If you’re lucky enough to live to 80, you’ll take up to a billion breaths…
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Author: 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.
Early in Dee Mangin’s career as a primary-care physician, she noticed that many people, especially older adults, were prescribed large numbers and doses of drugs, which, in some cases, might actually be detracting from their health rather than improving it. Then, she realized that even when polypharmacy (being prescribed five or more medications simultaneously) was recognized as a problem, there wasn’t any systematic way to help patients and healthcare providers assess which medicines might be most effective in a lower dose or discontinued altogether. Mangin is an MBChB (the New Zealand equivalent of an MD) and DPH (doctor of public…
When viruses, bacteria and other foreign pathogens enter our bodies, our immune system fights back with inflammation — changes in blood flow and a rush of immune cells that allow it to locate and destroy the intruders. As long as the inflammation quickly retreats when it’s no longer needed, this natural process is paramount, and healthful. However, sometimes inflammation sticks around. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases, including some cancers and Alzheimer’s. It’s also a driving force in autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes and lupus. Such foods as sodas, sugars, highly processed carbohydrates and red…
Two patients have reportedly been cured of the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) through bone marrow transplants intended to treat their cancer. A third was cured without the transplant. For most people, however, the disease still requires lifelong treatment, often with a combination of multiple drugs, which can lead to multiple HIV drug side effects. The first drugs for HIV didn’t do much to prolong people’s lives, says Edwin Bosa-Osorio, MD, a family physician at Community Health of South Florida. Over time, though, researchers learned that the most effective approach to managing the disease was for patients to take an amalgam…
In late fall 2015, Norma Leigh Perry, a teacher in Tunica, Miss., had been on a combination of new cancer drugs for recurrent melanoma for months without a problem. Compared to previous drugs she had taken throughout her treatment, which dated back more than 2 decades, these new drugs, a type of immunotherapy known as checkpoint inhibitors, were easy to tolerate. “I was fatigued for a couple of days, but other than that it was fine,” she said. Later, she was put on a MEK inhibitor, another common treatment for melanoma but one that falls into a class of drugs…
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