Laura Broadwell

Laura Broadwell is a health writer and editor in Brooklyn, New York, with an interest in complementary and integrative medicine.

(While MedShadow.org primarily focuses on side effects of prescription drugs, we also like to highlight effective alternative therapies. Acupuncture appears to have few side effects and may help alleviate or treat a number of conditions, including pain, infertility, ADHD, nausea, anxiety, insomnia and osteoarthritis. Many patients can also lower their dependence on prescription drugs by using acupuncture.) Considering Acupuncture About a year after her son Dominic was born, Erin Perrotta and her husband began trying for a second child. Erin, then 33, was able to conceive easily the first time around, so she expected no problems whatsoever. But four years…

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The natural plant turmeric has many curative powers but must be used carefully to avoid unintended, even dangerous, side effects. Even though it’s been called a “miracle root,” the “spice of life,” and a promising cure for everything from arthritis to digestive issues to diabetes, turmeric supplements are not a panacea for everyone. According to Ania Grimone, LAc, CH, an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine, side effects of turmeric tend to be mild and can include nausea, stomach upsets, or aggravation of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) symptoms. But some people should…

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Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors develop in the breast, often in the lobules (the milk-producing glands) or in the ducts (the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple). As cancer cells reproduce, they can invade the lymph nodes and blood vessels near the original tumor and spread — or metastasize — to other parts of the body, damaging tissue and other organs. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, although men can get it too. Stats About 1 in 8 women in the US (13%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. In 2020, about…

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Before I hit menopause, I rarely—if ever—took prescription drugs. If I had a bad headache or cramps, I reached for the Advil. Extra-strength Tylenol got me through oral surgery. Claritin solved the issues of my occasional springtime allergies. But when I entered menopause at age 52, I was so overcome by the symptoms, I’m not sure I would have survived without HRT (hormone replacement therapy). I experienced my first signs of menopause on a cool spring night four years ago. I was lying in bed, my window open just a crack, when suddenly I awoke drenched in sweat. My body…

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These resources will help you find the answers you need when your doctor hands you a prescription. Your doctor hands you a prescription. Now what? You’re wondering if your doctor didn’t tell you all there was to know about the side effects of this new drug or you’re worried that there was an important question you forgot to ask. Or you’ve started a new prescription and now you feel dizzy or nauseated. Is this normal? Like many people, you turn to the Internet (or other sources) for information about drug side effects and find yourself inundated with material. What do…

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Sunbathers in Europe and other parts of the world have for years slathered on sunscreens with the most advanced skin cancer-fighting protection and nontoxic ingredients. But these products are not available in the United States, because the FDA — due largely to regulatory delays and lack of resources — has been slow to approve new sunscreen filters. According to the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition, a newly formed advocacy group, the last time the FDA approved a new over-the-counter sunscreen filter was in the 1990s. Since 2002, 8 pending ingredients have been awaiting FDA approval. Four of these — Tinosorb S, Tinosorb…

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When Mina Larson, the deputy director of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), found out she had Crohn’s disease, she opted not to take either of the two pharmaceutical drugs recommended to her and instead followed a well-designed herbal regimen to treat her illness. Laura Broadwell, former Features Editor for MedShadow, interviewed Larson to learn more about the thinking and results of that decision. Here is Larson’s herbal remedy story. When were you diagnosed with Crohn’s disease? What were your symptoms? I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2013. The following year, I got an…

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Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a natural antioxidant made by our bodies and found in foods such as fatty fish (salmon and tuna), meats and chicken, peanuts, and canola and soybean oils. Our bodies need CoQ-10 to protect cells, reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, and convert food into energy. But as we age, our levels of CoQ-10 start to diminish. Certain drugs such as statins (used to lower cholesterol) and beta-blockers (for high blood pressure) can also decrease our CoQ-10 levels, as can health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. (CoQ-10 levels can be…

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The alternative cigarettes are analyzed on their harmful and helpful effects Originally a Chinese invention, e-cigarettes hit the U.S. market in 2006, and sales of the tobacco-less cigarettes have skyrocketed. An estimated 3.6 million Americans are e-cigarette users, and online and retails sales of e-cigarettes are expected to reach $1.7 billion by the end of 2013, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. Hailed by some as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and a potential smoking-cessation device, e-cigarettes have become quite controversial as public health officials pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to curb the sale and marketing…

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