The Last Best Cure

Welcome to my new website and blog. I’m excited to announce my upcoming book, The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, and My Life, to be released by Hudson Street Press on February 21st, 2013.

Writing this book has been a labor of love. For the past two years I’ve been following neuroscientists and pioneers in the brain-body field to learn everything I can about how we can activate powerful healing responses in our brain to help move toward wellness.

In many ways The Last Best Cure is the natural progression to my last book, The Autoimmune Epidemic; the next chapter in my ongoing search to help the many readers who’ve reached out to me over the years in the hopes of finding healing even in the face of chronic health and life challenges. If you’re reading this, that may well include you.

Look around my website to find out more about my journey to find The Last Best Cure. Let me know what you think. And if you will, tell me, what do you think about the idea that our brain might be our last best cure? Have you been wondering about that too? I’d love to hear your stories, your questions, your fears, your hopes.

55 thoughts on “The Last Best Cure

  1. Dear Donna,

    I have just finished the chapter titled Shedding. Beautiful. It has taken me months to get this far into the book. I am so tired most of the time, but every page has been a sweet relief. I live with Type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s and all of the complications that coincide with those diseases. Your book gives a voice to the cry of my heart. I picked it up “by accident” at my local library. As a funny side note and as a tribute to the auto-immune character, I just got a notice in the mail that I owe the library $32 for failing to return the book. I’ve just been too physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted to orchestrate a simple book return! I am secretly pleased, however, to now own the book and I use the library fine receipt as my book-marker. It reminds me of how simple tasks are not so simple for an individual stuck in a negative feedback loop. I used to beat myself up for overdue fines and all of the other things that I did “wrong”, but now I am realizing that there is a reason for my chaos. My childhood was chaos. It was traumatic and stressful and painful and frightening. Your story is giving me hope. I could not wait until I finished the book to let you know how it is giving me a profound sense of peace and confidence in who I am underneath the dis-ease. I look forward to the next chapters with great anticipation! The joy is being restored not only to myself, but to my 8 year old son, my 14 year old son, and my husband as well.

    Thank you,


    1. Michele, what a lovely comment, you brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful that the book “gives a voice to the cry of your heart.” Andl that the pages of the book — no matter how long it may take for you to make your way through them — feel like a healing gift. Nothing could make me happier. I wish you profound healing, for you, your mind, your body, for your family, for your heart. And, fyi, my next book, which I’ll announce this fall, will be looking at the relationship between chaotic childhoods and adult illness. Thank you again for taking the time to reach out. You gave my heart a lift.

  2. I am a voracious reader who just does not watch TV, consequently I am always looking for new books. I rarely stop in the self help books, but your book was on a stand for all to see. Initially, I dismissed it as another ‘woe am I’ narrative. When I passed by it the second time, my intuition told me to try it. The book is solid gold. .You have set me on a new path despite my age, I want to change and find joy and peace within. I am buying a copy for my daughter and daughter in law. Both are middle age and suffer from severe debilitating headaches and life threatening allergies. My daughter suffered growing in a divorced household. I told my son, who in a PhD professor in industrial psychology, and he ordered a copy for himself.
    Florence Schovill Shin’s books have helped me immensely, and you have given the science to back her up and a practical way to employ her teachings.

    1. Thanks Dolores, so happy to hear that the book speaks to you! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I hope that you and your family find it helps on the journey (which it sounds like you’ve been on for a long while now); how lovely of you to give it to your “kids.” That’s the best compliment I could ever get.

