First Person


Dietary Changes, Not Methotrexate, Kept My RA Under Control

March 21, 2019

Angela started experiencing significant side effects after starting methotrexate. She found that a change in diet, rather than medication, was the best treatment.

Our Bodies, Ourselves and DES Action: 40 Years of Partnership

April 17, 2018

MedShadow’s sister organization, DES Action USA, has worked with The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (now OBOS) from its beginning in 1978.

No One Is Immune… Woody’s Story Could Be Yours

April 12, 2018
No One Is Immune… Woody’s Story Could Be Yours

In 2003, Woody was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft for insomnia. He wasn’t depressed. A matter of weeks after starting the drug, he committed suicide.

The FDA Has It Wrong on Kratom: How the Herb is Helping People Like Me

April 5, 2018
The FDA Has It Wrong on Kratom: How the Herb is Helping People Like Me

Kratom has gotten a lot of attention lately. The FDA claims the herb is potentially as addictive as opioids. But kratom’s defenders say it has helped them immensely. Here is one kratom user’s story.

The Dark Side of Medications

January 18, 2018
The Dark Side of Medications

By Cynthia Brown

Everyone has a story about the negative side effects of taking medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter. But when it happens to you as a patient in the hospital, the last place you would think of this happening, it gives you pause. At least it did for me. Continue Reading →

I Got a Flu Shot, and So Should You

October 25, 2017

Healthy for you and free (your insurance will pay for it). What could be better?

Can a Pill Prevent Breast Cancer? For Some Women, the Answer May Be Yes

September 14, 2017
Jennifer L.W. Fink

The author has a family history of breast cancer. To minimize her risk of developing it, she is taking the drug tamoxifen. Is this chemoprevention worth it?

How Antidepressants Robbed Me of a Year of My Life

September 7, 2016

After suffering terrifying side effects, British documentarian & author Katinka Blackford Newman now helps others through her own story and a web campaign.

Resurgence of Measles, Pertussis Fueled by Vaccine Refusals

March 23, 2016
Resurgence of Measles, Pertussis Fueled by Vaccine Refusals

I was born in 1950 and was home-schooled until the 6th grade. Thus, I missed exposure to several childhood illnesses that affected most of my generation. I never gave it much thought until, as a medical resident in North Carolina in 1979, I came down with a potentially life-threatening febrile Continue Reading →

How Meditation Helps My Patients Heal

June 4, 2015

Doctors. When you think of them, what comes to mind? Stethoscopes, white coats, pills?  What if there were a new kind of doctor? One who prescribes meditation, yoga, and other contemplative practices, rather than (or in addition to) doling out medication? More and more doctors are taking an integrative approach in their practices, offering patients alternative therapies to address a multitude of health problems. Here’s how meditation has helped my patients and suggestions on how it might help you. Continue Reading →

Chinese Herbs – Not Rx Meds – to Treat My Crohn’s Disease

April 16, 2015
Chinese Herbs for Crohn's Disease

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. Continue Reading →

All in This Together: Why I Vaccinate My Kids

February 12, 2015

Last week, when I took both my sons to the pediatrician for their annual check-ups,  (I double ‘em up, since their birthdays are close together), I was faced with a choice: Should my younger son, 10, get his TDaP (Tetanus, Diptheria, Acellular Pertussis) booster? The only reason our pediatrician recommended it that day was so we wouldn’t have to come back in less than a year when my younger son is ready to enter 6th grade, when this booster is required. He got the shot, as he and his 12-year-old brother have gotten all their immunizations.

Later, looking over the printouts of my children’s vital stats and vaccine schedules, I ran my finger over the shots and the dates Continue Reading →