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.

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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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:…

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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…

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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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Singer Andy Williams may be crooning to us that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many, the holiday season and subsequent “gay, happy meetings when friends come to call,” can also be harbingers of excess stress. That stress has the potential to derail your health. If you’re finding yourself under a little more stress than usual, MedShadow has compiled a list of our favorite stress-busting strategies from TikTok.  Warm Up With a Cup of Tea A cup of your favorite tea can help you de-stress before your lips even touch the rim. Take a minute to…

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In the last week of September 2021, a group of more than 90 doctors and researchers published a call to action, cautioning against the liberal use of Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy. The studies suggested that exposure to the drug could increase the risk of a baby having neurodevelopmental, reproductive and urogenital disorders. The authors added, however, that Tylenol has long been considered one of the few safer options to treat pain in pregnancy, since Advil (ibuprofen) and opioids are considered riskier. They pointed out that, in some cases, a woman’s condition (fever and pain, for example) could be worse for…

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Now that the weather is warming up, leave your house with gusto, purpose, and a little entertainment in mind. If you’re planning on physical activity, whether it’s a casual stroll around the neighborhood or a bracing hike or jog, enhance nature’s benefits by donning headphones to take in music or podcasts.  We all know exercise is good for our physical and mental well-being. Being outdoors, while working your body offers a powerful boost that can lower blood pressure and support your immune system. If your goal is to get your heart pumping with a hard workout, know that studies have…

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✅ This article was reviewed and approved by George Grossberg, MD, member of our MedShadow Medical Advisory Board. As a teenager tackling depression, Breanna Hushaw was prescribed more than 15 different antidepressant medications, which “caused a ton of side effects.” Her doctor knew she was struggling and suggested Hushaw might be a good candidate for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Once she started the treatment, Hushaw had one 20-minute session a day for 36 days. By Day 16, she says, “I realized I [was] starting to feel better.” The treatment allowed her to focus better and make progress in therapy.  Today,…

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Shortly after she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Sarah Lawrence was prescribed Otezla (apremilast). In less than two months after beginning the drug treatment, she says, she started experiencing suicidal ideation. “The thoughts were so intense and so different from my normal thought process, I knew something was horribly wrong.”  Neither she nor anyone in her family has a history of mental illness or suicide. Once she stopped using the drug, it took only a few days for the suicidal thoughts to dissipate. She considers herself lucky in that she was able to recognize the thoughts as a drug side…

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