  3. Donna, What a remarkable journey… And the telling of it could only have been so well worded by one who has ” been there “.
    It’s a great gift to be able to ” translate ” scientific research and findings
    into ” plain English “.
    I found much in the book that I have experienced in my own life although my healing was of the Psychological kind, somehow what was a textbook hellish childhood didn’t lead to physical ailments, but boy what an inner hell… The depression could actually be felt physically as an ache in the chest that wouldn’t go away….until I decided that
    I’d just let it be there…. and consciously watch it….( basically , though there is more to it but not much )
    Of course I had help from a profound Teaching I came across by sheer happenstance… or was it ?
    I could go on as it is such pleasure to converse on these subjects with one who has travelled a similar journey, but quickly a couple of points…
    You dedicated a year to your experiment and stuck to it Lest anyone think there is such a thing as a Quick fix or a miracle cure ( although a year is not so long in one’s entire lifetime and some of the changes could easily be viewed as ” miraculous “. In the end, time is the only resistance… )
    Great of you to point out that the journey continues .
    I was told long ago that all healing begins with the removal of the ” state of emergency “.
    Perhaps you can relate to this statement.
    It also seems that we only begin to truly work when the pain becomes unbearable so perhaps we can view that very pain as an ally…
    And yes I was shocked at a certain point to actually remember that ache of depression and realize I hadn’t experienced it in I don’t know how long… couldn’t tell when it left or where it went ! It was fun to read your description of a similar experience.
    And lastly , it is and you make it clear that it is ” work “… but how worthwhile and a great help to those in pain.
    Very best wishes.
    Jacques Bessin

    1. Thanks Jacques, for your beautiful comment. Yes, the journey is always continuing, every day is a continuation of the path, with ups and downs along the way. There is a difference between being “cured” and the lifelong process of “healing.” (I just wrote about this for PBS’s online magazine, Next Avenue:)

      And I love your comment:
      I was told long ago that all healing begins with the removal of the ” state of emergency.”

      I have found this to be true. As long as we live as if we are facing a state of emergency in our day to day lives, it is hard to go inside, and be quiet, to listen to the stillness and stop ruminating and reacting, and to discern what will return us to a natural starting point of well-being and healing, to hear and attune ourselves to what is required for us to begin to heal, as best we can while facing real life challenges. We have to recommit to that journey (I know I do!) every day.

      Glad to hear from you Jacques, thanks for letting me know the book meant something to you, that means a lot to me.

  4. HI Arline, your comment brought tears to my eyes. You’ve been through a lot, as a woman and as a mom, and it sounds like you are celebrating life with all of its ups and downs and lessons in between. I LOVE your phrase “Mind Healing.” Thank you for taking the ride with me… means the world to hear the book helped you! Thanks for your kind words.

  5. Hi,
    I know it wasn’t by chance that I picked-up your book at our local library. My readings and beliefs didn’t catch up with what you had written until I had gotten almost all the way through with your book, “The Last Best Cure”. I’m a 63 year old silent ADD suffer. Also, in 1983 I had a son that was thought to have hydrocephalus, after a year of neurologist’s visit it was determined he had a genetic defect and was missing a third of his brain in the back portion of his head. He turned out to have very few major medical problems (the plasticity of the human brain is phenomenal) and is a fantastic young adult. Since that incident and because of my problems related to ADD, I have done some research on the brain. Tonight, after I read another chapter of your book my brain had a collision in it about how mind blowing this idea is “Mind Healing”. WOW!!!
    Thank you so much for your persistence in working thru this process of your healing and sharing your knowledge about it. It will be a silent revolution for a while until it is a mainstream fact. You are be able to celebrate all of the victories of everyone you have touched through a universe with a multitude lots more positive energy.
    I hope you live a long and joyful life…the joyful bike ride was a pleasure to read and rejoice with you as I was on the bike ride with you.
    Thank you again


  6. It’s like the words come right off the pages. I have said those EXACT words to myself. Sometimes I have to retread a line or close the book, it is that powerful to my soul. Someone understands what I am feeling. I am on this journey . Donna is taking me to and opening doors to my healing. I am so grateful for this book. It has changed my life forever.

    1. What a beautiful comment — means so much to me. THANK YOU, Mary. I am honored to hear that my words are helping to open the door to healing.

