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.

Sophie Saint Thomas has been riding out hurricanes in the U.S. Virgin Islands since she was a baby. She swears she remembers the high winds of Hurricane Hugo, which hit when she was less than two years old in1989. After Hurricane Marilyn hit in 2005, she and her family lived without electricity and reliably clean drinking water for months. Now an adult, Saint Thomas has helped friends and family through numerous storms and worked with local organizations such as the Family Planning Center of St. Thomas/St. John’s after storms. After storms, she says “the biggest problem is lack of access…

Read More

Patients tell MedShadow time and time again that physical activity, low impactor intense, makes a huge difference in their health and quality of life. It can help them control pain associated with conditions like Lupus or even limit feelings of depression. Sometimes it helps reduce the side effects of any treatments they need to take long term. The most recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines outlined the ideal amounts of time that each person should aim to exercise per week based on current research, but it focused more heavily than its previous edition on two…

Read More

Madeline Shonka told MedShadow it took her years to get an accurate lupus diagnosis. Even then, she had to go through trial and error with many different combinations of medications for treatment, all the while trying to decipher the best lifestyle changes to manage her condition. For example, she eventually discovered that making time for light exercise had a huge positive impact on her quality of life. Jill Dehlin, an RN who suffers from migraines, told MedShadow that tracking her symptoms helped immensely. “I recommend to everyone that I speak with to keep a journal or diary and keep track…

Read More

Two years ago, a researcher who specializes in the safety of breast milk was in the midst of breastfeeding her own child when she experienced a serious bout of postpartum depression. She had a televisit with her doctor, who refused to write her a prescription for antidepressant medications as long as she was still breastfeeding, even though the drugs are considered safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  “A lot of times, [the] health [of the new mother] isn’t prioritized as much as that of the infant. And that’s something that we really worry about,” says Kaytlin Krutsch, PharmD, a…

Read More

Pharmacists are working in many locations, not just behind the counter at the drugstore. Clinical pharmacists are in hospitals, assisted-living facilities and more, and they can play an important role in helping you and your loved ones manage your medications, reduce side effects and be healthier. MedShadow spoke to Chad Worz, Pharm.D, CEO of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), which partners with TaperMD. TaperMD is a tool that evaluates medical risk and the role of different types of pharmacists and how they may help reduce side effects and ensure that your medicines are both safe and effective. MedShadow:…

Read More

It’s been more than two decades since scientists first recognized that perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), compounds used in the manufacturing of a myriad everyday products, could be bad for our health. Still researchers are barely scratching the surface of what these more than 12,000 different chemicals can do. Experts from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report last week describing what we do know and making recommendations for clinicians to test for PFAS exposure and provide guidance to lowering the levels of the chemicals in their bodies. Here’s what you need to know. What Are…

Read More

As we slather on sunscreen to emerge for the summer, some dermatologists and sunscreen users of color are taking to TikTok to point out that sunscreen doesn’t look the same on everyone. While sunscreens may be designed to be invisible or leave a very light white tint, when applied to dark skin, the lotions often leave dramatic white or even purple-looking casts that don’t disappear. “It’s like putting on the wrong color makeup,” says Adrienne Haughton, MD, a dermatologist at Stony Brook Medicine. “Someone with whiter skin won’t see the white cast as much.” TikToker and skin-care chemist aprilbasi demonstrates…

Read More

Most of us know that smoking—be it conventional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)–is likely to harm our health in some way. While many of the dangers of cigarette smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even eye diseases, are well-known, some of the dangers associated with e-cigarettes are less clear.  On June 23, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was banning from the market all products made by the largest e-cigarette manufacturer, Juul. The agency stated that the company hadn’t provided sufficient evidence that products were not toxic. Juul appealed the…

Read More

When the first COVID-19 vaccination was authorized back in December  2020, millions of eligible people lined up at vaccination sites, sometimes for hours, waiting for protection from the disease. Age was one of the main factors, with the country’s oldest residents up first. Week after week, the age for eligibility lowered until it reached 16 for Moderna’s shot and 18 for Pfizer’s. Before, children under the age of either 16 (for Moderna) or 18 (for Pfizer) could be vaccinated, the shots needed to undergo additional testing to evaluate the appropriate doses, side effects and efficacy in younger individuals. For children…

Read More

We all know we’re supposed to wear sunscreen daily to prevent sunburns, premature aging and skin cancer, though many of us fall short of reaching that goal. Some reasons we forgo the creamy protection are that we don’t think we’re at risk, we don’t like the greasy lotion, we don’t like its smell or we aren’t happy about the white, or even purple, cast it can leave on our skin. But there are other reasons you might be selective about which type and how much sunscreen you wear. While using sunscreen regularly is crucial to preventing skin cancer, some sunscreen…

Read More