It will take time and patience to reemerge from the collective crisis of the pandemic with our mental and physical health intact

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When I met Darren Sudman six years ago, at an event in Palm Springs, I didn’t expect that his story would be one that I would return to time and again as I began examining what makes us thrive and heal after difficult times.

Sudman introduced himself as a former lawyer and a founder of a nonprofit. In 2004, Sudman and his wife, Phyllis, experienced every parent’s worst nightmare: Their three-month-old son, Simon, was found motionless in his crib. …


A physician traces the impact of spirituality in patient outcomes

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On the last day of January, my Twitter feed lit up with a curious and heartfelt call: “Please. Please. Please. Everyone PRAY for my daughter Molly. She has been in an accident and suffered a brain trauma. She’s unconscious in the ICU. Please RT and PRAY.”

The tweet came from a woman named Kaye, a lawyer and mother of three in Los Angeles. Her daughter Molly was in a pediatric intensive care unit after suffering a brain injury. I, along with thousands of others, heeded her call, sharing a private prayer that Molly would recover. Soon Kaye began tweeting live…


How to make sense of recent concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine

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Last week, several European countries paused their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns about clotting and bleeding risks. Though the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) have both said that it is safe to use, most countries have resumed using the vaccine, and the company released data on Monday showing it is 79% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in the United States, many people may still be wondering about the risks. There are five major things to clear up when understanding the concerns about blood clots.

1. What are clots?

When most people think of blood clots, they think…


Workplace bullying is common, yet under-recognized, and can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health.

Credit: CBS/Harpo Productions

“Were you silent or were you silenced?” Oprah Winfrey asks, alluding to mistreatment in a dramatic preview that first aired last Sunday, for an upcoming CBS special (airing tonight) with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This harkens back to a 2019 ITV documentary, where interviewer Tom Bradby asks Markle if she’s ok, a theme she later expanded upon in a Times Op-ed. Now, timed ahead of the CBS interview, the British Royal Family themselves are fighting back with…


Can a key factor driving consumer demand be enough to override irrational fears?

Amitha Kalaichandran, M.D.

December 20, 2020

Twenty-four years ago, on Black Friday in November 1996, hundreds of thousands of Americans stood eagerly in line for hours at Walmarts, and Kmarts around the country. Some even camped outside. Once doors opened, mass hysteria ensued. People were trampled. Punches were flung in fights that led to arrests. In the streets some ran frantically after delivery trucks. There were bomb threats. There was even a rumor that the infamous Gotti family tried to get in on the action.

All for…


Let’s get clear on what the problems really are, then divide and conquer.

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Recently I recalled one of the most crucial things I learned in medical school: the power of the “problem list.” Each patient came to us with a diagnosis, which was the reason for hospital admission. But as our attending made clear: the easiest and most efficient way to address the condition was to separate it into its component parts. It no longer becomes “let’s manage this patient with dementia,” it becomes “let’s sort out what the smaller problems are that make up the bigger challenge of treating…


Dr. Amitha Kalaichandran MD

Most new parents dimly remember getting 6, 7, or even (gulp) 8 whole hours of uninterrupted sleep. After a new baby arrives, they may wait months — perhaps years — for a restful night’s sleep again. Google searches for infant sleep training are common, and the business of “baby sleep experts,” is booming.

Now a recent study, published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that introducing infants to solids early on may be associated with improved sleep — and better sleep in baby can mean better sleep for parents.

This study suggests that better sleep for everyone may…


Morning Marcescence

This is a fictional piece inspired by several recent discussions around palliative care, and what it means to have a “good death” (to use Dr. Atul Gawande’s words). It was originally submitted to the Scripps 100-word epic contest in April 2015 and received an honourable mention.

His room looks out onto the garden, facing his favourite oak tree.

Glad to finally be home. His other room had no such view.

Glistening frost covers parts of the branches.

Some wispy brown leaves coil through, not ready to fall.

His skin has become iridescent — paper-thin and shiny.

Willowy blue veins scarred from the IV drip.

Those leaves are the marcescent ones.

Dead to the common eye, they stubbornly remain.

Displaced only by new green buds.

No lines. No nurses. No doctors now.

An end to that.

Deep breaths forward into a new beginning.

It is time.

Amitha Kalaichandran

A physician, epidemiologist, medical journalist, and health tech consultant with an interest in the intersection of integrative medicine and innovation.

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