  7. Hello Donna,
    Your story/interview was very powerful (as heard on WPR w/ Veronica Ruchert 3/1) so I ordered the book right away (from my Independant Local Bookseller :). Very eager to read it and pass it around to help others. I appreciate that you have written your story with extensive research into the brain and healing so that others are helped but so very sorry about what began your journey (the passing of your father due to medical error). I am quite certain that medical negligence/error contributed to my 81 yr old mother’s passing 11 years ago after a 5mo hospital stay & quite frankly will never “get over it.” Also my father, passing in ’93 after a brain stem stroke kept him in ICU 3 weeks. So, with a sister (63 yrs old) in a hospital CCU back east as I write, now 2 weeks for what should have been a 5-7 day stay, recovering from “complications” after heart valve repair surgery, I am back in “that place” once again. Her family updates me daily. Hopeful that yet another loved one actually recovers and is able to leave the hospital. I also apent a month in the hospital (in the room!) in Manila, PI with my older brother while he recovered from a TBI and subsequent surgery. I am currently his caregiver & POA.
    Things feel a bit overwhelming at the moment but being aware of what you spoke so eloquently about last week truly helps and I thank you. It was an awsome interview!
    All best, Donna.

    1. Alicia, Thank you for sharing this. You have a lot of experience with traumatic events, and I hope THE LAST BEST CURE helps you to live with more well-being, as you navigate so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview and I hope you enjoy the book! Let me know!

  8. I just picked up your book and am so looking forward to it. I heard you on WI Public Radio and at first was nervous that you were going to be another new agey person telling me that my stinkin’ thinkin’ caused me to get sick. I was glad I stayed tuned in.

    I really do believe in the power of the mind to change the course of disease. I was diagnosed with an aneurysm and then M.S. at the same time. Within 2 years, I developed a pulmonary embolism after a hysterectomy and then I ended up with thyroid cancer. As symptoms of Lupus started to appear, I knew I needed to 1. have less stress in my life and 2. respond differently to stress in general. I left a high stress job as a domestic violence advocate and while I am currently in a stressful job because it is local government and political, I now have better coping skills. Breath work has changed my life as well as trying to maintain a positive outlook. My work these days has been to become more non-reactive. I so look forward to reading your book now.

    Thank you!
    Kathy F

    1. Hi Kathy, I’m so happy to hear from you. Glad you were listening to the radio interview for WI Public Radio. And I love the line “stinkin’ thinkin’.” You are so right: nowhere in this new understanding of neuroscience, mindstate and wellness, is there room to blame anyone for being sick or not making themselves “well.” Finding The Last Best Cure is about improving how we feel, how we react to the world around us and to the emotional and physical stressors and challenges we face, how “inflammatory” we are — and that, in turn, can help our physical state of inflammation, and, at very least how much joy we feel in our daily life. Sounds like you are already on the path — and have been through a lot. Bows to you for your courage and fortitude, I am always humbled when I hear a story like yours. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the book, please keep me posted! (Oh! and if you “LIKE” my author facebook page you’ll get entered in a drawing for a free book on March 15, and be kept in the loop on any readings or appearances.) Thanks for reaching out Kathy!

      1. I went out and ‘liked’ your author page right after this.

        You know, my breath work came about in an interesting way. When they found my aneurysm, it was in a spot that could not be operated on. The neurosurgeon in Madison told me that they were about 2 years away from having the surgery approved (endovascular stenting/coiling behind right eye). When I asked what I was supposed to do as I wait for the surgery fearing that the aneurysm could burst at any moment, my neurosurgeon said, ‘All you can do is breathe.’ You see most aneurysms burst when people are lifting things, holding breath, pushing against so the key for me for two years was to breathe through everything…exercise, pain, even joy. I never realized how much I held my breath. We hold our breath the moment we get bad news and sometimes when we get good news. We hold our breath when experiencing pain and sometimes pleasure. So, my only prescription to keep me alive with a ticking time bomb of an aneurysm was to just breathe through everything. Two years later, the already giant aneurysm had doubled in size but the surgery was now available to be done. My neuro/endo surgeon commented that he was surprised it had not burst with such growth. I told him it was because I learned to breathe. 🙂

        Thanks for your research. I really look forward to the book and will check back in when done.

