On-campus movie event shows story of medical marvel
“Brain on Fire” explores the perplexing medical struggles of Susannah Cahalan, a 21-year-old New York Post journalist, played by actress Chloë Grace Moretz.
Based on the true story of Susannah Cahalan, “Brain on Fire” not only focuses on the mysterious declining health of the main character, but also the constant battle she faces against a health care system that seems all too quick to give an easy diagnosis.
After suffering from a seizure, she is taken to the hospital by her boyfriend Stephen (Thomas Mann), where doctors quickly settle on the diagnoses that hard work, stress and new environment are the reasons behind Cahalan’s medical complications. After being informed that the seizure has been accompanied with bipolar episodes and hallucinations, a new team of doctors decide that all symptoms point to a psychological issue, even after she becomes stuck in a catatonic state.
If it were not for the advocacy of her parents, she would have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital and would never have met Dr. Souhel Najjar.
Najjar studies her case and eventually realizes that the reason she is suffering from various medical issues and tests seem to come up empty is because she is suffering from Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, which caused her right parietal lobe to be inflamed or “on fire.”
The difficult cure seemed to pale in comparison to the battle that Cahalan and her loved ones faced.
After recovering and returning to her job as a journalist for the New York Post, she wrote about her experience, hoping that it will not only bring awareness but help many other people who may be misdiagnosed because MRI and CT scans didn’t detect a brain “on fire.”