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, Photo by Shannon Taggart for Reader’s Digest

Date: Thursday, November 29th

Time: 8pm

Admission: $5

Presented by: Shannon Taggart

Susannah Cahalan woke up one day in a strange hospital room, strapped to a bed and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she has no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy twenty-four year old. Her memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of her illness and the last-minute intervention that saved her from a lifetime of institutions, or death. Susannah was diagnosed with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.Join us for a conversation between Susannah and Carl Schoonover, a neuroscience graduate student who is amazed at how she was able to heal from this ordeal. Together they will discuss the science behind Susannah’s experience and then take questions from the audience.

Susannah Cahalan is a news reporter at the New York Post, and her award-winning work has also been featured in The New York Times. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Carl Schoonover
 Carl Schoonover is a Neurobiology and Behavior PhD candidate at Columbia, the author of Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century, and a co-founder of NeuWrite, a New York-based collaborative writing group of scientists and writers.

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