        1. This is really beautiful to hear. Thank you for sharing it with us! Means a lot to hear this from you Kathy. Very meaningful.

  9. The excerpt leaves me wanting more…such an intriguing and exciting idea. I can’t wait to read the whole book! I think we all know people who are searching for a better answer to the chronic pain and exhaustion that cripples their lives; this book makes me hopeful. Congratulations Donna!

  10. This book will surely open the door to many people who have tried to find help through conventional medicine, but were unable to achieve it. Your books have made people think, to research other alternatives, to ask questions, and to never give up. Thank you.

  11. Paige, thanks for sharing your story, and for your kind words. It means so much to know that The Autoimmune Epidemic has been so helpful, and I hope that The Last Best Cure will be the next step of the journey toward healing for your husband, your neighbors and all who read it. Tools to help move from a half-life to a whole-life, from a maybe-life to a yes-life.

  12. My husband suffers from MS / chronic demyelination and is always fatigued and in pain. I just saw your blog about your friend “Gail” and it really hit home. My husband too feels like he is living a “half life” or “maybe life” and I am sure this exacerbates his pain / fatigue. It sounds like your new book has some life-changing answers that address the mind-body complication of chronic disease, just like your previous book had life-changing answers as to the possible physical causes of his condition. In fact, your last book was so helpful we bought a copy for a neighbor who told us in passing that he had a rare autoimmune disease that almost killed him. Both he and his wife read your last book and found it incredibly helpful because the average person knows so little about these conditions. So we all look forward to the release of this new book and the answers it will undoubtably provide about healing these conditions. Thanks for all of your hard work in answering the questions so many of us have about autoimmune conditions, physical health and well-being. You are an inspiration for many. Thanks PM

  13. Donna,
    I am anxiously awaiting you latest book, The Last Best Cure. Us western trained docs are just beginning to understand and accept the mind-body connection and I thank you for sharing your story which will help us and our patients.
    Your fan,

    1. Thanks so much for your wonderful and encouraging comments! I so hope the book helps patients and doctors alike on the healing journey!

  14. Donna, I’m thrilled that your new book will be coming out next month! The Last Best Cure will be an incredible gift for us all!

  15. I am eagerly awaiting the release of your new book, The Last Best Cure. I appreciated your perspective in The Autoimmune Epidemic and think there is an incredible need for more discussion relating to nutrition and gut/brain health. I was fascinated by the stories in The Brain that Changes Itself and look forward to your connections and insight on this topic. I know myself and many others will continue to benefit from your work!

  16. Wendy, I so hope The Last Best Cure helps you further on your path! I know you have come a long way with your “Tiger in the Lifeboat.” It has been a joy to watch you get better and better! The Last Best Cure is the natural progression to where The Autoimmune Epidemic leaves off…

  17. It’s finally here! I’ve been waiting for the release of this book for a while. Many congratulations, Donna, on the in-depth research to develop another profound achievement. As you know, I searched for years to get answers to my own health issues. You were the one who helped educate me in areas that doctors could not, which I believe literally saved my life. For that, I am forever grateful. Your book The Autoimmune Epidemic was an eye-opener. Now I’m anxious to get The Last Best Cure and go to the next level of healing!

  18. So happy to receive info on your latest book! I have no tigers of my own, but as a former nurse in neurology, I have long been facinated by the mind/body connection, and can’t wait to read about your journey – and as a teacher, to share your experience with others who might benefit.

