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.

It took seven years for Madeline Shonka to be diagnosed with lupus. Unfortunately, her struggles didn’t end there.  The side effects of medications for lupus that her healthcare providers prescribed were often debilitating side effects, such as weight gain, rashes and even difficulty managing anger. Then, over time, her physicians tested different, better-suited treatments on Shonka. She found that certain new habits, like light exercise, made a big difference in her quality of life. She then founded Co-immunity, which hosts support groups for patients with chronic illnesses, so that they can share their experiences. What Is Lupus? Lupus is an…

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A now world-wide outbreak of hepatitis ‘that began in fall 2021 among young children, sickening hundreds, continues nearly eight months later, as of May 2022. The medical community is searching for its cause.  Some researchers believe it may have been triggered by COVID-19 infections or by colds or other viruses. The challenge is that the term hepatitis denotes an inflammation of the liver, but in order to treat it, a doctor needs to know what caused that inflammation. That’s problematic, because a doctor must know the cause to treat it effectively. Here’s what you need to know about the many…

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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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Corticosteroids, also known as glucocorticoids or steroids, aren’t the same as the anabolic steroids athletes misuse. Corticosteroids are used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases like asthma, allergies, rashes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as many other conditions. Because corticosteroids are so strong, most of them are only available by prescription. While they can be extremely beneficial, steroids can also have serious side effects. It’s a good idea to understand the benefits and risks of corticosteroids and discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Common Names Corticosteroids come in several forms, including: Oral: Capsules, tablets, or…

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Freshly cut grass, a friendly puppy or a dusty rug is all it takes to set off an asthma attack for Olga Cerini. “My asthma is allergy-based,”  says Cerini, who lives in New York City. But she is able to keep her asthma under control, she says, because—in addition to her medications and years of allergy shots—she is careful to avoid these triggers. For example, “In my home, we have no rugs because rugs are a horrible source of dust,” she says.  “We clean frequently with a damp cloth, use either synthetic or cotton bedding, and vacuum the furniture and curtains…

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