When her condition became nearly catatonic, Cahalan was hospitalized on the epilepsy ward of the NYU Langone Medical Center. For several weeks, numerous specialists studied her, her test results, and her continually declining behavior. No one came up with any good answers.
Eventually a real-life Dr. House, Dr. Najjar took her case. Through a simple exercise during his examination of her, where he asked Cahalan to draw a clock face, he discovered what he thought was wrong. The neurologist told her family that her brain was on fire. Her body was attacking her brain.
After a brain biopsy that positively concluded that Cahalan was suffering from anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis. A series of drugs were started immediately with slow results that eventually returned Cahalan to her former self.
Though she has no memory of her month in the hospital when she was at her worst, Cahalan has recovered. She realizes that her body could attack her brain again, at least now she knows the symptoms and how to deal with it.