Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert Shmerling, M.D., is associate physician and clinical chief of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an associate professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is an active teacher in the Internal Medicine Residency Program, serving as the Robinson Firm Chief. He is also a teacher in the Rheumatology Fellowship Program and has been a practicing rheumatologist for over 25 years.


Posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Health benefits of walnuts

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The benefits of nuts on cardiovascular health have been known for some time, but an analysis of multiple trials found particular health benefits of walnuts. The data showed that people who ate a diet enriched with walnuts had lower cholesterol than those who ate a standard diet.

Sorting out the health effects of alcohol

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

There is evidence that there are beneficial effects of alcohol in moderate amounts, but an analysis of drinkers found that the current guidelines in the US might be associated with a slightly shorter life expectancy for some people.

Top searches on health topics? It may depend on where you live

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The results of online searches on health topics vary greatly from state to state, even though common conditions occur everywhere.

Health benefits of coffee and a proposed warning label

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A chemical produced during the process of roasting coffee is considered potentially harmful, but the amounts are small, and the potential health benefits of drinking coffee are likely to outweigh any potential risk.

How long will my hip or knee replacement last?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Anyone who needs a knee or hip replacement wants to know if it will be permanent, or if the replacement will need to be replaced at some point. While this is impossible to predict, and many factors affect longevity of replacement joints, data from past surgeries can help give some idea of what a person can expect.

Autoimmune disease and stress: Is there a link?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

An observational study found that people diagnosed with stress-related disorders were more likely to develop an autoimmune disease, but was unable to provide proof of a directly causal relationship.

Rethinking the screening mammogram

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

An analysis of women receiving a routine screening mammogram suggests that the benefits of this testing are not as significant as previously believed. However, a woman’s decision to get tested or not depends on many factors and it is worth a conversation with her doctor about the risks and benefits of screening.

Dogs and health: A lower risk for heart disease-related death?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A Swedish study found a new connection between dogs and health–people who own dogs tend to live longer and have a lower risk of death from a cardiovascular event than those who do not. But the study did not prove that dog ownership is the reason for the advantage.

Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Research continues to explore the connection between fertility and diet. There is some evidence that what you eat can help increase your chances of getting pregnant, but right now the specific advice is simple. If you’re trying to conceive, eat a basic healthy diet, take prenatal vitamins, and talk with your doctor for preconception advice.

Could medications contribute to dementia?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study found that people over 65 who were taking an anticholinergic medication (drugs that block the chemical messenger acetylcholine) were more likely to eventually be diagnosed with dementia, but these results don’t show that this class of drugs definitively causes dementia.