Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Last Best Cure

by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Recently, a good friend recommended “The Last Best Cure” (LBC) to me. I was a bit skeptical of books that might prove to be “fluff.”  As I read it, however, I was impressed how relevant it is to the lives of so many of my patients who are chronically ill.

One of the book’s key themes is that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) play an important role in determining our health as adults.  LBC is Donna Nakazawa’s personal story.  She is a talented science journalist who brings a technical background to the subject while, at the same time, infuses the story with memorable personal anecdotes.

The subject of ACEs is an important one.  An early investigator was Vincent Filetti whose work explored the impact of ACEs on the health of adults who were patients at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.  A more accessible place to read about ACEs is Paul Tough’s New Yorker article, “The Poverty Clinic.”

Here is an interview with Ms. Jackson that appeared in PBS’s online magazine.  Her journey back to health began with meeting a remarkable Hopkin’s physician, Anastasia Rowland Seymour, director of Johns Hopkins University's Program in Integrative Medicine.

If you are a health care provider, a patient, or a family member of someone with a chronic illness, LBC will be a helpful, well-written and welcome guide.

Virginia Tanji, the head librarian at John A. Burns School of Medicine, recommended this book to me.  She writes: "I read this book and recommended it to both the book clubs I belong too.  It resonated with both groups. I think we were inspired by how the author achieved "health" via meditation, yoga, and acupuncture...and the insight provided by the ACE connection to her chronic conditions.  I could definitely relate and personally, I always say what keeps me sane and healthy is writing a journal and qigong and tai chi!, which for me is the equivalent of meditation and yoga.