Brain on Fire - book and discussion event

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Susannah Cahalan and Professor Tom Solomon in discussion.

‌The Institute of Infection and Global Health organised an event at Waterstones Liverpool One on Wednesday 28 August which saw ‌New York Times bestselling author Susannah Cahalan discuss her book Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness alongside the Institute's Professor Tom Solomon. 

Susannah suffered from hallucinations, paranoia, seizures and violent psychosis before being diagnosed with a rare form of Encephalitis - an inflammation of the brain. She was only the 217th recorded case of anti-NMDA-Receptor Autoimmune Encephalitis and Brain on Fire is the harrowing story of her experience. Tom and Susannah discussed the book and explored what it is like from both a patient and doctor perspective to experience and manage the condition.

Susannah is an ambassador for the Encephalitis Society, a UK charity that aims to improve the quality of life of people affected directly and indirectly by Encephalitis, and Tom is the Chair of its Professional Advisory Panel. All ticket proceeds from the event were donated to the charity.

The event was well attended and the audience included clinicians, Encephalitis Society members, fans of the book and interested members of the public. Many people stayed behind at the end to chat to Susannah and Tom further, and a large queue formed for Susannah to sign copies of the newly released paperback edition of the book.

Earlier in the day Tom and Susannah also presented a lunchtime lecture aimed specifically at clinicians at The Walton Centre, a major neurology hospital in Liverpool. “Both events worked really well, and we’ve had some really positive feedback that people found them interesting and enjoyable,” commented Tom.

The Institute is currently leading a 5-year NIHR funded study that aims to better understand and improve the outcomes for patients with Encephalitis.  Visit for more information about this research.

Brain on Fire book cover