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.

MedShadow recently posted an article in which a journalist investigates his own sleep apnea diagnosis and ends up forgoing expensive machinery and learning that sleeping on his side was all it took in his case to keep his oxygen levels stable through the night. In the Kaiser Health News article, author Jay Hancock describes an “expensive testing cascade” including an at-home test and two separate nights in a sleep lab testing for different characteristics of the condition.  Testing is not the only cascade in medicine. In recent years, researchers have started to identify “prescription cascades”—situations in which a patient is…

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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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Mother-of-four Kate Leighton, 43, found out she had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) as a teenager. Although physicians had recommended various treatments, such as oral contraceptives to manage her menstrual cycle and Clomid (clomiphene) for fertility, no one mentioned the role of diet and exercise in PCOS management. She found those strategies by doing her own research. “On my 37th birthday, I went vegan. I lost 50 pounds, and chose the months I wanted to become pregnant. Six months of a vegan diet, and no more cysts,” she says. The goal of managing PCOS is for women to decrease the risk…

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A common side effect of antipsychotic medications is that they can cause users to gain weight. Now researchers believe they have found a way to counteract that weight gain. Scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered that serotonin 2C receptors interacting with antipsychotics for schizophrenia and depression leads to the increase in weight. Similar side effects occur with other metabolic changing drugs, such as many types of birth control and thyroid medications. According to the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, many people who use antipsychotics have found that after using these drugs for an…

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