    1. Thanks Lori — so good to hear your voice! — I appreciate your support! Hoping to help everyone with their Tigers in the Lifeboat…

  19. Thanks Becky. I so hope that The Last Best Cure helps you on your journey to find joy and well-being even in the face of chronic pain and illness. I wrote it for people just like you. Please let me know what you think when you read it, and more than anything, I hope it helps to open the way. You’ve been through a lot.

  20. Thank you for posting an excerpt from your book. It is amazing to see how the mind and body are so closely related. Looking back on my life and the stressors that have come through life I can pinpoint the time where my fibromyalgia came to “life”. After 30 years of daily stress from a mentally ill father, an unplanned pregnancy, financial difficulties and 3 children born in quick succession something had to give. It was me. 15+ years later I am able to deal with my life with fibromyalgia but I can’t say I live life to the fullest. Too much pain and exhaustion. I look forward to reading your book and hoping for some practical advice on how to gain fullness of life again. Thank you for sharing your story, your research and your hope for those of us who suffer silently.

  21. Thanks, everyone, for your comments here, they mean so much to me. I’m so hopeful that The Last Best Cure will help make healing — and a greater sense of well-being — more possible for everyone, one patient, one reader, at a time. Can’t wait to hear what you all think of the book when it hits stores on February 21st! Meanwhile, as pubdate gets closer, I’m posting more on why I felt compelled as a science journalist to write The Last Best Cure, and why the research I uncovered matters to all of us. 44 days to go! Check out my Countdown Reasons on this blog roll, and let me know what you think!

  22. I truly believe that The Last Best Cure will change lives. Donna, your work is deeply moving, and I continue to refer people to The Autoimmune Epidemic. I recommended it yesterday, and again today. You have helped people one at a time, and your work has helped the wider community to have a broader understanding of autoimmune disease. Thank you for all your hard work..

  23. Fascinated by the mind & body connection that can go as far back as our childhood. I’m seeing more and more of these autoimmune diseases affecting family and friends that its worth looking into a different approach. Hopeful! Thank you.

  24. Your book, The Autoimmune Epidemic dramatically changed my perspective about living with these diseases and I’ve shared that with so many clients. I can’t wait to read your latest work. Bit by bit, this information given to patients and their healthcare practitioners can change our world. Thank you, Donna!

  25. Donna, I cannot wait to read your new book The Last Best Cure as I loved The Autoimmune Epidemic. I am an RN and have been treating myself with natural supplements and essential oils from Young Living. I have my life back and am interested in what you have to offer in your book. Rheumatologist that I have met with just want you to take their pharmaceuticals but have not been able to offer any other choices.. 🙁

  26. Thank you for all the truly wonderful feedback. When The Last Best Cure hits stores on Feb 21st, 5 winners will be selected at random to win a free copy! Good luck!

  27. Congratulations, Donna. Your beginning starts as a great novel, I can’t wait to turn the page and read about your revelations. You don’t need to enter me for a free one, I will buy it from my local Annapolis Bookstore! (And if you would like a venue for a book signing in my little neck of the woods, my place is yours as it was for your first one)

  28. Dr. Woodward C. Monte has pretty good evidence for what is causing the autoimmune, cardiovascular, MS, Alzhymers, cancer and several other epidemics of modern society. By “pretty good” I mean like Pretty Good Privacy was for encryption in 1991 – unbeatable. And for an initial Monte thought buster, note that the so-called autoimmune diseases can’t really be autoimmunity, because they do not remove all of the target tissue.

    His book “While Science Sleeps” is not perfect. The first paragraph and the first couple drawings are either unintelligible or misleading, and the important summary tables 5.2 & 5.3 and associated paragraphs are hard to follow because they presume the reader knows medical terminology. Mutations are caused more during the expansive germ cell division in males than by cosmic radiation exposure of females, the oft-used acronym DOC isn’t quite true, and acetaldehyde is almost certainly not benign as implied. But those are minor points compared to the wealth of paradigm-changing information in this book and web page of the same name.

