Susannah Cahalan's harrowing medical trauma sounds like something straight out of the TV medical series House. A healthy young woman is sitting calmly at home when suddenly her arms whip straight out and stiffen like a mummy's, her eyes roll back, and foam spurts out of her mouth. For the next month, Cahalan, a 2007 WUSTL graduate and New York Post reporter, would experience not only seizures but also strange, terrifying hallucinations and paranoid fixations—symptoms that led to the conclusion that she was psychotic. Fortunately for Cahalan, a real "Dr. House" solved the medical mystery. Her recovery is another fascinating aspect of the story, recounted in her book Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness.
At 5 p.m. Monday, February 18, Cahalan will give a reading and commentary in Simon Hall's May Auditorium on the Danforth Campus. Following her presentation, which is co-sponsored by the University Libraries, several WUSTL faculty will join Cahalan for a discussion of her experience, including Lenard Green, professor of psychology; Rebecca Lester, professor of anthropology; and Eugene Rubin, professor of psychiatry.
The event is free and open to the public. For information on this and other Assembly Series programs, visit assemblyseries.wustl.edu or call (314) 935-4620.