and governor of our emotions. Lipska is a serious endurance athlete who continues to exercise as she undergoes cutting edge therapy for her melanoma. She and her family persevere through many horrific drug side effects and the ups and downs of fighting cancer. This book should bring hope to those with melanoma because the cutting edge therapies work for Dr. Lipska and maybe melanoma is not the death sentence it once was. A well told personal experience by someone with a expert’s experience in the workings of the brain.
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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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  • Wendyjune
    January 1, 1970
    This book had a lot of ego and back patting in it. I mean who are these people? Obsessed with fitness, ducking around skiing all over the place or doing triathlons and massive training. Every family member was amazing, loving, kind, with perfect children, grandchildren and loving partners. The way she defined success in life was mind blowing and she has incredibly high expectations of those around her, and of herself. She was still training while she was sick as a dog, and blasted the idea that This book had a lot of ego and back patting in it. I mean who are these people? Obsessed with fitness, ducking around skiing all over the place or doing triathlons and massive training. Every family member was amazing, loving, kind, with perfect children, grandchildren and loving partners. The way she defined success in life was mind blowing and she has incredibly high expectations of those around her, and of herself. She was still training while she was sick as a dog, and blasted the idea that rest helps people get over illness. She boasted about being up and about three days after intensive treatments and was revolted that a friend gave her a pair of soft pyjamas to wear in hospital- like she would need them! I wonder how much better she would have recovered if she had let herself off the hook and rest instead of pushing her body to the limits.How the hell did her work place allow her to keep working? Did she mess up the data at all? At times she did not know how her phone worked. I hope they checked her work.She wrote like a scientist, almost giving itineraries instead of building a story. When she tried to build a story I knew what she was eluding to well before she gave the reason for the story. Throwing in some visual stuff or smells because that is what writers do, felt forced.It made for a detached read. Her access to medical facilities that most people in the world would never have access to and the way she expected that access was revolting, and she could not believe she had to wait for things. A whole hour in a waiting room! I do not know or understand how her family missed what was going on with her, they are doctors who grew up in a household with a neuroscientist, you would think that that would give them a pretty good idea of what was normal and what was not. Perhaps it is because Barbara is highly controlling and they were scared shitless of her? Just a theory.The bits I liked? I liked learning about the brain and functions, but I think there may have been a better way to learn about it. Oliver Sacks is a better read.
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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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  • V
    January 1, 1970
    I still recommend this book because its premise --the author's ability to analyze her decline scientifically-- does indeed offer insight... but somehow the idea (repeated often) that the author's experience might represent in some way or speak for those with mental illness or decline struck me in a strangely personal way. ...I found it a bit brash. I know that this sounds harsh but I often found myself thinking "How nice for you." Sometimes it felt a lot like the way distant but caring community I still recommend this book because its premise --the author's ability to analyze her decline scientifically-- does indeed offer insight... but somehow the idea (repeated often) that the author's experience might represent in some way or speak for those with mental illness or decline struck me in a strangely personal way. ...I found it a bit brash. I know that this sounds harsh but I often found myself thinking "How nice for you." Sometimes it felt a lot like the way distant but caring community members chat with my family these days --appreciated but not terribly helpful. I suppose the capacity for trauma increases over time. The ability to even broach the depths by those who have not been touched by it... One can't really expect an experience of a few months to reflect that of years with no hope of reprieve. Anyhow, does that have much to do with this book and its goals? Barely I guess. But perhaps those with a family member on long term decline might want to read this book with a bit of reserve.
