The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery
A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Biography & Memoir Pick
An Amazon.com "Best Books of the Month" Selection
As a deadly cancer spread inside her brain, leading neuroscientist Barbara Lipska was plunged into madness—only to miraculously survive with her memories intact. In the tradition of My Stroke of Insight and Brain on Fire, this powerful memoir recounts her ordeal and explains its unforgettable lessons about the brain and mind.
In January 2015, Barbara Lipska—a leading expert on the neuroscience of mental illness—was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Within months, her frontal lobe, the seat of cognition, began shutting down. She descended into madness, exhibiting dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. But miraculously, just as her doctors figured out what was happening, the immunotherapy they had prescribed 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.
In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Lipska—along with co-writer Elaine McArdle—describes her extraordinary ordeal and its lessons about the mind and brain. She explains how mental illness, brain injury, and age can change our behavior, personality, cognition, and memory. She tells what it is like to experience these changes firsthand. And she reveals what parts of us remain, even when so much else is gone.
Praise for The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind
"Urgent and vigorous...A harrowing, intimately candid survivor's journey through the minefields of cancer treatment." Kirkus Reviews
"Fast paced...exhilarating." Publishers Weekly
"Barbara Lipska ... provides readers the opportunity to foster a 'sense of connection with others who suffer' and to combat continued stigmatizing of mental illness. Lipska's evolution as scientist, patient, and person explores the physiological basis of mental illness, while uplifting the importance of personal identity. True as it is that '[w]e are our brains,' her story is evidence that rich personal narratives offer value to an empirical pursuit of neuroscientific investigation." Adam Hayden for Science
"Lipska recounts her ordeal with equal parts raw honesty and clear-eyed conviction." BookPage
Events & Appearances
Details about events and appearances in support of The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind will be posted here as they are scheduled.
- New York, NY
- April 4, 2018 at 7:00pm
- The Rubin Museum of Art
- Barbara Lipska at BRAINWAVE 2018 Series
- Portland, OR
- April 6, 2018 at 7:30pm
- Powell's Bookstore
- Elaine McArdle
- Washington, DC
- April 16, 2018 at 7:00pm
- Politics & Prose Books
- Reading and book signing with Barbara Lipska
- Cambridge, MA
- April 23, 2018 at 7:00pm
- Harvard Bookstore
- Reading and book signing with Barbara Lipska and Elaine McArdle
- Gaithersburg, MD
- May 19, 2018
- Gaithersburg Book Festival
- Book signing with Barbara Lipska
- Barbara Lipska's website
- The official website of neuroscientist and author Barbara K. Lipska
- Brain cancer made this neuroscientist lose her mind
- New York Post
- April 18, 2018
- Barbara Lipska's appearance on NBC's "Today" with Megyn Kelly
- April 12, 2018
- "The neuroscientist who lost her mind"
- iNews UK
- April 2, 2018
- "A Neuroscientist's Journey Through Madness"
- The Scientist
- April 1, 2018
- Meg Wolitzer: "Books to Read This Week"
- April 1, 2018
- "'The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind' Returns From Madness"
- March 31, 2018
- "Need some inspiration? These new memoirs are filled with wisdom"
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
- March 30, 2018
- "I Studied the Brain but Lost My Mind"
- BBC World Service
- March 29, 2018
- "A neuroscientist's battle with brain cancer prompts a personal reflection on identity and the disease process"
- March 20, 2018
- "Lessons From Losing My Mind"
- Psychology Today
- March 7, 2018