Patti Neighmond

Award-winning journalist Patti Neighmond is NPR's health policy correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

Based in Los Angeles, Neighmond has covered health care policy since April 1987. She joined NPR's staff in 1981, covering local New York City news as well as the United Nations. In 1984, she became a producer for NPR's science unit and specialized in science and environmental issues.

Neighmond has earned a broad array of awards for her reporting. In 1993, she received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of health reform. That same year she received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for a story on a young quadriplegic who convinced Georgia officials that she could live at home less expensively and more happily than in a nursing home. In 1990 she won the World Hunger Award for a story about healthcare and low-income children. Neighmond received two awards in 1989: a George Polk Award for her powerful ten-part series on AIDS patient Archie Harrison, who was taking the anti-viral drug AZT; and a Major Armstrong Award for her series on the Canadian health care system. The Population Institute, based in Washington, DC, has presented its radio documentary award to Neighmond twice: in 1988 for "Family Planning in India" and in 1984 for her coverage of overpopulation in Mexico. Her 1987 report "AIDS and Doctors" won the National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism, and her two-part series on the aquaculture industry earned the 1986 American Association for the Advancement of Science Award.

Neighmond began her career in journalism in 1978, at the Pacifica Foundation's Washington D.C. bureau, where she covered Capitol Hill and the White House. She began freelance reporting for NPR from New York City in 1980. Neighmond earned her bachelor's degree in English and drama from the University of Maryland, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

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3:24am

Mon December 15, 2014
Shots - Health News

To Stop Teen Drinking Parties, Fine The Parents

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:53 pm

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

When it comes to teenage drinking, the typical venue is a party — where some teens play drinking games and binge. It may surprise you to learn that the majority of parents are aware that alcohol is flowing at these events.

On any given weekend, some teenagers receive three to four text messages about parties, says Bettina Friese, a public health researcher at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, Calif.

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11:20am

Mon December 8, 2014
Shots - Health News

Doctors Are Slow To Adopt Changes In Breast Cancer Treatment

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:58 pm

New evidence on the effectiveness of medical treatments can take a long time to influence medical practice.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy.

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3:24am

Wed December 3, 2014
Shots - Health News

CDC Considers Counseling Males Of All Ages On Circumcision

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 8:18 am

Draft federal recommendations don't usually raise eyebrows, but this one certainly will — that males of all ages, including teenage boys, should be counseled on the health benefits of circumcision.

In the past 15 years, studies in Africa have found that circumcision lowers men's risk of being infected with HIV during heterosexual intercourse by 50 to 60 percent. Being circumcised also reduces men's risk of infection with the herpes virus and human papillomavirus.

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3:41am

Mon November 17, 2014
Shots - Health News

The Power Of Suggestion Could Trigger Asthma — Or Treat It

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 4:41 pm

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Lots of things can trigger an asthma attack, but one of the most common causes is odor — anything from the heavy scent of perfume to a household cleaner.

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5:37pm

Thu November 6, 2014
Shots - Health News

Flu Season Brings Stronger Vaccines And Revised Advice

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:33 pm

Which flu vaccine should you get? That may depend on your age and your general health.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The symptoms of the flu are familiar: fever, chills, cough, congestion, feeling very, very tired. If you're a healthy adult under 65, you'll most likely recover in a week or two.

But for those older than 65, things can get worse fast, says Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

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4:36am

Mon October 27, 2014
Shots - Health News

Corneal Implants Might Make Reading Glasses Obsolete

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 9:03 am

A corneal inlay next to a contact lens.
Courtesy of John Vukich

For Lori Bandt, who works as a medical technician and an EMT in a suburb of Madison, Wis., the print on vials of medication has become so difficult to read that if she forgets her reading glasses she has to resort to having a younger EMT worker read the directions. The 45-year-old says: "I'm just stuck."

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5:30pm

Thu October 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Women Can Freeze Their Eggs For The Future, But At A Cost

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 6:35 pm

A doctor uses a microscrope to view a human egg during in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is used to fertilize eggs that have been frozen.
Mauro Fermariello ScienceSource

Until recently, freezing a woman's eggs was reserved mainly for young women facing infertility as a result of cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

But recent advances in technology have made freezing eggs easier and more successful, and likely have a lot to do with the recent decisions by Facebook and Apple to offer female employees a health benefit worth up to $20,000 to freeze their eggs.

