Brain On Fire Summary
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Brain on Fire is about the dramatic turn of events surrounding Susannah Cahalan and her unusual medical diagnosis. Cahalan was on the verge of great happiness and success in her life. She was establishing a serious relationship with a nice guy. Also, she began a rewarding career at a well-regarded newspaper publication in New York.
Yet at the young age of twenty-four, her life got flipped upside down when she learned she has a rare autoimmune disorder affecting her brain functioning. It started when she woke up in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. She was strapped to the bed without the ability to move or say anything. This was the result of problems with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, which caused her to have violent, psychotic episodes the previous month.
Before being correctly diagnosed, Cahalan was evaluated by multiple doctors who developed unhelpful theories about her failing health. Her autoimmune disease caused part of her brain to become inflamed, which inspired the title of this book. She eventually got the medical help she needed to recover and manage her disease, serving as an inspiration for many people.
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Brain On Fire Film Helps Patient Receive Diagnosis
Imagine being a college student involved with multiple extracurricular activities, rigorous studying and more and having everything turned upside down in a matter of months.
Kassidy Anderson knows exactly what that feels like.
Anderson, a native of Buckatunna, Mississippi, is a senior at William Carey University. In winter 2017, she began to experience severe headaches and memory issues and saw flashes of light.
Kassidy AndersonI thought it was probably a torn retina, she said.
Her symptoms became significantly worse. Anderson says she would space out nearly 60 times a day, claiming she felt as though she were floating. However, she kept things to herself.
I didnt want anyone to freak out, Anderson said. I just dealt with it for a while. I didnt even tell my mom. The thing about this was that I could pull myself together for about 20 minutes a day. Just 20 minutes. I didnt want people to think something was wrong with me.
I felt like I was going to die if I didnt get any help, she said. I couldnt breathe, and my doctors thought I might have severe anxiety. I felt like a stranger in my own body.
It was there where something happened that she did not expect Vaphiades listened.
The condition was depicted in the 2016 Netflix film Brain on Fire, a film that Vaphiades and a colleague had recently been discussing. After he told her about the movie, the symptoms experienced by the main character in the movie sounded eerily similar to what Anderson had.
What Happened In Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness
After twenty-eight days in the hospital, Susannah is discharged. Shell need an at-home nurse; biweekly visits to the hospital to flush out the antibodies with a plasma exchange; a full-body 3-D scan; and full-time rehab.;
Still vastly divorced from her old self, Susannah has little self-awareness when shes released from the hospital. She makes significant progress over the next few months, but in her own mind, shes uncertain about herself. For Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, she had to research herself.
Experts are called in to do an assessment. It reveals a divide between Susannahs internal world and the world around her. Social situations are especially difficult because shes aware of how strange she appears to the people around her. Susannah often feels that her true self is trying to connect with the world outside but cant break past her body. She worries that shes become boringthe most difficult adjustment to a new self she has to make.
Susannahs old self finally reawakens. She begins reading again and starts keeping a diary. This was the start of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. Her father encourages her to draw upon her memory, but she can recall only numbness, sleepiness, and three seizures. She remembers nothing from her time in the hospital.
Susannah regains former functions and personality traits. She summarizes her experience for Paul, her mentor at the Post, and he certifies that her writing skills have returned.
What Parents Need To Know
Parents need to know that Brain on Fire is a movie based on Susannah Cahalan’s same-named memoir. As a talented young reporter on the staff of the New York;Post, Cahalan begins exhibiting unusual behavior and experiencing strange physical symptoms. With no diagnosis apparent, she and her loved ones are left without hope of recovery … until the arrival of a brilliant doctor who refuses to give up. Cahalan’s behavior is volatile at times; she’s out of control and;subject to violent seizures. Swearing includes use of “s–t,” “ass,” ” hell,” and “d–k.” A young couple kisses and embraces; it’s implied that they’ve slept together. In one humorous scene, a young man is;nude, his genitals covered by the guitar he plays.;Both the memoir and the film were created in the hopes of educating the public about anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis,;a rare autoimmune disorder.;
Chloe Moretz’s Brain On Fire Lining Up An Excellent Cast
ByNick Romano21 July 2015
If you havent read Susannah Cahalans Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, you should pick up a copy. When she was 24, the author woke up strapped to a hospital bed with no means of moving or speaking, and no memory of how she got there. A promising young journalist for The New York Post, she used her skills to investigate her own life and piece together the events that led to her mental break by interviewing her friends and family, pouring over security footage from the hospital, and interviewing the doctors and nurses who treated her. What she discovered changed her life forever. Now, this true tale is becoming a movie with Kick-Ass Chloe Grace Moretz in the lead role, and the actress will be joined by some stellar co-stars.
