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.

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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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:…

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​Early in Dee Mangin’s career as a primary-care physician, she noticed that many people, especially older adults, were prescribed large numbers and doses of drugs, which, in some cases, might actually be detracting from their health rather than improving it. Then, she realized that even when polypharmacy (being prescribed five or more medications simultaneously) was recognized as a problem, there wasn’t any systematic way to help patients and healthcare providers assess which medicines might be most effective in a lower dose or discontinued altogether.  Mangin is an MBChB (the New Zealand equivalent of an MD) and DPH (doctor of public…

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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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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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When Chris Joseph’s oncologist prescribed chemotherapy to tackle pancreatic cancer in 2016, he says the drug made him miserable and didn’t address his cancer. “I quit. I had no Plan B, but I just didn’t want to die of chemo,” he adds. Plus, “it wasn’t helping my cancer: my tumor was still growing.” Today, he is taking pembrolizumab (Keytruda), a drug that helps his own immune system fight the cancer. His tumor has shrunk considerably, and his doctors have told him that as long as it doesn’t grow, he can live with the cancer. His story is a common one.…

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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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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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