Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind (Lipska) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for THE NEUROSCIENTIST WHO LOST HER MIND … then take off on your own:

1. When Barbara Lipska's symptoms began with the day her right hand disappeared at the keyboard and her colleagues' faces disappeared in a staff meeting, how do you think her intimate knowledge of the brain as a neuroscientist affected her respons?

2. Talk about the many ways in which Lipska's disease caused changes in her behavior. Why did it take so long for her to recognize the alteration in her personality?

3. How did Lipska's illness affect her family? If you were a friend, or especially a family member, how would you have responded to those new, unpleasant traits?

4. Lipska has residual guilt about her insensitive behavior. Do you think it possible that she will ever come to terms with that guilt? What would you say to her?

5. Has reading this memoir given you new knowledge or insights into the workings of the human brain, especially the frontal and parietal cortex? What do you find most interesting about our brains in terms of how they work—and at times don't work?

6. Lipska says that mental illness is a brain disease, not a matter of weakness or lack of will power. What is the state of scientific knowledge about the causes and effects of mental illness? How much remains unknown?

7. Have you had personal experience with mental illness—either someone in your family or a close friend?

8. Lipska wonders whether or not she is a "survivor." Why does she question the degree with which she meets the definition? Do you think she's a survivor?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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