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

Genetic testing to predict medication side effects

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Genetic testing may help identify when certain people may be at risk of having an adverse reaction to medication. Researchers hope that such testing will eventually be lead to the ability to recommend the most effective medication that has the fewest side effects for a specific person’s condition.

Good news about the HPV vaccine

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

The administration of the HPV vaccine has significantly lowered rates of infection among the population it is intended to protect, as well as among those who have not been vaccinated.

The mysterious rise in knee osteoarthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

It’s tempting to attribute the increasing prevalence of osteoarthritis of the knee to more people being obese or overweight, but researchers found that it’s not quite that simple.

The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Coffee used to be criticized for contributing to a number of health problems, but time and research have disproved most of those beliefs. Now coffee is considered healthy, but as with so many things, moderation is important.

Why does hair turn gray?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

It may be surprising to learn that hair does not “turn gray.” The reason for the loss of hair color is rooted in the cycle of hair growth, death, and regeneration.

What’s up with hiccups?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Hiccups are certainly frustrating, and knowing they serve no bodily purpose does not make them any less pleasant to endure. There are things you can try that may help, but in most cases they will go away after a short time.

For people with MS, can exercise change the brain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Researchers are investigating the possibility that exercise can benefit people with multiple sclerosis. MRI tests on study participants show brain changes that suggest exercise may slow the progression of the disease.

Fish consumption and rheumatoid arthritis: Natural remedy or just another fish tale?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Researchers examining the connection between fish consumption and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis found an association that suggests eating more fish is beneficial.

Right brain/left brain, right?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

The long-held belief that people fall into right-brain and left-brain classifications is based in behaviors or personality traits, but medical evidence does not necessarily support this concept.

Your brain on chocolate

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

When research finds a connection between consumption of high-flavanol dark chocolate and improved brain function, it’s tempting to interpret it as permission to eat a lot of chocolate, but the truth isn’t quite so simple.