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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3:21am

Mon December 3, 2012
Shots - Health News

Text Messages Help Smokers Kick The Habit

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 11:21 am

In the U.K.-based program called Txt2stop, researchers sent smokers encouraging text messages, like the one above, to help them quit.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Some good news about texting: A review of studies published by the Cochrane Collaboration finds that smokers trying to quit the habit are helped in a big way by supportive messages sent via text.

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3:26am

Mon November 19, 2012
Shots - Health News

Can You Move It And Work It On A Treadmill Desk?

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:38 am

Employees at at Salo, a Minneapolis-based financial consulting firm, walk while working on treadmill desks. The firm offers treadmill desks for employee use and encourages an active workplace environment.
Salo LLC

As we've reported, there's a backlash brewing to sedentary office life as more people realize how sitting all day can do a body wrong.

I work at home and often sit in front of my computer doing research and writing. So I thought I'd give a treadmill desk a try.

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5:07pm

Wed November 14, 2012
Shots - Health News

Recurring Lyme Disease Rash Caused By Reinfection, Not Relapse

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:30 pm

Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks like this one. A study finds that some people can be reinfected many times with the bacteria that cause the disease.
Lauree Feldman Getty Creative Images

In recent years, a disease spread by ticks has become more common across the country.

Lyme disease causes a skin rash, and in some cases, more serious symptoms. The rash usually goes away with antibiotics, but some people say they have other symptoms that persist for months or years.

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3:28am

Mon October 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Doctors Strike Mutating Bacteria In Teen Acne Battle

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:59 am

A tiny bacteriophage virus can cripple the bacteria that cause troublesome acne on teens' skin.
Charles Bowman University of Pittsburgh

Acne, the scourge of many an adolescent life, is getting harder to treat, but 80 percent of teenagers have some form of it.

Conventional treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics. Studies are now finding the bacteria that cause acne are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Alternatively, there are effective laser treatments. But these are costly and typically not covered by insurance.

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3:06am

Mon October 8, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

When Should Seniors Hang Up The Car Keys?

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 4:35 am

More elderly drivers will hit the road in the next decade, but family members wonder: When is it time for elderly loved ones to move to the passenger seat?
Martin Novak iStockphoto.com

With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.

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3:22am

Mon September 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Two New Drugs May Help In Fight Against Obesity

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 11:59 am

Doctors may recommend that obese patients use weight-loss drugs to trick their hunger pangs.
iStockphoto.com

The Food and Drug Administration approved two new medications this year to help obese and overweight individuals lose weight.

Diet drugs have been around in different forms for a while, but now researchers hope one of these two might actually help make a dent in the obesity epidemic.

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3:29am

Mon September 10, 2012
The Salt

Low And Slow May Be The Way To Go When It Comes To Dieting

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:09 pm

Eating low-glycemic foods, or foods that take longer to digest, may help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Robyn Mackenzie iStockphoto.com

If you're dieting, you know you've got to count calories, carbs and fats. But if you really want to take off the weight and keep it off, you might want to pay more attention to the glycemic index, which is essentially a measure of how quickly foods are digested.

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10:14am

Fri September 7, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

X-Ray Tests May Heighten Cancer Risk In Susceptible Women

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:53 pm

Mammograms may pose a particular risk to women with genetic mutations that predispose them to breast cancer.
Bill Branson National Cancer Institute

Researchers report that women with genetic mutations that put them at dramatically increased risk of developing breast cancer may also face a heightened risk from radiation used during medical screening and diagnosis.

The imaging tools that help doctors identify disease, injury or damage to the body have long been known to carry some risk of cancer, in large part because ionizing radiation can damage the genetic material in the body.

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3:24am

Mon August 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Sleepless Nights May Put The Aging Brain At Risk Of Dementia

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 10:55 am

If you're having trouble sleeping, researchers say you should resist the urge to keep checking the time.
mrsmuckers iStockphoto.com

As we age, our sleep patterns change. We've all heard the complaints: "I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep!"

Some sleep experts estimate that as many as 40 percent of older adults suffer sleeping problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia. Now, researchers have found a link between disrupted sleep and cognitive decline.

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3:29am

Mon August 13, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Too Much Calcium Could Cause Kidney, Heart Problems, Researchers Say

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 9:08 am

Federal health officials recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for people younger than 50, but some are overdoing it.
iStockphoto.com

When it comes to a healthy diet — especially for women, and especially after menopause — nutritionists, doctors, everybody it seems, will tell you: calcium, calcium, calcium.

Federal health officials recommend that women and men younger than 50 consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. The recommendation goes up to 1,200 milligrams after age 70 for men and after menopause for women, when a major drop in estrogen causes bone loss.

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4:56am

Mon July 30, 2012
Health

Cheer Up, It's Just Your Child Behind The Wheel

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:41 pm

When it comes to learning how to drive, your teen is probably as harried as you are. Research shows that scare tactics meant to instill caution, though, are less effective than kind words.
iStockphoto.com

One rite of passage most teenagers look forward to and parents dread is learning how to drive. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens by far, on the order of five times more than poisoning or cancer. Does that mean you should scare the daylights out of teens to encourage safe driving? Traditional driver education classes tend to do exactly that, with gruesome videos and photos of fatalities and smashed-up cars.

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3:25am

Mon July 16, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Is HIV Still A Death Sentence? Young People Weigh In

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 8:11 am

Young activists distribute condoms at an AIDS awareness event in Ashbury Park, N.J.
Charles Sykes AP

Think of this like a snapshot — a few perspectives of HIV-negative 20-somethings.

To start, we posted the following query on NPR's Facebook page:

"Thirty years ago, a positive HIV status was considered a death sentence. As treatments for the disease have advanced over the past three decades, we're wondering how younger people view the disease today."

Hundreds of people e-mailed and commented with their reactions. We also gathered reactions from young folks we met on the street.

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2:57am

Mon June 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Many Migraines Can Be Prevented With Treatments, But Few Use Them

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 11:36 am

A promising crop of new migraine treatments could alleviate the suffering of millions of Americans.
iStockphoto.com

Millions of Americans suffer from migraine headaches so severe they miss work, social gatherings and important family events.

But that doesn't have to be the case, according to Charles Flippen, a University of California, Los Angeles, neurologist and researcher. "Everyone says, 'Oh, well, everyone has headaches,' so they just push through and suffer in silence," says Flippen.

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3:03am

Mon June 18, 2012
The Salt

Is The Coconut Water Craze All It's Cracked Up To Be?

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 12:48 pm

John Gordon Gauld, a 35-year old artist, bikes with coconut water in New York City.
Jacob Anderson

You've probably seen them in the grocery store — cans of coconut water with their come-hither photos of young, green coconuts, tops sheared off, a straw poking out, and blue and green boxes that evoke cool, tropical breezes. Some vendors even sell the real thing. Artist John Gordon Gauld enjoys fresh coconut water when he's thirsty after biking through New York City.

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4:31am

Mon June 11, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

To Sniff Out Childhood Allergies, Researchers Head To The Farm

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 11:11 am

Contact with animals and dirty environments may be one reason farm kids are less likely to get allergies, researchers say.
iStockphoto.com

Allergies are on the rise these days, especially in children. Nearly half of all kids are now allergic to something, be it food, animals, or plants. Federal health officials say that rate is two to five times higher than it was 30 years ago.

And as researchers are trying to understand why, they're increasingly looking at kids who grow up on farms.

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