About Rachel Wolfson

Rachel Wolfson

Rachel is a third-year MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School. She is originally from Okemos, MI, and graduated from Stanford University in 2011. For her PhD research, she is studying the regulation of cell growth in response to nutrients.

All posts by Rachel Wolfson

Are Long-Acting Beta-Agonists Safe to Add to Treatment Regimens for Asthma in Children?

• August 31st, 2016

Janine is a 9-year-old girl who you’ve been seeing in your clinic for years. She struggles with asthma despite treatment with low-dose inhaled glucocorticoids. You wonder if any other medications can be added to her treatment regimen, and peruse the literature on long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs). The literature is mixed – it seems clear that LABAs,… Read More…


A New Combination Therapy to Help Prevent COPD Exacerbations?

• June 8th, 2016

You walk into your office to see, once again, Mr. Jones, at 64-year-old male who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Mr. Jones is recovering from a recent visit to the ED due to his third COPD exacerbation event this year. He’s frustrated with his recurrent COPD exacerbations, and wants to know if his… Read More…


COPD Is Not the Whole Story

• May 11th, 2016

Many diagnostic guidelines use black or white parameters – either patients meet the criteria and have the disease, or they don’t. While guidelines like this can be useful for developing clear definitions, in practice many patients fall within a gray area. The current diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), for example, relies on spirometry… Read More…


Another LEAP Forward: Testing the Stability of Peanut Tolerance after Early Peanut Exposure

• March 7th, 2016

Over the past few decades, allergies have been on the rise worldwide, particularly in the United States. Immunotherapy (or allergy shots), in which incremental exposure to allergens sensitizes the immune system to the allergen, have been effective for some allergies, such as dust mites. For food allergies, the effectiveness of oral exposure in infancy to… Read More…


Inhaled corticosteroids for neonatal BPD: The jury is still out

• October 14th, 2015

As neonatologists have been able save more babies that have born prematurely, the problem of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) has loomed larger. BPD occurs in preterm infants (born at less than 28 weeks of gestation) or in infants with extremely low birth weight (less than 1000 grams at birth). It stems from a variety of factors,… Read More…


Loss of FEV1 and the pathogenesis of COPD

• July 8th, 2015

For years, the dominant model for the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been that exposure to particulate matter (usually tobacco smoke) leads to a rapid decline in lung function, i.e., more than 40ml of FEV1 per year. This paradigm has recently come into question, but a careful study to test this model… Read More…


High-Flow Oxygen Therapy: a Lifesaver for Patients with Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure

• June 2nd, 2015

For hospitalists and residents across the country, this is an all too familiar scenario: a 60-year-old man is admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Unfortunately, his course is complicated by acute hypoxemic respiratory failure secondary to the pneumonia, and he is transferred to the ICU. Physicians would like to avoid intubation if possible due to… Read More…


Incentive Programs to Urge Smokers to Quit: Lessons from Behavioral Science

• May 13th, 2015

Many of the major public health issues currently threatening our population, including smoking and obesity, require lifestyle and behavioral changes. Effecting these changes in patients has been challenging, but a deeper understanding of the forces that drive human behavior could inspire the design of better programs leading to behavioral change. For example, behavioral scientists have… Read More…


Less is not more for TB treatment

• October 22nd, 2014

Shorter regimens fail to be non-inferior to the standard tuberculosis treatment plans One third of the world’s population is currently infected with tuberculosis (TB), and, in 2012, there were 1.3 million TB-related deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Moreover, in 2012, 450,000 people worldwide developed multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB), which is resistant to at… Read More…


Dupilumab as a Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis

• July 9th, 2014

For thousands of years, our knowledge of medications has largely been based on trial and error: we haphazardly used substances and learned from the effects. Within the last half a century, however, rational drug design slowly took to the forefront as scientific discoveries improved our understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of diseases. While there have… Read More…