— One spring morning in 2015, Barbara Lipska got up as usual, dyed her hair and went for a jog in her suburban Virginia neighborhood.
But when she returned from a much longer than expected run, her husband Mirek was completely taken aback.
"I was lost in my own neighborhood," Lipskasays. "The hair dye that I put in my hair that morning dripped down my neck. I looked like a monster when I came back home."
Although she now lucidly recalls that moment, at the time she was oblivious to her unusual appearance and behavior.
Lipska studies the neuroscience of mental illness and brain development at the National Institute of Mental Health. In her work she's examined the molecular structure of the brains of people who were so afflicted with schizophrenia or other disorders that they took their own lives.
And for two months in 2015, she developed similar symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia — only to learn they were the effects of cancerous tumors, growing in her brain.
A melanoma that had spread there caused the scientist to have to personally contend with the kind of ordeals and anxieties encountered by those whose brains she'd studied in the safe confines of her lab.
Lipska survived and, with journalist Elaine McArdle, has written a book about her illness and recovery called The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Discovery
Full Article: Npr.org