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Trouble In Mind: Stories from a Neuropsychologist's Casebook, OUP, New York, 2012; Scribe Publications, Melbourne, 2013

In Trouble In Mind, neuropsychologist Jenni Ogden, author of Fractured Minds, transports the reader into the world of some of her most memorable neurological patients as she explores with compassion, insight, and vivid description the human side of brain damage. These are tales of patients who, as the result of stroke, brain tumor, car crash, or neurological disease, begin thinking and behaving strangely, and with their loved ones’ support embark on the long journey to recovery, acceptance of disability and sometimes, death. There is Luke, the gang member who loses his speech but finds he can still sing his favorite blues number “Trouble in Mind,” and HM, who teaches the world about memory and becomes the most studied single case in medical history. You will meet Julian, who misplaces his internal map of the human body, and Melody, a singer who risks losing her song when she undergoes brain surgery to cure her epilepsy. Then there is Kim with a severe head injury, and Sophie who has just enough time to put her house in order before Alzheimer’s dementia steals her insight. For these and the other patients whose stories are told in this book, the struggle to understand their disordered minds and disobedient bodies takes extraordinary courage, determination, and patience. For the health professionals and researchers working with these patients, the ethical and emotional challenges can be as demanding as the intellectual and treatment decisions they make daily.

Trouble In Mind is written in an accessible narrative style that is both accurate and intimate. It will be enjoyed by readers – whether students, researchers, or professionals in the health and neurosciences, patients with neurological disorders and their families, or general readers -- who want to learn more about brain disorders and the doctors who care for those who suffer them.


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CHAPTER TITLES for US Edition of Trouble In Mind (Australian edition is the same except for spelling(!) and Chapter 1; this appears as Appendices at the end of the book.)

1 Backstory: The Basics Of Clinical Neuropsychology
2 Lost For Words: Two Tales Of Aphasia
3 Left Out, Right In! The Artist With Hemineglect
4 The CEO Has Left The Building: Control And The Frontal Lobes
5 The Man Who Misplaced His Body
6 The Mind-Blind Motorcyclist
7 HM and Elvis: A Special Memory
8 The Singer Or The Song: A Pact With Epilepsy
9 The Amazing Woman: Half A Brain Will Do The Job!
10 Just A Few Knocks On The Head: The Concussion Conundrum
11 How To Get There: The Far Side Of Severe Brain Injury
12 Shaken Up: Taking Control Of Parkinson’s Disease
13 Hard, Ain’t It Hard: A Family’s Fight With Huntington’s Disease
14 The Long Goodbye: Coming To Terms With Alzheimer’s Disease

I wrote this book in response to the many requests I received for a case-study book without all the theory and references; just the human stories. As one college teacher told me, her undergraduate students love the case studies in Fractured Minds but many find some of the technical details and theory over their heads. As a text book, Fractured Minds isn’t marketed to the lay reader, yet I have had many a reader – family members of Alzheimer’s disease or head injured patients for example – who have read and enjoyed Fractured Minds and suggested I write a simpler version that focuses on the human stories with less scientific theory and detail. So this is that book; dubbed by OUP a “sequel” to Fractured Minds as it contains many of the same case studies but is written in a way that falls somewhere between the styles of Oliver Sacks – my patients have disorders similar to his – and Atul Gawande – in that in telling the patient’s story, the health professional’s feelings and thoughts are also exposed. In these very human stories my aim is to convey my experiences of how these courageous, funny, sad, generous and determined people – not only the patients but their families and friends as well – have coped with the extraordinary stress of a brain disorder. As you read these stories, through the experiences of the patients and the people who interact with them – families, health professionals, and researchers – you will, almost inadvertently, learn a lot about the different disorders and their treatments! For me, writing this has almost been like writing a memoir of that large part of my life where I was privileged to get to know these amazing people and learn from them about living – and sometimes dying – and remembering to stop and smell the roses.

One of the people I write about in Trouble In Mind -- and also in Fractured Minds -- is the famous amnesiac, HM, who died in 2008. See below a video about him and his contribution to neuroscience, even after his death.