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 up with hiccups?

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

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 Publishing

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 Publishing

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 Publishing

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 Publishing

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.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise?

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

A study of endurance athletes who took ibuprofen during marathon running raises questions about the wisdom of ibuprofen during exercise, and in addition that people with kidney disease may want to exercise caution when taking these medications.

Keeping your smartphone nearby may not be so smart

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

As many as 75% of adults in the US own a smartphone. While these devices may make life more efficient, experiments with groups of college students suggest that keeping your smartphone out of sight can make it easier to focus on demanding mental tasks.

Type 2 diabetes: Value of home blood sugar monitoring unclear

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

A small study suggests that routine home testing of blood sugar may not improve control or quality of life. However, more and longer studies are needed to know whether the results apply to all individuals with type 2 diabetes.

This just in: Exercise is good for you

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

If you are trying to follow the recommended guidelines for physical activity, the best way to spend your time may be running, but a study of commuters found that those who walked or bicycled to work also had lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

How to get people to eat more vegetables: Change how you describe them

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

Researchers tested the appeal of vegetables by using different types of labels to describe them in a college cafeteria setting. They found that more evocative and colorful descriptions encouraged greater consumption than ones that highlighted the nutritional aspects.