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.

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…

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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…

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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 “I was working long hours, socially withdrawn, not sleeping, feeling empty and giving all my time to work.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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The “morning-after pill” is available to a second generation at Jennifer’s home. “I have three teenagers, two boys and a girl, in the house,” she says, explaining that she keeps My Way (levonorgestrel) on hand. “Anyone who needs it can take it or give it to anyone else who does, including their friends.” Jennifer, now 41, benefited from having the pill when she was in her twenties and early thirties to avoid pregnancy after unprotected sex or potential failure of regular birth control. She took the pill first at 22, when her partner’s condom broke during intercourse, and then at…

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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…

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Love the idea of getting more exercise outside, but not sure where to start?  Exercising outside benefits us in more ways than one. The sunlight can help regulate your circadian rhythm, making waking up in the morning and falling asleep at night easier. The sights, sounds and smells of nature can calm our bodies and even provide health benefits like lower blood pressure. Before your step onto a trail or pedal into a bike lane, it’s crucial to know the basics of staying safe. We’ve rounded up apps and guides to help you whether you want to go hiking, biking…

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Uterine fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that grow on the uterus, are common in women of child-bearing age. In fact, they may affect up to 25% of all women, and between 30% and 40% or those in the perimenopausal age range [as young as 30 and to age 44], according to E.A. Stewart in the 2015 article “Uterine Fibroids,” in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Many times, the fibroids have no symptoms at all. However, as they grow, they can put pressure on your organs, causing pain and other symptoms. Sometimes, they can make it difficult for you to get pregnant…

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We all know that most exercise is good exercise. With spring weather rolling in, you may want to know that stepping outside can enhance the benefits of your workout. Being  outside can lower stress and hypertension and improve cardiac function and immunity. It also provides your body with vitamin D and can help you fall asleep faster when it’s time for bed. If walking and running aren’t your speed or you’re looking to mix it up, MedShadow has suggestions for how to get in a workout, while soaking up the benefits of the great outdoors. Dig into gardening. You engage…

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Two recently authorized antiviral drugs designed to protect against the most severe outcomes of COVID-19 may be game-changers during the ongoing pandemic. Those benefits may come at a cost, however. It’s crucial that you and your healthcare providers understand these drugs’ potential side effects, so you use them as safely as possible. “Obviously, if you’ve got a serious case of COVID, you need to be treated,” despite the risk of side effects says Katherine Seley-Radtke, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. How Effective Are They? Both drugs, Lagevrio (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and…

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Shalamar suffered from chronic insomnia. She couldn’t fall asleep after her late-night shifts as a server at a New York City bar. To address the insomnia, she sought advice from a psychiatrist who prescribed pills and told her to take them both at night and in the morning. She thought it was odd that she would need to take a pill to help her sleep during the day, but her doctor said that is how the medicine worked. She followed the doctor’s recommendations, though. “It did help me to sleep. I slept like a rock,” she says.  What her doctor…

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