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.

A lot of us say that our dogs make us happy. During Covid, one study even suggested that owning a dog helped stave off depression, but dogs can be more than just good company. They can help you manage chronic diseases from epilepsy to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As Christine Henry, a licensed psychologist in Texas, explains, a client she worked with “came from a domestic violence situation. Even though she was safe, she had trouble sleeping at night and rarely left the home. Once she had a service dog, she was able to leave the home, and later was…

Read More

Alzheimer’s disease is scary. While pharmaceutical treatments exist, their effectiveness is minimal at best, and with the headlines about fraud in one of the early studies on the nature of the disease, you may be feeling like dementia is more mysterious than ever, or that there is nothing you can do about it.  MedShadow’s Medical Advisory Board Member, George Grossberg, MD, works with people who have Alzheimer’s and their families at the St. Louis School of Medicine in Missouri. He explains that, while we may not have effective drugs, we do know a lot about the lifestyle factors such as…

Read More

Patients tell MedShadow time and time again that physical activity, low impactor intense, makes a huge difference in their health and quality of life. It can help them control pain associated with conditions like Lupus or even limit feelings of depression. Sometimes it helps reduce the side effects of any treatments they need to take long term. The most recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines outlined the ideal amounts of time that each person should aim to exercise per week based on current research, but it focused more heavily than its previous edition on two…

Read More

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…

Read More

Download the full Burnout or Depression Infograph. Puja Aggarwal, MD, a neurologist, remembers the time six years ago she experienced burnout. “I was working long hours, socially withdrawn, not sleeping, feeling empty and giving all my time to work. I was not able to show up well as a mother or take care of myself,” Aggarwal explained about the challenging time. After she sought the help of a life coach, she was so inspired by how the guidance helped her achieve a healthier work-life balance that she pursued a life coach certification for herself. Many of us can probably say…

Read More

Love the idea of getting more exercise outside, but not sure where to start?  Exercising outside benefits us in more ways than one. The sunlight can help regulate your circadian rhythm, making waking up in the morning and falling asleep at night easier. The sights, sounds and smells of nature can calm our bodies and even provide health benefits like lower blood pressure. Before your step onto a trail or pedal into a bike lane, it’s crucial to know the basics of staying safe. We’ve rounded up apps and guides to help you whether you want to go hiking, biking…

Read More

You’ve heard the words macular degeneration, but what do you know about the disease and its recommended treatments? What can you do to lessen its effects? Read on to find out more. Only one treatment exists for what’s called wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive disease that causes blindness emanating from the center of the eye. To treat it, your doctor gives you direct injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) into the affected eye. For the more common dry AMD, there aren’t any approved treatments. But there are two well-known ways to reduce your risk of getting AMD:…

Read More

✅ This article was reviewed and approved by Shamard Charles, member of our MedShadow Medical Advisory Board. Vickie Hadge wasn’t diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) until more than 10 years after her first symptoms appeared. For that first decade, when she knew something was wrong and she didn’t know what, she took her health into her own hands, adopted a vegetarian diet and took up yoga and meditation. When she was finally diagnosed with MS in 2017, she was prescribed a disease-modifying medication, Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). Since the diagnosis, she says, she has remained relapse-free. For that, she credits both…

Read More

A cup or two of caffeine is unlikely to be dangerous Larger servings can interact with many common medications, like antidepressants and antibiotics Some drugs can enhance the effects of caffeine You’ve probably seen someone holding a mug or wearing a T-shirt that reads “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” Though lighthearted, the statement refers to something that many of us may forget: caffeine, an active ingredient in coffee, tea, chocolate and other foods and drinks is, in fact, a psychoactive stimulant drug. Unless you’re consuming exceptionally large servings of caffeine (upwards of 5 to 10 cups…

Read More

Angela Ridgel, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Kent State University, usually helps patients exercise at the gym, while studying how it might improve their cognition and brain health. But many exercise routines on land, such as aerobic or stretching ones, for example, can be challenging for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), she says. “When you’re doing exercise [on] land, which is what we mostly do in my lab, that would have a tendency to make MS patients overheat and then exacerbate their symptoms,” she adds. So she teamed up with a doctor who specializes in working with MS patients to…

Read More