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  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    After a book reading by a neighborhood author at my local library yesterday, I spotted this book on the New Books rack. The title seemed very familiar, but it was the author's name that reminded me of why I knew the book. Last week I listened to a Smart People podcast with Barbara Lipska. I was driving a non-autonomous vehicle, so I wasn't easily able to take a note to remind myself to get a copy of the book. My fellow drivers hopefully appreciated that.Lipska is the director of the Human Brain After a book reading by a neighborhood author at my local library yesterday, I spotted this book on the New Books rack. The title seemed very familiar, but it was the author's name that reminded me of why I knew the book. Last week I listened to a Smart People podcast with Barbara Lipska. I was driving a non-autonomous vehicle, so I wasn't easily able to take a note to remind myself to get a copy of the book. My fellow drivers hopefully appreciated that.Lipska is the director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health and has researched mental illness for over 30 years. Her misfortune in developing breast cancer becomes far worse when she later develops a melanoma, which then metastasizes in her brain. A brain tumor from a melanoma had killed her first husband. Lipska's book appears to be somewhat along the lines of brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight.She describes as best she can her experiences as the tumors and swelling cause mental illness like symptoms. The reason that is especially hard is that the tumors in her frontal and temporal lobes (not to mention the ones in the occipital and parietal lobes) impacted her memory and her awareness of what was happening. Several key events had to be retold to her later by others.Lipska neatly blends detailed neuroscience with a compelling narration of the emotional impact on herself and her family. An important takeaway for me is that mental illness is often due to brain disease and these diseases often impact our brains in ways that can radically change our personalities. The brain is extraordinarily complex, and while amazing treatments have been developed by researchers, it's still very difficult to predict what course of treatment will work for whom.
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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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  • Lisa Hosack
    January 1, 1970
    While this book was well-written, I found it surprising in several ways. I expected some deep insights on the part of the author about going through this significant period of suffering, but instead the story is simply about the triumph of science and (her own) human determination. Both are obviously important, but the author shares disappointingly little about what she may have learned about empathy or compassion or the deep lessons that only suffering can produce. What we get instead, is an en While this book was well-written, I found it surprising in several ways. I expected some deep insights on the part of the author about going through this significant period of suffering, but instead the story is simply about the triumph of science and (her own) human determination. Both are obviously important, but the author shares disappointingly little about what she may have learned about empathy or compassion or the deep lessons that only suffering can produce. What we get instead, is an entirely humanistic portrayal that honestly left me unsettled and unsatisfied.
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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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  • Nadia.sebaali
    January 1, 1970
    This is a quick read, very interesting and well-written.The day I started reading this book, i took it with me to the hospital, not knowing that I'm going to meet a 38 years old female patient with a large brain tumor, I had to prepare her for OR. Usually I'm not that good, dealing with this situation, it was so hard for me. Gives me compassion.Only a person who really walked in those shoes can fully understand what it was like. As the author says, she learned more about mental illness in the 2 This is a quick read, very interesting and well-written.The day I started reading this book, i took it with me to the hospital, not knowing that I'm going to meet a 38 years old female patient with a large brain tumor, I had to prepare her for OR. Usually I'm not that good, dealing with this situation, it was so hard for me. Gives me compassion.Only a person who really walked in those shoes can fully understand what it was like. As the author says, she learned more about mental illness in the 2 months she went mad than the 30 years she studied mental illness and the brain before. Gives hope to those with metastasis melanoma yet shows the struggles to surviveBarbara K. Lipska you are a brave woman.Thanks for sharing. Everyone should read this.
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  • Hind
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Lipska's journey is indeed incredible. But judging from the title of this book, I was expecting a little more of the neuroscientist's reflections and insight. Instead, this is pretty much a standard memoir, with a few lines here and there about how her training as a neuroscientist influenced the way she approached things. I was hoping there was some science to be learned, but alas. As expected from a scientist though, there is a fairly good amount of description, and lots of vivid memory rec Dr. Lipska's journey is indeed incredible. But judging from the title of this book, I was expecting a little more of the neuroscientist's reflections and insight. Instead, this is pretty much a standard memoir, with a few lines here and there about how her training as a neuroscientist influenced the way she approached things. I was hoping there was some science to be learned, but alas. As expected from a scientist though, there is a fairly good amount of description, and lots of vivid memory recalls, but I'm still left expecting more when it comes to the emotional aspect of what was undoubtedly a very difficult journey.
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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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  • 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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