Susannah Cahalan, Brain on Fire, Domenici Center Auditorium, UNM Medical School, 1001 Stanford NE.
In cooperation with the UNM Center for Life, Bookworks presents Susannah Cahalan, author of the acclaimed memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. Cahalan’s memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of the illness that quickly consumed her and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. While Susannah vascillated from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit Cahalan to the psychiatric ward, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined the team. He asked her to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history: