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

Cryotherapy: Can it stop your pain cold?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Cryotherapy is a relatively new type treatment for sore muscles. It involves stepping into an extremely cold room or chamber for a few minutes. Some people say cryotherapy is effective and offers many benefits. But is it worth your time and money?

Celebrities get shingles, too

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, though it can be dormant in a person for decades before flaring up suddenly. Not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles, but it is more common in those who are older or who have a weakened immune system.

Are you taking too much anti-inflammatory medication?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used and generally safe, but they can cause problems, especially if the recommended dosage is exceeded. A new study found that a significant percentage of people were doing this, sometimes intentionally but not always.

Where do you stand on bystander CPR?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A survey about CPR found that just over half of those who responded knew how to perform it. Many people are concerned that they will do it wrong, or don’t feel comfortable getting involved, but learning and performing CPR is now easier than before.

Why it’s so hard to lose excess weight and keep it off: The Biggest Losers’ experience

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As a person loses weight, the body reacts by lowering its metabolic rate to conserve energy, an evolutionary adaptation that makes it harder to lose additional weight. A study of participants from The Biggest Loser found that this metabolic adjustment persists for years.

Knowing when to screen… and when to quit

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Medical screening tests can help detect problems before they become hard to treat. Many screening tests are recommended for adults or when a person has certain risk factors. But when should screening stop? A new study examines this issue for colonoscopies.

Dr. Google: The top 10 health searches in 2017

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Do you ever wonder what health questions people research online? We look at the top 10 health searches in Google for 2017 and offer some answers to these questions from hiccups to kidney stones.

Stem-cell transplant: A possible high-risk/high-reward treatment for scleroderma

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Scleroderma is a painful, potentially debilitating autoimmune disease without good treatments. A novel approach to treating severe scleroderma using stem-cell transplantation to “reboot” the immune system shows great promise but not without potentially serious side effects.

Vaccinations: More than just kid stuff

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Some people think that once they reach adulthood they no longer need any vaccinations, but this is not true. Besides an annual flu shot (which everyone should get), adults should get several other vaccinations, and depending on current guidelines, may need an occasional booster shot or a new vaccine.

10 things you can do for your pet when it’s cold outside

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Winter is as challenging for our pets as it is for us, but there is a lot you can do to keep your pets safe and comfortable during the cold months.