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

Barbara Lipska was relentlessly motivated. She fled an unstable Poland in the late 1980s for the United States, where she became an expert in the relationship between mental illness and the brain. She and her family were accomplished professionals as well as competitive athletes. And Lipska survived a brush with cancer. Despite those achievements and challenges, nothing prepared her for the harrowing eight weeks when she lost her mind.

In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, readers accompany Lipska as she is diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, causing the development of multiple tumors in her brain. Vision impairment quickly gave way to a state of confusion, shocking her family, coworkers and strangers with her increasingly hostile and bizarre behavior. She held out for hope, but prepared for death. Then two remarkable things happened--against the odds, she recovered thanks to an experimental immunotherapy treatment. And even more amazing, she remembers her experiences in vivid detail. As a neuroscientist, she takes this singular opportunity to examine how each compromised part of her brain affected her behavior. "Without a functional frontal lobe," she wrote, "my brain is like a horse galloping dangerously after the rider has lost its reins."

Though Lipska's recovery is extraordinary, her suffering and its effect on her family are familiar to anyone impacted by devastating illness. Her experiences provide empathy and understanding for people whose behavior is beyond their control. Lipska is a survivor, and readers will be all the wiser because of it. --Frank Brasile, librarian

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