Thomas Mann of Me, Earl & The Dying Girl and Jenny Slate of Obvious Child are already on board Brain on Fire, but Deadline reports that Tyler Perry is the latest addition. The director-writer-producer-actor is taking a break from his next projects to play Richard, Susannahs boss at The New York Post. Perry has been broadening his acting resume outside the realm of films within his banner. He was recently featured as the sleazy lawyer in the Oscar-nominated Gone Girl, and well see him take on the comic book role of Baxter Stockman in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 in 2016.
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Music Creation Resources And Tools
For aspiring producers, songwriters and composers, there has never been a time where this much information about music creation and theory has been right at our fingertips. There are so many digital tools available to both make and learn music that almost anyone with an interest can pick them up and start making sounds! Understanding how music works, however, is complex and that’s where online resources and tools such as blogs come in handy. You can use these tools to discover useful information such as the difference between rhythm and beat or how to compose a melody to further your understanding of music and how it’s made.
The Depiction Of Psychiatric Care/diagnosis
Overall, I really enjoyed the film but my one reservation would be about the way that everyone in the film was portrayed as really fearing a psychiatric diagnosis. This conveyed a sense that receiving a diagnosis or being sent to a psychiatric hospital for care would be a very bad scenario. Conveying it in this way does not help to reduce the stigma around mental health care and it certainly does not project that mental health is something which can be treated successfully and result in recovery.
In doing so, the film creates again the barrier between mental and physical health that so many have campaigned to be taken away in order for the reality that both mental health and physical health are very much interlinked and should not be treated with one having superiority of worth over the other.
1 in 10 people has a mental health issue. Both societal and self-stigma are detrimental to recovery. Psychiatric care shouldnt be depicted as something to be feared.
In saying this, however, and in fairness to the filmmakers, the over-arching point that the film was making was raising awareness of the risks of diagnosing too quickly, especially with regard to mental illness.
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Is Your Brain On Fire Symptoms Of Brain Inflammation
Why inflammation causes brain fog Why does brain inflammation happen
- Chronic inflammation in the body;
- Leaky gut ;
- High blood sugar and diabetes
- Hormone imbalances
- Food intolerances
- Chronic stress
- Brain autoimmunity a disorder in which the immune system attacks and damages brain tissue. It is more common than people realize.;
Take brain inflammation seriously
- Balance blood sugar. Avoid blood sugar that is too low or too high. Insulin resistance and diabetes are notorious brain inflamers.
- Food sensitivities. Gluten commonly inflames the rule. Also rule out dairy, soy, eggs, and other grains as sources of inflammation.
- Balance hormones. Low sex and thyroid hormones contribute to brain inflammation.
- Heal your gut and promote good gut bacteria. The gut, gut bacteria, and the brain are intimately connected. A healthy brain requires a healthy gut.
- Anti-inflammatory nutrients. Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, can help quench brain inflammation take the precursors and glutathione recycling nutrients. Essential fatty acids and fatsoluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are also important.
- Get functional neurology help for a brain injury. If you injured your brain, even if it was a while ago, you may need functional neurology help to tame brain inflammation and restore function. In functional neurology we can identify problem areas and know which areas to activate and which to dampen to optimize brain function.
Inflammation And Its Effects On Mood
We have all had the flu or at least know what it feels like.
The miserable collection of symptoms includes lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, sleepiness, loss of appetite, and general malaise.
For most of us, these symptoms disappear within a few days. For some, it takes much longer. Although we tend to blame the influenza virus for making us feel miserable, the symptoms are actually a result of our immune system trying to combat the virus.
The symptoms of the flu are brought on by proteins, pro-inflammatory cytokines, our bodies produce in order to fight the flu and other infections.
When the immune system is under attack from physical injury, infections, or toxins, the immune system generates an inflammatory response. Inflammation is a normal physiological process that is now understood to play a major role in many chronic medical illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and obesity. In each of these cases, inflammation causes the release of cytokines. Cytokines, which come in many different classes, including anti- and pro-inflammatory, behave as messengers and signal cells of the immune system.
The effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines can cause a diverse array of physical and psychological symptoms. When this happens it is referred to as sickness behavior.
