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.

A few years ago, my doctor prescribed me high doses of omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor) to treat acid reflux twice a day. I didn’t have severe symptoms, but an endoscopy showed that the cells in my esophagus were changing toward a cancerous state to protect themselves from the acid flowing up from my stomach. For three months, I took 40mg of omeprazole each morning and evening—a typical over the counter dose is only 20mg daily—and cut out many foods that can cause acid reflux like coffee, alcohol, and my all-time favorite, dark chocolate. The next endoscopy showed my cells…

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When Zoe was 13 years old, the doctors told her she had juvenile arthritis, a diagnosis that could impact the rest of her life. For the year prior, her pain had been so severe she was walking with crutches and wearing two wrist braces. Today, she manages the condition with a combination of prescription drugs, diet, and thoughtful exercise. While physical activity is an important part of her routine, she recognized in high school that certain types—such as rowing and running—caused her more joint pain, so she switched to activities that were easier on her joints. What Is Juvenile Arthritis?…

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Read through MedShadow’s coverage of the side effects of drugs and you’ll see many of the same side effects mentioned over and over. For example, patients report nausea after taking a whole host of drugs, such as those for Lupus, HIV prevention, cancer and more. It’s crucial to differentiate side effects from symptoms, explains Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, founder of the Pharmacist Moms Group, so that you and your healthcare provider can work together to improve your care. She says, when she works with patients who are experiencing new symptoms or side effects, the first step is for her to take…

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The more aluminum a child was exposed to via vaccination by the age of 2, the more likely they were to have developed asthma by the age of 5, according to a study published in September in Academic Pediatrics. The research highlighted a potential issue that needs further study, according to experts, but it comes with caveats, and alone it cannot prove that aluminum causes asthma or suggest that physicians should stop or delay vaccines for children.  The prevalence of asthma in the United States has increased only slightly in the past two decades. In 2019, 7.8% of adults had…

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You may read the ingredients in your food. You might scan the ingredients of your medications. But, do you know what is in your vaccinations?  Typically, ingredients are included to create immunity, allow it to be long-lasting and safe, while still being effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the ingredients included fall into the categories of: Stabilizers Adjuvants Residual Inactivating Ingredients Residual Cell Culture materials Residual antibiotics Preservatives. While you often hear about the active ingredients of vaccines, such as the mRNA, the attenuated virus, or viral particles designed to wake up our immune systems…

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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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When Jenna Bruce was a child, she received what she refers to as “a lot” of anesthesia. More often than not, she’d experience side effects of general anesthesia such as having difficulty urinating for up to 24 hours after and would require temporary hospitalization and catheterization.  Michael Champeau, MD, a pediatrician and anesthesiologist, and president-elect of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, says that difficulty urinating is unusual in children, but is a relatively common side effect of general anesthesia for adults. Over the years, doctors have improved anesthesia administration techniques so side effects, like vomiting and difficulty urinating, have become…

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When Pat (now 71) was in her 40s, her vaginal dryness became so severe that the vaginal tissue would flare with even a gentle wipe. She’d been exposed to a drug called DES (diethylstilbestrol) when she was in utero, which caused myriad health issues as she grew up, and was likely behind the dryness. For her, coconut oil made a huge difference. “If only I had known I was not alone with this personal issue,” she says. Vaginal dryness is likely more common than you think. It can affect women of any age, but is especially prevalent among those who…

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It took seven years for Madeline Shonka to be diagnosed with lupus. Unfortunately, her struggles didn’t end there.  The side effects of medications for lupus that her healthcare providers prescribed were often debilitating side effects, such as weight gain, rashes and even difficulty managing anger. Then, over time, her physicians tested different, better-suited treatments on Shonka. She found that certain new habits, like light exercise, made a big difference in her quality of life. She then founded Co-immunity, which hosts support groups for patients with chronic illnesses, so that they can share their experiences. What Is Lupus? Lupus is an…

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On TikTok, influencers are taking spoonfuls of a gel-like substance out of a jar called sea moss. While they may scrunch their faces and suggest the flavor is less-than-enticing, many claim the supplement has worked wonders for their skin, energy, or digestion. @healthyholisticheals this could of saved me energy & time better now than never tho 😎 Free shipping on all orders if you’re wanting to start your #seamoss journey 🔥 #immunebooster #guthealth #skincare ♬ original sound – Music table But others have warned that it can cause problems. @drjencaudle The Dangers of Sea Moss #seamoss #seamossbenefits #seamossbynadia #seamossgel #fyp…

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