Emma Yasinski

I am a freelance science and medical journalist, fascinated by how the scientific process leads to incredible discoveries, but also can lead to publication bias leaning toward positive findings and minimizing negatives. With a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Lafayette College and a Master’s in Science and Medical Journalism from Boston University, I’ve written about clinical trial transparency, organ donation, and basic molecular biology for publications like The Scientist, The Atlantic, Undark.org, Kaiser Health News, and more. At MedShadow, I research and write about the sometimes unexpected ways that medicines can affect us, and what we can do if and when it does.

Recently we’ve had to familiarize ourselves with yet another virus, monkeypox. As of July 25, the CDC has reported nearly 3,000 cases of Monkeypox.  At the June 10 teleconference, Raj Punjabi, MD, senior director for Global Health Security and Biodefense, emphasized, “We have the tools to protect people from this disease. We have tests for monkeypox. We have vaccines for monkeypox, and we have treatments for monkeypox.” Still, it’s important to remain vigilant and seek out testing and care if you or someone close to you shows signs of having been exposed to monkeypox. Here’s what you need to know.…

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Diane Vukovic, who runs the website, Mom Goes Camping, says that it was “inevitable” she’d get Lyme disease at some point, given how much time she spends outside. Researchers hope to have a vaccine to prevent the disease soon, but have only recently begun clinical trials. Luckily, Vukovic noticed the rash quickly, even though hers didn’t immediately resemble the characteristic bullseye. In addition to the rash, she was exhausted and weak. In addition to antibiotic treatment, she credits having eliminated sugar from her diet for helping her bounce back from the disease rapidly. What Is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is…

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Two years ago, a researcher who specializes in the safety of breast milk was in the midst of breastfeeding her own child when she experienced a serious bout of postpartum depression. She had a televisit with her doctor, who refused to write her a prescription for antidepressant medications as long as she was still breastfeeding, even though the drugs are considered safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  “A lot of times, [the] health [of the new mother] isn’t prioritized as much as that of the infant. And that’s something that we really worry about,” says Kaytlin Krutsch, PharmD, a…

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Pharmacists are working in many locations, not just behind the counter at the drugstore. Clinical pharmacists are in hospitals, assisted-living facilities and more, and they can play an important role in helping you and your loved ones manage your medications, reduce side effects and be healthier. MedShadow spoke to Chad Worz, Pharm.D, CEO of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), which partners with TaperMD. TaperMD is a tool that evaluates medical risk and the role of different types of pharmacists and how they may help reduce side effects and ensure that your medicines are both safe and effective. MedShadow:…

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It’s been more than two decades since scientists first recognized that perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), compounds used in the manufacturing of a myriad everyday products, could be bad for our health. Still researchers are barely scratching the surface of what these more than 12,000 different chemicals can do. Experts from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report last week describing what we do know and making recommendations for clinicians to test for PFAS exposure and provide guidance to lowering the levels of the chemicals in their bodies. Here’s what you need to know. What Are…

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It took seven years for Madeline Shonka to be diagnosed with lupus. Unfortunately, her struggles didn’t end there.  The side effects of medications for lupus that her healthcare providers prescribed were often debilitating side effects, such as weight gain, rashes and even difficulty managing anger. Then, over time, her physicians tested different, better-suited treatments on Shonka. She found that certain new habits, like light exercise, made a big difference in her quality of life. She then founded Co-immunity, which hosts support groups for patients with chronic illnesses, so that they can share their experiences. What Is Lupus? Lupus is an…

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The Northern Hemisphere is in the midst of yet another record-breaking heat wave. 1,700 people died from heat-related causes in Spain and Portugal over the past week. The heat is now battering the United Kingdom. Simultaneously, dangerous levels of heat are blanketing large swaths of the United States. Extra-high temperatures are perilous for everyone, but they are even more so for the elderly, people who need electric medical equipment and for those on medications with side effects that can increase their sensitivity to heat. You may need to take extra caution to remain safe when the heat rises. Heat exhaustion…

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A now world-wide outbreak of hepatitis ‘that began in fall 2021 among young children, sickening hundreds, continues nearly eight months later, as of May 2022. The medical community is searching for its cause.  Some researchers believe it may have been triggered by COVID-19 infections or by colds or other viruses. The challenge is that the term hepatitis denotes an inflammation of the liver, but in order to treat it, a doctor needs to know what caused that inflammation. That’s problematic, because a doctor must know the cause to treat it effectively. Here’s what you need to know about the many…

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As we slather on sunscreen to emerge for the summer, some dermatologists and sunscreen users of color are taking to TikTok to point out that sunscreen doesn’t look the same on everyone. While sunscreens may be designed to be invisible or leave a very light white tint, when applied to dark skin, the lotions often leave dramatic white or even purple-looking casts that don’t disappear. “It’s like putting on the wrong color makeup,” says Adrienne Haughton, MD, a dermatologist at Stony Brook Medicine. “Someone with whiter skin won’t see the white cast as much.” TikToker and skin-care chemist aprilbasi demonstrates…

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