WBUR Staff

Rachel Zimmerman

Reporter, CommonHealth, WBUR

Rachel Zimmerman worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 10 years, most recently at the Boston bureau covering health and medicine. She’s also written for The New York Times, the (now-defunct) Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the alternative paper Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon, among other publications. She is the co-author of “The Doula Guide To Birth,” published by Bantam/Random House. In 2008, she spent the year as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. Rachel lives in Cambridge with her two daughters.

Recent stories

Exercise Addiction: How To Know If You’ve Crossed The Line Between Health And Obsession

May 20, 2016
Experts say it’s tricky to determine precisely how many people struggle with exercise addiction because it can masquerade behind socially acceptable intentions like getting fit at the gym. (Courtesy of Scott Webb/Unsplash)

If you feel driven to work out daily, and do it even through illness and injury — that could signal a problem. And if you feel guilty, anxious or out of control when you miss a day’s workout, that should be another clue. Also, if your motive in exercising is simply to purge calories, you’ve probably crossed a line.

A Death, And A ‘Changed Life’: Traumatic Births Take Toll On Health Workers Too

April 22, 2016
August 8, 2013: Sarah Jaggar and midwife Stephanie Avila share a moment of gratitude just seconds after the safe arrival of a healthy baby girl. (Photo: Orchard Cove Photography)

In a study, more than one third of the midwives and obstetricians surveyed said that they always would feel some sort of guilt when reflecting on a traumatic birth.

Yes, We’re Mammals, But Is It Wise These Days To Promote Breast-Feeding As ‘Natural’?

April 08, 2016
The authors argue public health officials should think twice about the unintended consequences of calling breast-feeing 'natural' (AP Photo/Michael Sawyer)

Two academics sparked an online backlash recently with a paper on the unintended consequences of public health officials promoting breast-feeding as “natural.”

Endometriosis Linked To Heart Disease, And Why Lena Dunham Might Care

April 01, 2016
lena-dunham-endo

Researchers report that women with endometriosis — abnormal growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus that can cause extreme pain and lead to infertility — have a 60 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Study: Despite Weight Gain, Quitting Smoking Improves Heart Health For Mentally Ill After A Year

March 24, 2016
(kenji.aryan/flickr)

That’s the good news part of the research. The bad news is that if they continue to gain weight, they may lose ground and still end up with heart disease in the long run.

Even Before Pregnancy, Your Health Matters: Mom’s Obesity Linked To Higher Risk Of Baby’s Death

March 18, 2016
(Ernesto Andrade/Flickr)

According to a recent study, there appears to be a robust link between a woman’s weight even before she gets pregnant and her baby’s risk of dying in her first year.

Colonoscopy Culture Clash: Why Am I Getting One When Canada Says Not So Fast?

March 04, 2016
Various colonscopy prep options...none yummy. (Photo: Dr. Ram Chuttani)

Canadian medical professionals recently came out against colonoscopies for routine screening, preferring two other methods that are less invasive. So why are Americans still subjected to them?

Unequal Cancer: Leukemia Study Finds Children In Poverty Face Earlier Relapse

February 25, 2016
(DebMomOf3/Flickr)

Poor children may have worse underlying health, or a harder time with medication adherence, researchers suggest.

New Wellesley President, Dr. Paula Johnson: Advocate For Women’s Health, Access To Care And Beyond

February 12, 2016
Dr. Paula Johnson (Courtesy Wellesley College)

Dr. Johnson is also the first African-American physician from Brigham and Women’s Hospital to be named a Harvard Medical School Professor in the hospital’s 100-year history.

Dementia Cases May Be Declining, Researchers Report, And Improved Heart Health Could Be Key

February 11, 2016
Decima Assise, who has Alzheimer's disease, and Harry Lomping walk the halls, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at The Easton Home in Easton, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP)

“With this study, what we’re showing is that we could potentially prevent some cases or delay the onset of [dementia] with improved cardiovascular health,” the lead researcher says.

At 45, Caught Between Mammograms

November 17, 2009

New research says most women under 50 don’t need routine mammograms. That’s confusing news to a 45-year-old woman whose recent mammogram turned up a calcification.

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