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.

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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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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✅ 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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Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but for some people, it can become overwhelming and debilitating. People with types of anxiety disorder feel apprehensive and uneasy, and it’s common for them to experience negative thoughts that make them more fearful. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): More than 40 million American adults ages 18 and older have an anxiety disorder, and nearly one-third of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse. Most people with an anxiety disorder also have depression.  Most…

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A common side effect of antipsychotic medications is that they can cause users to gain weight. Now researchers believe they have found a way to counteract that weight gain. Scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered that serotonin 2C receptors interacting with antipsychotics for schizophrenia and depression leads to the increase in weight. Similar side effects occur with other metabolic changing drugs, such as many types of birth control and thyroid medications. According to the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, many people who use antipsychotics have found that after using these drugs for an…

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