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.

You’ve been admitted to the hospital. There are nurses, doctors, physician’s assistants, and various other healthcare providers and administrators buzzing around the floor and room. Having these professionals around to prepare you for procedures and help you heal is likely crucial to your recovery, but being surrounded by all of them, in addition to other patients, and even visitors, can also put you at risk for hospital-acquired infections that can seriously compromise your health, and in some cases, even be fatal. What Are Hospital-Acquired Infections? There are a lot of germs floating around in hospitals. Patients also tend to be…

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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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​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…

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Around the country this July, the skies grew hazy and the sun burned red, as the smoke of wildfires from California to Canada blew across North America. A TikToker from Utah, @mandeemo_4045, has shown the dramatic effect of the haze in her state. @mandeemoe_4045#wildfire #smoky #utah #airqualityalert #fyp #oregonfire #gross♬ Fast – Sueco the Child Another, @world_gone_wild, shared a series of harrowing scenes from the East Coast.  @world_gone_wild#wildifre #connecticut #connecticutcheck #connecticutlife #massachusetts #maine #newengland #hazy #hazytiktok #wildfiresmoke #tennessee #redsun #haze♬ Smoke on the Water (2017 Remaster) – Deep Purple As wildfires blanket the US  with smoke each year, health…

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Samantha Welch spent about 11 months avoiding the direct sunlight as best she could. She had been prescribed isotretinoin, an oral medication that treats cystic acne. A few weeks after she started taking it, she discovered that “my skin was extremely sensitized,” she says. “My face and lips were dry and visibly flaking. Direct sunlight during midday would slightly sting, even with sunscreen on. I’ve had to avoid the sun altogether.” While Welch’s prescription was intended to affect her skin, many drugs that seem to have nothing to do with your skin can cause sensitivity to sunlight. For example, over…

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Earlier this week, the United States paused the use of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine to investigate six cases of blood clots, one fatal, that occurred in women within two weeks of receiving the shot. MedShadow reported this in our vaccine side effect tracker article.  In a rush to assuage fears about taking the J&J vaccine, some experts, and even lay people,  took to social media to put the risk in perspective. Many compared the potential of getting a blood clot from taking oral contraceptives (one in 1,000) to that of getting a blood clot from having the vaccine…

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