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3:31am

Mon October 6, 2014
Shots - Health News

Social Media, The New Weapon In The Battle To Lose Weight

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 2:25 pm

Photos from Liz Paul's blog entries on Prior Fat Girl. The blog chronicles women's weight loss journeys.
Courtesy of Liz Paul/PriorFatGirl.com

On a recent Sunday night, Liz Paul was tired. She'd worked in the morning, spent a full day with her family and she did not feel like going out for her daily jog.

"I tweeted out, 'Well, it's 9 p.m. on Sunday and I didn't work out,' " she says, "I really shouldn't go run in the dark should I?"

The response was immediate. The network of people Paul is relying on to help in her battle to lose weight chimed in with advice. Some tweeted back, "Yes, get out and run." Others offered alternatives like a video workout. But everyone said, "Do something!"

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3:30am

Mon September 22, 2014
Shots - Health News

Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:21 am

Keith Negley for NPR

Chronic stress is hazardous to health and can lead to early death from heart disease, cancer and of other health problems. But it turns out it doesn't matter whether the stress comes from major events in life or from minor problems. Both can be deadly.

And it may be that it's not the stress from major life events like divorce, illness and job loss trickled down to everyday life that gets you; it's how you react to the smaller, everyday stress.

The most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death, according to one study that followed 1,293 men for years.

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3:22am

Mon September 8, 2014
Shots - Health News

Cheap Drinks And Risk-Taking Fuel College Drinking Culture

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 10:06 am

Rob Donnelly for NPR

There's no question that alcohol is a factor in the majority of sexual assaults on campus. And alcohol is abundant and very present at most colleges today.

In fact, federal health officials say more than 80 percent of college students drink. And about half say they binge drink. This means more than four drinks for women and more than five drinks for men, within a two-hour time frame.

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3:28am

Mon August 11, 2014
Shots - Health News

A Coping Plan Can Help Fend Off Depression From Vision Loss

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 2:56 pm

One of the scariest parts of advanced macular degeneration can be losing the ability to read facial expressions.
Maria Pavlova iStockphoto

When people lose their vision as they get older, they lose a lot of other things, too. They lose their ability to do the things they love.

"You can't read, you can't cook, and you can't socialize — and as a result, you may become demoralized, withdrawn and depressed," says Dr. Barry Rovner, a geriatric psychiatrist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

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3:17am

Mon August 4, 2014
Shots - Health News

What Makes Us Fat: Is It Eating Too Much Or Moving Too Little?

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 11:35 am

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

We're constantly hearing messages that we're eating too much and not moving around enough. Now researchers suggest that we're actually not eating more than we did 20 years ago, it's that we're much less active. And that includes not just middle-aged workers tied to their desks, but also young men and women who spend their days sitting in front of their laptops.

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5:00am

Mon July 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:37 pm

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

We know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial.

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4:43pm

Mon July 21, 2014
Shots - Health News

High-Performing Charter Schools May Improve Students' Health

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:47 pm

Researchers are just starting to look at how school choice affects health.
romester/iStockphoto

Many people are intensely interested in how publicly funded charter schools affect children, and that includes not just their academic achievement but their health.

Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. wanted to know whether attending a high-performing charter school reduced the rates of risky health behaviors among low-income minority teenagers.

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3:28am

Wed July 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Want More Stress In Your Life? Try Parenting A Teenager

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

Amy Myers talks with her son Kamron, 18, in the backyard of their home in Boise, Idaho. She has found raising a teenager to be extremely stressful.
Kyle Green for NPR

If anyone can handle the stress of parenting in the teen years, you'd think it would be a high school teacher.

That's how Amy Myers felt. She teaches high school English in a suburb of Boise, Idaho, where she says she has "pseudo parented" about 3,000 teenagers "who I have talked to, given advice to, guided, directed, even lectured about teenage issues," she says.

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