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Dr Suzanne O'Sullivan has been a consultant in neurology since 2004, first working at The Royal London Hospital and now as a consultant in clinical neurophysiology and neurology at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and for a specialist unit based at the Epilepsy Society. In that role she has developed an expertise in working with patients with psychogenic disorders alongside her work with those suffering with physical diseases such as epilepsy. Suzanne's book about psychosomatic illness, It's All in Your Head, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize in 2016.
Pauline first became ill when she was fifteen. What seemed to be a urinary infection became joint pain, then life-threatening appendicitis. After a routine operation Pauline lost all the strength in her legs. Shortly afterwards, convulsions started. But Pauline's tests are normal: her symptoms seem to have no physical cause whatsoever. This may be an extreme case, but Pauline is not alone. As many as a third of people visiting their GP have symptoms that are medically unexplained. In most, an emotional root is suspected which is often the last thing a patient wants to hear and a doctor to say.
'I loved it. She is in my view the best science writer around - a true descendant of Oliver Sacks' Sathnam Sanghera, author of The Boy with the Topknot The brain is the most complex structure in the universe. In Brainstorm the Wellcome Prize-winning author of It's All in Your Head uncovers the most eye-opening symptoms medicine has to offer. 'Powerfully life-affirming... Brainstorm is testament to O'Sullivan's unshowy clarity of thought and her continued marvelling at the mysteries of the brain' Guardian Brainstorm examines the stories of people whose symptoms are so strange even their doctor struggles to know how to solve them. A man who sees cartoon characters running across the room; a teenager who one day arrives home with inexplicably torn clothes; a girl whose world turns all Alice in Wonderland; another who transforms into a ragdoll whenever she even thinks about moving. The brain is the most complex structure in the universe, and neurologists must puzzle out life-changing diagnoses from the tiniest of clues - it's the ultimate in medical detective work. In this riveting book, one of the UK's leading neurologists takes you with her as she follows the trail of her patients' symptoms: feelings of deja vu lead us to a damaged hippocampus; spitting and fidgeting to the right temporal lobe; fear of movement to a brain tumour; a missed heart beat to the limbic system. It's a journey that will open your eyes to the unfathomable intricacies of the brain, and the infinite variety of human capacity and experience.