lauren paige kennedy
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.
I'm honored to be assigned the debut cover story on actress Sharon Stone for the newly renamed and rebranded Neurology Now Magazine, now called Brain & Life. Sharon and I talked at length a few months ago about her arduous recovery after a sudden and life-threatening brain hemorrhage that struck just as her marriage to newspaperman Phil Bronstein was falling apart. Not understanding she'd had a stroke, she didn't get help for three days, even as her symptoms grew more and more dangerous. Stone lived up to her fierce reputation during our interview: equal parts defiant and emotional, she both raged and cried while recalling her decade of slowly rebounding, even after losing it all: home, husband, custody to their adopted son, status in Hollywood, plum roles, financial security, and most important, her health. Now starring in a new Showtime series, she's back—and wants you to know she's better than ever. READ MORE.
I've interviewed more than 100 well-known people over the past two decades. I love talking one-on-one and holding a serious conversation with someone, and I never get nervous, no matter how famous my subject is — with one exception. When I interview a fellow reporter, and specifically a reporter who's renowned for interviewing others, I tend to sweat a little (and do my homework twice over). That's because I know I'm being graded even as I ask my questions. How will I do with "60 Minutes" anchor Lesley Stahl? I'll find out April 18. Watch this space.
Just interviewed a music therapist about the benefits of this individualized approach to treat a wide range of medical conditions, from brain injury to Alzheimer's disease. We chatted, too, about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, (D-Ariz.), and how she credits music therapy with helping her to regain the ability to speak after she was shot in the head by a gunman in 2011. Watch this space.
I spoke with a leading expert about the health impact of job loss, which affects far more than our bank accounts and emotional state. Our physical well-being is at stake, too. READ MORE on pg. 20 in the March issue of WebMD Magazine, out now.
My WebMD Magazine cover story with comedian Jim Gaffigan and his collaborator wife Jeannie Gaffigan is out today! In the new March issue, this loving, always laughing couple frankly discuss Jeannie's health scare last year after she was diagnosed with a tennis-ball-sized tumor growing inside her brain stem. She endured an emergency surgery, life-threatening post-op complications, and many months of battling back through physical therapy as Jim juggled their five children and a high-trajectory career. Now, she's thrilled to be writing, chasing after their kids, and cracking up her husband once again as he returns to the spotlight in the upcoming film Chappaquiddick. See pg. 35 in the digital edition. READ MORE.
About a year after the horror of Sandy Hook, I wrote this essay for Momtastic. It wasn't my first piece on gun control (and the spineless lawmakers who repeatedly choose profits and politics over our children's lives), nor would it be my last. Now, in the wake of the Valentine's Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, I'm posting it again, feeling stirrings of hope that the astounding and powerful swell of students all across the nation demanding change will succeed where we mothers, and even the parents of 20 murdered first-graders, did not. #NeverAgain!
Four-time Oscar nominee. One half of one of Hollywood's most enduring celebrity marriages. Mother to a transgendered son. Fierce feminist and Planned Parenthood advocate. Winner of Humanitarian honors. And star of one of my favorite films ever, Twentieth Century Women. Tomorrow I interview the supremely talented Annette Bening, who takes a turn as a faded actress in the upcoming The Seagull, based on Chekov's play, and who turns 60 this May. Watch this space.