Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Talk Description

Trauma, Chronic Pain and Illness, and How to Heal

Over the past decade, scientists have discovered that childhood trauma often leads to lifelong struggles with mental and physical health and chronic pain. Early chronic stressors shape our biology in ways that pre-determine our adult health. In other words, your biography becomes your biology.

In this talk, award-winning science journalist and author Donna Jackson Nakazawa blends cutting-edge science with what she learned while interviewing nearly fifty patients and researchers in order to shine a light on how the emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives as adults, but affects our physical health. Scientists now know on a bio-chemical level exactly how parents’ chronic fights, divorce, death in the family, being bullied or growing up with a hypercritical, alcoholic, or a mentally ill parent can leave permanent, physical “fingerprints” on our brains. These traumas can lead to life-altering adult illnesses such as chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and depression.

Nakazawa also lays the groundwork for understanding how early adversity affects how well we relate to others in adulthood, how successful our love relationships will be, and how well we will nurture our own children. And, she also lays out a path for healing, carefully explaining how you can reset your biology. In this talk you will learn how you or someone you know may have become locked in pain—and what you can do to finally heal, and claim the life you deserve.


Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning science journalist and public speaker, whose work explores the intersection between neuroscience, immunology, and the deepest inner workings of the human heart. Her most recent book, Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal (Atria Books / Simon & Schuster, 2015), examines the relationship between childhood adversity and adult physical health, and guides readers facing chronic illness toward healing and transformation.

Her other works include The Last Best Cure (Hudson Street Press / Penguin, 2013), in which she chronicles her year-long journey to unlock the restorative powers of the brain; The Autoimmune Epidemic (Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 2008, 2009), an investigation into the reasons behind today’s rising rates of autoimmune disease; and Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? (Perseus, 2003). Nakazawa lectures nationwide.

Visit Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s website