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.

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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March 8, 2022 Update: Four patients total were infected with the same strain of Burkholderia pseudomallei. The bacterium is considered very rare in the U.S., with the CDC only reporting about 12 cases in the per year. After months of investigation, researchers posted a report in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 3, in which they traced the outbreak back to a Better Homes and Gardens room spray with a lavender and chamomile scent, which had been imported from India. Two of the patients died within days of infection. The other two patients are have ongoing symptoms and…

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Two infants have died and at least five have gotten sick between Sept. 17, 2021 and Jan. 4, 2022, with bacterial infections that may have been caused by contamination of baby formula made by Abbott Laboratories. The babies were infected with Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport in Minnesota, Ohio and Texas. The illnesses and one death were first reported on Feb. 17, 2022, when Abbott issued a voluntary recall of the powdered formulas Similac, Alimentum and EleCare. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a second death on Feb. 28, Similac PM 60/40 was added to the…

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Does a person’s higher weight impact how effective a recommended drug dosage may be? Researchers found, for example, that common versions of Plan B (levonorgestrel), the morning after emergency contraceptive pill, was less effective in women who weighed more than 165 pounds, and not effective at all for those over 175. Last year, that fact caught a wave on social media after TikToker @anadelrey.xo shared a video suggesting that anyone over 150 to 155 pounds should take two pills instead of one. Note: Specialists do not recommend taking two pills. Instead, they suggest the alternative medicine Ella (ulipristal).  @anadelrey.xo Reply…

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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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When MedShadow started collecting comments for its side effects of COVID-19 vaccine tracker, what quickly emerged is that COVID-19 shots are also associated with substantial arm pain. That result was so common that we published a separate article about the redness, pain and rashes that sometimes followed the jabs. In most cases, this was a typical response to the vaccine, which cleared up within a few days. Injection-site reactions, including redness and pain, were the most reported side effect in the COVID vaccine trials, affecting more than 84% of patients who received a Pfizer shot. On occasion, though, the reactions appeared…

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When Lily was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 27, she blamed herself. “Why hadn’t I taken care of myself properly?” she thought. She had regularly skipped her annual Pap smears—a common procedure, in which the doctor collects cells from the vagina wall to test for signs of cervical cancer. “I didn’t think I needed to go,” she said. But when she started bleeding and experiencing daily pelvic pain, she finally visited her OB/GYN and found out that she had cervical cancer. She’s been treated, but regrets having postponed screening because the disease left her infertile. Lily is now an…

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Your parents were right. You need to brush and floss your teeth daily and thoroughly. Neglecting these healthy habits can do more than give you bad breath and cavities; your mouth is a doorway to your body. Food, water, air and germs from the outside world are invited inside you through your mouth and can be sucked down your airways or into your digestive system, making you sick now and possibly even increasing your risk of non-communicable diseases later. Doorway to Your Body “Our mouth is a gate into our body, which bacteria are happy to use,” says Henry Hackney,…

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