A straight-talking guide to neurological diseases and disorders, Is My Brain Broken? offers clear profiles of various disorders and showcases the personal essays of young people who have survived—and often thrived—with the medical issues in question. Accessible to both adults and children, this unique book is most effective when it follows its own stated technique.
Deborah Lee received her MD at Mayo Medical School and completed her residency in child neurology at Mayo. Since then, she has worked with many young people afflicted with neurological disorders. She brings her experience to bear in this book, which is filled with personal essays by selected patients. The original essays, written in 2000, are followed by essays written by the same patients in 2014 and 2015, chronicling how these young people are doing today.
This personal and longitudinal view provides a user-friendly lens into the minds of children impacted by disorders as diverse as migraines and Parkinson’s disease. Chapters end with takeaways for adults, which summarize the typical emotions felt by patients, and the best ways to comfort and support these children. This format makes Is My Brain Broken? accessible to a wide range of readers, from young patients to their parents, siblings, and teachers.
Is My Brain Broken? does not, however, always follow its own format. The chapter on tics and Tourette’s syndrome, for example, doesn’t include any personal essays at all. Additionally, the number and gender balance of included essays differ widely between sections: The chapter on seizures and epilepsy profiles four female patients, while the chapter on brain tumors only profiles one patient, a male. The length and depth of the essays also run a wide range, and many don’t actually include a follow-up essay from 2015.
Is My Brain Broken? could be improved with a more consistent format. Nonetheless, it offers a unique approach to understanding neurological disorders and diseases, providing a useful resource for families with children impacted by these challenging issues.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.