lauren paige kennedy
Here's my cover story on "60 Minutes" star Lesley Stahl for Brain & Life magazine (formerly Neurology Now). In it I reveal Stahl's personal quest to get a correct medical diagnosis for her husband, the screenwriter Aaron Latham, whose unusual trajectory of Parkinson's disease defied easy categorization. The ace reporter also applied her investigative skills toward treating his symptoms, researching innovative therapies including boxing and deep brain stimulation. The most rewarding thing about interviewing this renowned broadcast journalist? She wrote an email saying I did a "first-rate job telling" her and Latham's story, followed by this: "I like the way you wove the experts in with our personal story—kind of like a 60 Minutes piece!!" (Her exclamation points, not mine!) READ MORE.
Take note: music really does soothe the soul—and the body and mind, as well. Music therapy has been shown to improve a wide range of physical symptoms caused by everything from Alzheimer's disease to asthma attacks. See my story on pg. 17 of the digital edition of WebMD Magazine's July/August issue. READ MORE.
As many as half of all American tweens and teens are not getting their full and recommended roster of vaccinations, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Here's the lowdown of what they need, and when, as seen on pg. 30 in the July issue of WebMD Magazine. READ MORE.
The CDC just announced suicides have increased by 30% in many states since 1999. In light of two shocking suicides this week (Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain), I'd like to share this story I just published with WebMD on rising rates of depression among women between 1952 and 2011. While in this specific study suicide rates mainly held steady among participants of both genders, there was a marked spike of depression among women from the 1990s on—and this higher plateau has held steady ever since. Researchers can only speculate why this is, musing that seismic shifts in gender roles in the 1970s and '80s, coupled with rising rates of single motherhood and the burdens of the "second shift," may be at play. Could there be gender differences to explore in the CDC findings, too? (See pg. 13 of June's digital edition.) READ MORE.
Here's my WebMD Magazine June cover story with "The Seagull" star Annette Bening! The award-winning actress and I chatted at length about the challenges of aging in and out of Hollywood, how authenticity is her acting mantra, what motherhood means to her, and how her elderly parents are amazing role models for loving relationships, longevity, and good health. See page 34 of the digital and print editions, out now. READ MORE.
Today I interview Hollywood It Girl and funny lady Tiffany Haddish, hilarious star of The Last OG and Night School, and best-selling author of The Last Black Unicorn. We're going to talk about overcoming childhood adversity, chasing your dreams, perseverance, and why laughter makes for the best medicine. It's for an upcoming cover story; I'll post it when it goes live! Watch this space.
Paper or plastic? There is no clear-cut or easy answer. But when you do the research, and interview the scientists who devote their lives to studying the effects of toxic waste and plastic pollutants on our environment, most tend to lean one way. Below, you'll find my response to a recent editorial posted in The Pelhams-Plus that argued (I believe incorrectly) how paper bags are more environmentally destructive than plastic ones. In my original letter I included links to back up every fact and assertion I presented, but they were not included on the live post. So I'm sharing the letter here, links included, for anyone who would like to fact-check for themselves.
I just conducted the most fascinating and informative interview with pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris, MD, author of the new book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. We spoke at length about how childhood trauma—defined through the ACE study as physical, emotional and sexual abuse; neglect, parental separation or divorce; and exposure to addiction, mental illness, or domestic violence in the home—eventually plays out physically in our bodies in adulthood. Research shows there's a direct correlation between having an increased risk of developing seven out of the 10 top diseases that kill Americans, from cancer to cardiovascular disease, with higher exposure to childhood adversity. That's because chronic stress in childhood upends our bodies' normal fight-or-flight stress response; it can no longer normally regulate itself, instead bombarding us with cortisol that is too persistent, often inappropriate, and, ultimately, health-damaging. Cannot wait to share this story for WebMD. Watch this space.
Troubling new research reveals just how little most of us know about mental health problems—and how best to treat them. Here's my discussion with the medical director of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), who separates fact from fiction and offers guidance for treating depression and other common mental health disorders. See pgs. 14–15 in the digital edition of the May issue of WebMD Magazine.