    Methanol has been creeping into the modern diet since about 1880, partly inadvertently and now increasingly for corporate financial interest, too. Methanol is 100 times as lethal as ethanol, killing humans at 0.004 BAC, so this is not good. Also not good is that this methanol vulnerability occurs only in humans and no other species, not even closely-related primates. The methanol vulnerability is due to a peculiarity in the way human metabolic enzymes work.

    One expects enzymes for breaking down methanol to be found in the liver. But ADH is also concentrated in cells lining blood vessels, in cells making connective tissue and in mammary glands. That turns out to mean that when methanol circulates to these cells it is converted inside them to formaldehyde.

    It is the formaldehyde that is highly toxic. It is so reactive that it can not circulate or diffuse very far and very quickly binds with some near-by molecule. Formaldehyde modification of DNA can change gene expression or initiate cancer. A formaldehyde-modified protein is recognized as foreign by the immune system and attacked, which if repeated too often, can look like auto-immune disease – or may, depending on the site, initiate cardio-vascular, MS or Alzhymers plaque. It is the the progenitor and relatively benign methanol that circulates throughout the body, though. Organs with high vascular structure, the skin and breast tissue are particularly vulnerable to methanol circulated formaldehyde toxicity.

  29. Well! this is the most positive I’ve seen you in awhile–probably because you were doing that other autoimmune thing we do: writing. I’m particurlarly intrested in this volume of your exploits as I’m going to be involved in a “course” of teaching my brain to not pay attention to the tinnitus (white noise). So. . .

    1. Thanks James — the journey has been profound. It began when my doctor, Anastasia Rowland-Seymour, MD, Assistant Professor of
      Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins told me this… “But what you really need to translate for people — those for whom Western medicine has done all it can — is this: all the science is pointing to the fact that your brain is your last best cure.” I hope I have!

  30. Your book, The Autoimmune Epidemic, continues to be the book I recommend to everyone who has any autoimmune problem or question. It especially confirmed it’s a plethora of diseases that always isn’t visible, understood or championed. I am eagerly looking forward to your new book and know it will be as enlightening. Congratulations!

  31. I so enjoyed The Autoimmune Epidemic and look forward to The Last Best Cure. Indeed, it does sound like a logical progression of ideas, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers. The new site look great, too! Congrats!

  32. The Autoimmune Epidemic was captivating and awakening. I am greatly looking forward to reading your new book.

  33. Thanks, I am confident that by gathering such insightful stories from all of us we can someday attack this epidemic from the start

  34. Hi Donna

    I have Wegeners Vasculitis an incurable auto Immune disease.
    I bought and read your excellent book Auto Immune Epidemic and gave several presentations on health where I promoted your book. I look forward to reading your next one. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your latest accomplishment

  35. Thank you! I truly can’t wait to share the book with all of you — so glad to hear that the book is exactly what you’ve been hoping to find!

  36. I just read your intro and think it is fabulous. I don’t have any physical issues, but am totally drawn in by the subject, as I feel the body and mind connection has a lot to do with good health.

  37. Congratulations, Donna. I am looking forward to reading your latest. I was a nurse when I got poisoned by a pesticide. It has been a long and winding road with few answers and lots of questions. I have been handed a laundry list of neuro-immune diagnoses but little more than offers for more drugs. I am a firm believer that the human body is designed to heal. Our medical community needs to expand on treatments that capitalize on that power. It sounds like your book is exactly what I have been trying to find.

  38. The Autoimmune Epidemic was eye-opening for me, and I’m sure The Last Best Cure will be every bit as enlightening. Can’t wait to read it! Best wishes to Donna and all those suffering from autoimmune conditions.

  39. SOOOOOO pleased for you Donna! For your book and for you personally. Wow. Congratulations on this latest book release. What a remarkable journey. Wishing you more and more and more joy! Celia

  40. I can’t wait to read it. I loved The Autoimmune Epidemic. I first borrowed it from the library and decided I needed my own copy, so I bought one for myself and one for a friend.

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