Books

Brainstorm

Suzanne O'Sullivan

From the Wellcome Prize-winning author of It's All in Your Head

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 déjà 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.

Praise for It's All in Your Head

‘As addictive as a great box set, makes you rethink some of your closest relationships and wonder about some of the people you know best; and above all, like all truly great books, it is about love and compassion’ Satnam Sanghera, The Times

‘Remarkable… It should be on the reading list of every medical student’ P.D. Smith, Guardian

‘An extraordinary book... an important one too’ Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

‘Read this book’ British Medical Journal

It's All in Your Head

Suzanne O'Sullivan

WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 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.

We accept our hearts can flutter with excitement and our brows can sweat with nerves, but on this journey into the very real world of psychosomatic illness, Suzanne O'Sullivan finds the secrets we are all capable of keeping from ourselves.

Biography

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. She specialises in the investigation of complex epilepsy and also has an active interest in psychogenic disorders. Suzanne’s book about psychosomatic illness, It's All in Your Head, won both the Wellcome Book Prize and the Royal Society of Biology Book Prize.