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.

FDA

In 2018, two young men were found dead in their respective bathrooms in Texas after using a concentrated powder form of tianeptine.  Tianeptine is an antidepressant prescribed in Europe, Asia and South America. It’s banned in the US, but it’s found its way here. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the drug’s risks in 2018. Then in February 2022, the agency put out a new warning after scientists found a large increase in calls to poison control centers related to tianeptine poisoning. What is Tianeptine? Tianeptine, sold under the brand names of Coaxil and Stablon, is…

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We often hear the word microbiome in the promises of oral supplements, yogurts and probiotic drinks like kombucha, but there’s more to the microbiome than just your gut. Did you know even your home and office have their own microbiomes, and those microbiomes can affect your health? Over the past decade, the gut microbiome has been the subject of intensive study, since researchers learned that the microbiota—bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in and on outnumber our own cells tenfold. Researchers have learned that disrupting a healthy microbiome can have serious health consequences. The medical community doesn’t know enough about…

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We’ve all heard the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” except that prevention isn’t always clear-cut. Prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and managing stress, but also regular monitoring of your health with tests that only healthcare professionals can provide. Still, making and attending doctor’s appointments is time-consuming. Also taxing is that  guidelines for preventive care and screenings regularly change. For example, in 2021, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network updated its colorectal cancer screening guidelines, which lowered the age to start screening to 45 from 50, while noting that some people can go…

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December 31 Update: Proctor and Gamble issued a voluntary recall of 32 dry spray shampoos and conditioners that also were found to contain benzene. The products include the brands, Panetene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Waterl<ss, Hair Food and Old Spice.  October 4 Update: Five more sunscreen sprays recalled for benzene contamination. The new group is from Coppertone and includes:  Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol  spray) Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol spray) Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol spray) Coppertone Sport Minteral SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol spray) Travel-size…

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FDA

If you watch television, you’ve likely seen the commercials for the JAK (Janus kinase) inhibitors Xeljanz and Rinvoq that make bold claims. Those ads depict men and women ziplining, moving large amounts of heavy soil, hauling furniture and riding ATVs. “The [misleading] message is that you don’t have to be limited in any way,” explains Terry Graedon, PhD, a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy. “I would say that the likelihood [is pretty slim] that this is a realistic goal for most people, much less women with rheumatoid arthritis,  especially if they are people whose condition has not…

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MedShadow is introducing a weekly news feature called Quick Hits: brief summaries of recent news items related to our mission. Light therapy is under investigation as a way to ease the fatigue and depression that people with cancer often suffer from. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City conducted a series of clinical trials examining whether regular exposure to bright white light from a light box could improve their symptoms. In the latest trial, cancer patients exposed to the bright white light saw their depression symptoms subside much more than a control group…

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