She made a career out of studying the brain. Then hers veered off course.


#TIA – The ironic story of a serious brain researcher who was studying that organ before her own went off course.

“The walls inside Barbara Lipska’s office at the National Institute of Mental Health are plastered with race plaques: first-, second-, third-place awards. Lipska, 67, only started running in her 40s, but because she does nothing halfway, in short order she was doing marathons and triathlons, while commuting to work in Bethesda, Md., on her bike, a total of 40 miles a day. A decisive, fast-moving woman — capable, her boss tells me, of accomplishing the workload of three or four people — Lipska directs NIMH’s Human Brain Collection Core. “We might get a brain today,” she says hopefully on a Wednesday in late February.

When people die after suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, opioid abuse or some other mental disorder, Lipska’s team works with local medical examiners to collect their brains. There is a sense of reverence when one comes in. Each brain is a clue in an effort to understand mental illness, which is the subject Lipska has spent her life studying — including, in a roundabout and unexpected way, when her own mind went dramatically wrong three years ago.”

Read more at The Washington Post