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.

October 25, 2021 update: The CDC found a deadly bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes the disease melioidosis in a lavender essential oil spray called “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones.” Read more here. The pandemic has only enhanced an already surging demand for essential oils, according to Fortune Business Insights. Those concentrated liquids, which are fragrant compounds extracted from plants, are thought to treat headaches and anxiety and to even heal wounds. In addition to selling them in their pure form, the oils have a home with cosmetic companies, which add…

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The new, old superfood chlorophyll  has reemerged after decades of dormancy and is making the rounds on TikTok.  To take it, these enthusiasts add a dropper full of the emerald green liquid to their water, mix and drink it. They claim that after a period of days or weeks, it clears up their skin, helps them lose weight and maybe even prevents cancer. While the known side effects of chlorophyll are limited to minor stomach upset, there’s very little evidence to support its purported benefits. Since it’s a supplement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate it.  @mayafiorellahot…

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a term often “thrown around loosely,” says Howard Pratt, doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) and a psychiatrist at the Community Health of South Florida, who treats PTSD. In reality, it’s is a condition in which you might develop a variety of symptoms like nightmares, intrusive memories or a tendency to avoid anything that reminds you of a traumatic event you experienced or even heard about. You might get startled easily or even blame yourself for what happened to you or to a friend. “What really makes it difficult is that these are not consistent things…

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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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We all know exercising regularly is one of the best things we can do to maintain health and ward off disease. But, let’s be honest, sometimes exercise is boring and, ouch!, it hurts to strengthen those muscles, especially the core.  You can spice up your routine and forget the pain using the TikTok challenges, below.  Some ways are to add one to the end of your usual workout, do as many as you can one after another or build up to the more taxing routines.  Note: the videos featured below aren’t necessarily by the creators of the original challenges.  …

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Legal or illegal, marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD) and related products are readily available to most people. These days, many patients are trying out the drugs, supplements, creams and edibles to treat diseases or symptoms like pain, anxiety and insomnia. According to a survey by Creaky Joints, a rheumatoid arthritis advocacy group, 52% of arthritis patients have used CBD or cannabis for medical reasons. Many others use them recreationally. Scientists are still working to figure out how cannabis interacts with other medications you may be taking. Brandy Gomez-Duplessis, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis along with lupus, asthma and high blood pressure, says…

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Lack of sleep can do more than make you a little drowsy the next day. Think fatigue, irritability, lack of focus and hunger pangs on one end to health risks ranging from depression to cancer on the other. If you opt for sleeping pills to help you sleep, you could be left feeling just as groggy as if you hadn’t slept at all and  end up with other side effects link dry mouth or even drug dependence. Lack of sleep is a very big problem. Sometimes it’s due to factors we can’t control, like working long hours or being woken…

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Those who have experienced migraines know that they are very different from tension headaches.  A migraine “affects not just the head, but so many other body systems,” says Jill Dehlin, an RN and patient advocate who works with migraine patients and struggles with migraines herself. “Somebody with a headache will maybe have a throbbing on both sides of their temples. But with the migraine, they might have nausea and vomiting. They might have diarrhea or constipation. They might have dizziness or blurred vision, double vision, cognitive problems.” She added that her own migraines can cause her to jumble words, for…

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When viruses, bacteria and other foreign pathogens enter our bodies, our immune system fights back with inflammation — changes in blood flow and a rush of immune cells that allow it to locate and destroy the intruders. As long as the inflammation quickly retreats when it’s no longer needed, this natural process is paramount, and healthful.  However, sometimes inflammation sticks around. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases, including some cancers and Alzheimer’s. It’s also a driving force in autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes and lupus. Such foods as sodas, sugars, highly processed carbohydrates and red…

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