Author: Emma Yasinski

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.

When Pat (now 71) was in her 40s, her vaginal dryness became so severe that the vaginal tissue would flare with even a gentle wipe. She’d been exposed to a drug called DES (diethylstilbestrol) when she was in utero, which caused myriad health issues as she grew up, and was likely behind the dryness. For her, coconut oil made a huge difference. “If only I had known I was not alone with this personal issue,” she says. Vaginal dryness is likely more common than you think. It can affect women of any age, but is especially prevalent among those who…

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Recently we’ve had to familiarize ourselves with yet another virus, monkeypox. As of Sept 14, 2022, the CDC has reported nearly 23,000 cases of Monkeypox in the US. Rochelle Walensky MD, MPH, director of the CDC,  told reporters on Sept 15, “over the last several weeks, we’ve been pleased to see a decline in the growth of new cases here and abroad. There are areas of the US where the rate of rise in new cases is still increasing.” At the June 10 teleconference, Raj Punjabi, MD, senior director for Global Health Security and Biodefense, emphasized, “We have the tools…

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Uterine fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that grow on the uterus, are common in women of child-bearing age. In fact, they may affect up to 25% of all women, and between 30% and 40% or those in the perimenopausal age range [as young as 30 and to age 44], according to E.A. Stewart in the 2015 article “Uterine Fibroids,” in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Many times, the fibroids have no symptoms at all. However, as they grow, they can put pressure on your organs, causing pain and other symptoms. Sometimes, they can make it difficult for you to get pregnant…

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When personal trainer and nutrition coach Erik was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), he says he felt almost betrayed: “The foods I consider paramount to my physical success are now turning against my body.” He says medicines haven’t helped much either, so he’s been experimenting with different foods and testing out an anti-inflammatory diet. None of those attempts have yet managed to end his first months-long IBS flare-ups. What Is IBS? IBS is “chronic abdominal pain with altered bowel movements in the absence of an identifiable cause,” says Aniruddh Setya, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Kidz Medical Service in Hollywood,…

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✅ 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…

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Shingles is not your average rash. The painful, itchy red stripe caused by shingles can last up to 10 days, while long-term nerve pain, a common complication, can persist for months or years. In the rare event that the outbreak appears on your face, it can even cause blindness. Luckily, there’s a two-dose vaccine, Shingrix (zoster vaccine recombinant, adjuvanted), that can prevent the disease. It’s recommended for people 50 years and older, even if you’ve already had shingles, and those 19 and older who are immunosuppressed. Shingles is a unique disease in that it’s not caused by a new infection.…

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None of the COVID-19 vaccinations guarantee immunocompromised people much protection from the disease, but now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an antibody engineered to protect you from getting COVID-19.  Only 27% of transplant recipients, for example, who are severely immunocompromised,  mounted a sufficient antibody response after two doses of an mRNA vaccine, made by Moderna and Pfizer. The immunocompromised state is due to drugs prescribed to prevent their immune systems from rejecting a new organ.  The FDA lists the following conditions as likely to leave you moderately or severely immunocompromised: Active treatment for solid tumor and…

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High blood pressure is often called a “silent killer,” because, unless you’re having your blood pressure measured regularly, you probably won’t know you have it. It is critical to make sure you don’t have high blood pressure, because it raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.  Nearly half of all US adults have high blood pressure To counter this  trend, health professionals often advise us to eat healthier and exercise more frequently. Sometimes, though, high blood pressure has little to do with our habits and more to do with the prescription pad. Changes in blood pressure—both higher and lower—can…

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A new chemotherapy drug promises to treat some patients with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who have been unable to take the other two other chemo medicines because one can cause allergic reactions and the other is frequently in short supply.  This summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-tracked the approval of Rylaze, a newer version of the chemo drug Erwinaze to treat ALL, made by Jazz Pharmaceuticals, which was previously distributed Erwinaze. The agency approved Rylaze based on an ongoing Phase 2/3 trial of about 102 patients, with an average age of 10.  The rare disease ALL affects…

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