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

What’s in your supplements?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Millions of Americans take some kind of supplement, but because supplements are not regulated like prescription drugs are, taking one is not always safe. Researchers have found many instances of hidden ingredients and inaccurate quantities listed on the label.

In defense of French fries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers found that frequent consumers of French fries don’t live as long as those who eat them less often, but as is often the case, the conclusion only tells part of the story. Are French fries really a “death food”? Not necessarily, and probably not.

Alternative therapies for cancer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of two million people receiving cancer treatment found that those who chose a complementary treatment along with conventional treatment had less successful outcomes (did not live as long).

Does weather affect arthritis pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The question of whether there is a link between weather and aches and pains has been studied extensively, and so far researchers have been unable to establish a connection. So why do plenty of people insist that they can “feel” the weather?

Can watching sports be bad for your health?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It probably doesn’t seem like watching a sporting event would be a health hazard, and for most people that’s true. However, just watching a game at home on TV can cause a person’s heart rate and blood pressure to rise, which could be dangerous for someone with cardiovascular disease.

Surgeons are doing fewer knee surgeries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Arthroscopic surgery is very effective for certain knee conditions but less so for others. That didn’t stop orthopedists from recommending them, but based on data from Florida this may be changing.

Coffee may help your skin stay healthy

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The cause of the skin condition rosacea is unknown, but some believe that immune system function plays a role. A new study found that women who had significant daily coffee consumption were less likely to be diagnosed with rosacea, but there is no proof that the connection is causal.

Where people die

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Most people would prefer not to die in a hospital if possible, though it’s not something people want to think about. While deaths of hospital patients, and those in emergency rooms, have been on the decline, end-of-life care and advance planning are still important considerations.

Is Coca-Cola really putting pot in its beverages?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

News reports that Coca-Cola is considering offering a beverage containing cannabis or one of its derivatives were definitely exaggerated, but the “functional wellness” portion of the beverage market is growing, and other companies are considering products containing cannabidiol.

Conflict of interest in medicine

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Disclosing potential concerns regrading conflict of interest is considered essential for the integrity of medical research, but practicing physicians also face ethical issues. Some people think these concerns are not noteworthy or significant, while others expect maximum transparency from those who treat them.