Brain on Fire: A Conversation Between a Writer Who Lost Her Mind and a Neuroscientist Who Can’t Believe She Got it Back
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)
Susannah Cahalan woke up one day in a strange hospital room, strapped to a bed and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she has no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy twenty-four year old. Her memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of her illness and the last-minute intervention that saved her from a lifetime of institutions, or death. Susannah was diagnosed with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history. Join us for a conversation between Susannah and Carl Schoonover, a neuroscience graduate student who is amazed at how she was able to heal from this ordeal. Together they will discuss the science behind Susannah’s experience and then take questions from the audience.