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How Inflammation In The Body Affects The Brain
Can a brain be on fire? Yes!
Inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammare” to set on fire. Our brain is “on fire” when it is inflamed, or when our body is inflamed.
What sets your brain on fire?
Your body experiences inflammation the way your skin reacts to a cut: The area becomes swollen, warmer, and it may hurt.
When there is inflammation anywhere in the body, signals are sent to the brain via various cytokines. The cytokines send signals to the brain via the vagus nerve and other pathways. These cytokine signals then block the brain from making serotonin.
What does the fire do to your brain?
Inflammation affects hormones and other neurotransmitters in your brain. Inflammation drives down the level of serotonin, which can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety, and problems with memory. It prevents melatonin from being produced, which causes insomnia. It causes dopamine levels to rise, which contributes to insomnia, and feelings of anxiety and agitation. The excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, goes up. Over time, or with excessive levels of glutamate, anxiety can result. In extreme amounts, glutamate can be toxic to brain cells.
You, too, can prevent brain fires.
It’s not as complicated as you might think. Try these suggestions .
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Why Brain On Fire Will Be A Lifelong Favorite
It takes so much strength to share a personal story, especially a medical one, with the world.
It was both a cathartic and scary experience to put my journey out there in You Dont Look Sick, but I have heard back from so many people that I have opened their eyes and learned something new! All I can do is try my best to spread awareness of multiple sclerosis, so I will keep going, even if it is scary!
Susannah is now one of my writing idols, as I truly respect her for sharing her journey. She paints the picture well, and I am sure she has helped many by publishing this book for the world.
I just hope more and more people read it.
It will continue to be a favorite in the sense that I will never forget how reading this book made me feel. While there are the moments of hopelessness, fear, and questioning, there are the moments of healing and happiness.
If you have or know anyone with a similar experience, I would love to hear your story. NO ONE should go through being diagnosed alone.
If you would like to join me in spreading multiple sclerosis awareness, and the right to seek proper treatment, please download, purchase or read for free with Kindle Unlimited, my recently published book You Dont Look Sick. Available now on Amazon. Click HERE for more details.
Chloe Grace Moretz Tells Critics To Stop Just Judging
At 21, Susannah is happy in what, with just a hint of irony, she calls her dream job. Shes a cub reporter at the New York Post, writing exposés on illegal Russian butt implants. Her boyfriend Stephen is an aspiring musician who describes his sound as The Smiths-meets-Tom Waits , while Susannahs deadpanning work chum Margo calls him that budget version of Joey Ramone. Susannahs editor, brusque but encouraging Richard , thinks shes ready to tackle bigger stories.
But suddenly, she starts zoning out at random moments, suffering from headaches, missing deadlines and meetings, and imagining things that nobody else can see or hear, like bedbug bites or leaky faucets. Following a seizure, Stephen takes her to the hospital, where the doctors guesswork about stress, lack of sleep and excessive partying doesnt quite explain her lapses into a vacant-eyed trance state. Nor do the misdiagnoses of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia later on.
As Susannahs condition worsens and continues to flummox medics, the film just gets stuck in a repetitive pattern that drains rather than builds tension, a problem inherent in both the writing and editing. There should be some emotional investment in the familys reluctance to send her to a psych hospital, as well as a flood of relief when a doctor finally identifies the problem. But the family connections are so mechanically drawn that its dramatically ineffectual and emotionally flat.
What Are The Symptoms Of Brain On Fire
As Najjar put it to her parents, “her brain was on fire.” This discovery led to her eventual diagnosis and treatment for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain. Cahalan says that doctors think the illness may account for cases of “demonic possession” throughout history.
Similarly, is brain on fire a real condition? Awareness about anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis increased earlier this year when Netflix aired Brain on Fire, a movie that tells the real-life story of one young woman’s experience with the condition. It’s not very common, but is one of the most common causes of autoimmune encephalitis.
In this way, what are the symptoms of anti NMDA receptor encephalitis?
Anti–NMDA receptor encephalitis is a type of brain inflammation due to antibodies. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, and feeling tired. This is then typically followed by psychosis which presents with false beliefs and seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear .
Can anti NMDA receptor encephalitis be cured?
According to the same study, 80% of patients with Anti–NMDA–receptor encephalitis eventually have partial or complete recovery. Some patients took up to 18 months to recover. While Anti–NMDA is the most studied of the antibodies, the treatment for AE regardless of antibody, is generally similar.