Tag Archives: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Katniss Everdeen or Susannah Cahalan? The Real Girl on Fire

I saw “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” this weekend and my brain loved the action, the suspense, and the love story.  All the references to Katniss Everdeen as “The Girl on Fire” reminded me of an article I read a few years ago about Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness.”

Would it bring you relief if a doctor told you, “Your brain is on fire.”? Well, Dr. Souhel Najjar,  brought hope to Susannah Cahalan’s parents when he basically told them their daughter’s brain was on fire and he diagnosed what was wrong with her.

“Cahalan was the 217th person in the world to be diagnosed with anti-NDMA-receptor encephalitis, a relatively treatable illness that causes swelling in the right lobe of the brain. Untreated, she may have sunk into coma and eventually died.” (Click here for full article)

Thankfully, Dr. Najjar diagnosed Cahalan and she recovered.  It is quite an amazing story.  Cahalan stated in the article, “We don’t understand how neurological autoimmune disorders work.” I hope scientists bridge the knowledge gap in this area quickly and the public becomes more aware.

For the majority of us, we don’t have a “brain on fire,” but what have you done to take care of your brain lately?

Sometimes, it is as simple as going to a movie, hanging out with friends, drinking a glass of wine, and having some fish for dinner.

I’ll break it down a little further below.

Movie: Hunger Games- Catching Fire (Galaxy Theater in Atascadero, CA)= De-stressing

Friends: Michelle, Elaine, Montse, and Jenny = Social engagement

Wine: (that can be consumed in the VIP Room at the movie theater) = Resveratrol

Ahi Salad (Guest House Grill)  = Omega-3

All these examples can help optimize brain health and prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s.

I hope you are finding simple ways to take care of yourself!  Your brain will thank you for it.


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