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…

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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…

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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…

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Download the full Burnout or Depression Infograph. Puja Aggarwal, MD, a neurologist, remembers the time six years ago she experienced burnout. “I was working long hours, socially withdrawn, not sleeping, feeling empty and giving all my time to work. I was not able to show up well as a mother or take care of myself,” Aggarwal explained about the challenging time. After she sought the help of a life coach, she was so inspired by how the guidance helped her achieve a healthier work-life balance that she pursued a life coach certification for herself. Many of us can probably say…

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In the last week of September 2021, a group of more than 90 doctors and researchers published a call to action, cautioning against the liberal use of Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy. The studies suggested that exposure to the drug could increase the risk of a baby having neurodevelopmental, reproductive and urogenital disorders. The authors added, however, that Tylenol has long been considered one of the few safer options to treat pain in pregnancy, since Advil (ibuprofen) and opioids are considered riskier. They pointed out that, in some cases, a woman’s condition (fever and pain, for example) could be worse for…

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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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The holiday season that just passed often fuels stress in many of us, even without pandemic concerns of being in crowds  and viral contagion. Add to that, the long, dark days of winter, which can lead to fatigue, depression, social withdrawal and feelings of hopelessness.  With those factors in mind, MedShadow went on a search for tools to help you relieve stress any day of the year. We collected some of our favorite breathing exercises from Instagram.  Controlled breathing exercises don’t just zap stress, they can also help lower blood pressure. Choose your favorites from the videos below and use…

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Shortly after she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Sarah Lawrence was prescribed Otezla (apremilast). In less than two months after beginning the drug treatment, she says, she started experiencing suicidal ideation. “The thoughts were so intense and so different from my normal thought process, I knew something was horribly wrong.”  Neither she nor anyone in her family has a history of mental illness or suicide. Once she stopped using the drug, it took only a few days for the suicidal thoughts to dissipate. She considers herself lucky in that she was able to recognize the thoughts as a drug side…

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Physician’s assistant Ben Tanner lives alone. During the pandemic, he’s spent much of the time at home, working online. Because he was unable to get away from work, he soon found himself fixating on insignificant details. Little by little, his anxiety increased and he began struggling to sleep at night. Then he took a break over Thanksgiving weekend, during which he realized that he had had no idea how badly he had needed a respite. After four days away from his job, “there was an almost palpable contrast as the constant analysis and overthinking faded away,” he says. “I felt…

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