WBUR Staff

Rachel Zimmerman

Reporter, CommonHealth, WBUR

Rachel Zimmerman worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 10 years, most recently at the Boston bureau covering health and medicine. She’s also written for The New York Times, the (now-defunct) Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the alternative paper Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon, among other publications. She is the co-author of “The Doula Guide To Birth,” published by Bantam/Random House. In 2008, she spent the year as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. Rachel lives in Cambridge with her two daughters.

Recent stories

Bad Allergies, Yes. Worst Boston Year Ever? Experts Say No, But Perfect Storm Of Trees, Grass, Mold

June 01, 2016
"At this moment there's a lot of tree pollen in the air and a lot of grass pollen in the air," says Dr. Maria Castells, an allergist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. (Courtesy Lukasz Szmigiel/Unsplash)

“This year is definitely causing symptoms — like other years in the past,” says Dr. Anna Kovalszki. “But every year I have patients who say, ‘this is the worst year ever.’ ”

Exercise Addiction: How To Know If You’ve Crossed The Line Between Health And Obsession

May 20, 2016
Experts say it’s tricky to determine precisely how many people struggle with exercise addiction because it can masquerade behind socially acceptable intentions like getting fit at the gym. (Courtesy of Scott Webb/Unsplash)

If you feel driven to work out daily, and do it even through illness and injury — that could signal a problem. And if you feel guilty, anxious or out of control when you miss a day’s workout, that should be another clue. Also, if your motive in exercising is simply to purge calories, you’ve probably crossed a line.

A Death, And A ‘Changed Life’: Traumatic Births Take Toll On Health Workers Too

April 22, 2016

In a study, more than one third of the midwives and obstetricians surveyed said that they always would feel some sort of guilt when reflecting on a traumatic birth.

Yes, We’re Mammals, But Is It Wise These Days To Promote Breast-Feeding As ‘Natural’?

April 08, 2016

Two academics sparked an online backlash recently with a paper on the unintended consequences of public health officials promoting breast-feeding as “natural.”

Endometriosis Linked To Heart Disease, And Why Lena Dunham Might Care

April 01, 2016

Researchers report that women with endometriosis — abnormal growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus that can cause extreme pain and lead to infertility — have a 60 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Study: Despite Weight Gain, Quitting Smoking Improves Heart Health For Mentally Ill After A Year

March 24, 2016

That’s the good news part of the research. The bad news is that if they continue to gain weight, they may lose ground and still end up with heart disease in the long run.

Even Before Pregnancy, Your Health Matters: Mom’s Obesity Linked To Higher Risk Of Baby’s Death

March 18, 2016

According to a recent study, there appears to be a robust link between a woman’s weight even before she gets pregnant and her baby’s risk of dying in her first year.

Colonoscopy Culture Clash: Why Am I Getting One When Canada Says Not So Fast?

March 04, 2016

Canadian medical professionals recently came out against colonoscopies for routine screening, preferring two other methods that are less invasive. So why are Americans still subjected to them?

Unequal Cancer: Leukemia Study Finds Children In Poverty Face Earlier Relapse

February 25, 2016

Poor children may have worse underlying health, or a harder time with medication adherence, researchers suggest.

New Wellesley President, Dr. Paula Johnson: Advocate For Women’s Health, Access To Care And Beyond

February 12, 2016
Dr. Paula Johnson (Courtesy Wellesley College)

Dr. Johnson is also the first African-American physician from Brigham and Women’s Hospital to be named a Harvard Medical School Professor in the hospital’s 100-year history.

At 45, Caught Between Mammograms

November 17, 2009

New research says most women under 50 don’t need routine mammograms. That’s confusing news to a 45-year-old woman whose recent mammogram turned up a calcification.

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