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 memoir recounts her ordeal, and explains its lessons about the brain and mind.
Throughout the book, Lipska leverages her explicit understanding of the brain’s complex connections and the relationships between functional areas to weave together tactile and real scenes and characters from her life. Her project succeeds across a range of criteria. She is adept at employing her vast technical knowledge as a neuroscientist ... She also provides a rich sensory experience by translating her ordeal into experiences the reader might feel, taste, and smell ... Lipska’s prose soars when narrating her experiences ... We, the reader, experience her slow departure from reality alongside her, never realizing the moment her account of events becomes unreliable ... This grappling with identity—and Lipska’s gradual acceptance that the sense of self is both the outcome of, and the struggle with, our own physiology—may be the book’s greatest contribution.
Lipska knew a thing or two about mental illness. But she knew considerably more after she exhibited signs of the disease and came back from the brink with amazing insights ... Her story, told with coauthor McArdle, conveys deep understanding about the brain and how disease, injury, and age can change our very selves.
In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Lipska recounts her ordeal with equal parts raw honesty and clear-eyed conviction ... Lipska avoids sentimentality and doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that her descent into 'madness' resulted in collateral damage among her loved ones; she was somewhat safe in the eye of the storm.