“Brain on Fire: A Conversation Between a Writer Who Lost Her Mind and a Neuroscientist Who Can’t Believe She Got It Back”

Susannah Cahalan woke up one day in an unfamiliar hospital room, unable to move or speak, with no recollection of the psychosis and violent behavior caused by a rare autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain. The fast-moving illness, thought to be the cause of “demonic possession” throughout history, overwhelmed Cahalan in just a few short weeks, and the result could have been a lifetime of institutionalization or possibly even death. The newly diagnosed ailment and the last-minute intervention that saved her are the subjects of her memoir, Brain on Fire, as well as this talk between Cahalan—now a writer for the New York Post—and neuroscience graduate student Carl Schoonover.