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 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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When Mel was first prescribed hormones in 2009, he wasn’t sure he planned to complete the transition to becoming a trans man. “My goal was to explore the gender spectrum through hormones. I wasn’t yet totally clear that I wanted to transition and make a full gender transition, but I definitely felt the need to move away from my identity as a woman,” he says. Working with his physician, he started by taking medicines to end his menstrual cycle and then began with  very low doses of testosterone, gradually increasing them over time. “As I started taking testosterone in small…

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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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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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✅ 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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If you purchased any food, medicine, cosmetics or supplements from a Family Dollar store in the past 15 months, it could be contaminated. The company issued a voluntary recall on Feb. 18, 2022, after an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) turned up more than 1,000 rats—both dead and alive—at a distribution center in Arkansas that stocks stores in several Southern states. Family Dollar says it has yet to receive any customer complaints tied to the recall, but that it has issued a voluntary recall for foods (for both humans and pets), medicines, medical devices, supplements and cosmetics…

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On May 10, 2021 Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine had been granted emergency-use authorization for kids ages 12 to 15. Since then, lower doses of the shot have been authorized for children aged 6-11. Many children have received the vaccinations, but a large population of children without the shots remains, as officials report a new variant could cause a small, but noticeable new wave of cases soon. With the FDA reviewing data from Moderna’s trials and Pfizer extending its trial to include a third shot in hopes of coaxing a more robust immune response in children 6 months to…

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A few months into the pandemic, researchers learned that some patients—now dubbed “long-haulers”—were reporting that symptoms like shortness of breath, brain fog, diabetes and heart problems that persisted long after they’d tested negative for COVID-19. When COVID-19 first emerged, doctors identified it as a respiratory virus—one that primarily affects the nose, throat and lungs, causing coughing and shortness of breath. Over time, physicians found that the virus seemed to produce many other symptoms not at all associated with breathing: patients had blood clots; they had diarrhea; their blood sugar was out of control; their blood pressure rose; they were confused.…

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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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