A New View of the Brain: Linking Our Physical and Mental Health
with Donna Jackson Nakazawa
This talk opens a new doorway into understanding the link between trauma, chronic stress, and our physical and mental health. Participants will delve into the latest science on how trauma and toxic stress affect the brain, behavior, immune system, and the stress-response in ways that can shape individuals’ health for good or for ill across the lifespan.
The learner will come to understand: how powerful immune cells in the brain crosstalk with the body; the way in which our brain dances with ever-changing cues in our environment as to whether we are safe, or not safe; a framework for why this processes can lead to powerful epigenetic changes; and how chronic stress and trauma generate neural changes that can lead to mental health disorders, addiction, and cognitive decline.
This presentation leaves learners with the understanding that the brain is forever plastic: with proper interventions we can turn bad epigenetics into good epigenetics, and help promote resiliency. Finally, this talk sets forth new hope for addressing brain-related disorders and promoting brain health, and offers a radically reconceived picture of human well-being; one which helps us to better address and promote individual, familial, and community flourishing.
Donna is an award-winning science journalist, author of six books, and an internationally-recognized speaker whose work explores the intersection of neuroscience, immunology, and human emotion. Her newest book, The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine was named one of the best books of 2020 by Wired magazine. Donna’s other books include Childhood Disrupted and The Last Best Cure. She is also the creator and founder of the trauma healing program, Your Healing Narrative: Write-to-Heal With Neural Re-Narrating™, an online narrative writing course for educators, practitioners, and individuals.
Her writing has appeared in Wired, The Boston Globe, Stat, The Washington Post and Health Affairs. She has appeared on The Today Show and NPR and is a regular speaker at universities, including the 2020 Harvard Division of Science Library Series, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Arizona. Her next book, which will be published in 2022 by Random House, Girls on the Edge: The New Science that Explains Why Our Daughters Are Struggling—and What Will Help Them Thrive, looks at today’s growing female adolescent mental health crisis, and examines how trauma affects the female brain and body.