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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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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3:48am

Fri May 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Need A Nurse? You May Have To Wait

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:15 pm

Some fear that with rising medical costs and an aging population, the country's nursing staff will be stretched too thin.
iStockphoto.com

Nurses are the backbone of the hospital — just ask pretty much any doctor or patient. But a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 34 percent of patients hospitalized for at least one night in the past year said "nurses weren't available when needed or didn't respond quickly to requests for help."

Since nurses provide most of the patient care in hospitals, we were surprised at the findings. We wanted to find out more. We wanted to know what was going on from nurses themselves. So we put a call-out on Facebook.

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3:27am

Mon May 14, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Doctors' Due Diligence: Measuring Kids' Blood Pressure

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 8:37 am

Doctors often overlook taking a child's blood pressure during routine visits.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

There have been hints that the obesity epidemic's rise has slowed a bit among certain populations, but for the most part, it continues to dominate American health. One third of children and teenagers are now overweight or obese. And researchers forecast as many as half of our nation's population could be obese — not overweight but obese — by 2030.

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3:40am

Mon April 23, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Swaddling and Shushing Help Soothe Babies After Vaccinations

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:57 am

I could use some shushing and swaddling right about now.
iStockphoto.com

Imagine you're a happy baby, off with your folks to visit the doctor.

"They're probably thinking, 'Oh hi everybody, hi!' and suddenly — boom! A shot," says John Harrington, a pediatrician in Norfolk, Va.

Who wouldn't scream at that?

But Harrington says that the same techniques used to soothe a fussy baby can also help an infant overcome the pain of vaccinations.

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3:17am

Mon April 16, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Why Women Suffer More Migraines Than Men

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 8:52 am

A vintage ad for a headache remedy plays to women.
The National Library of Medicine

One in four women has had a migraine. And, it turns out, the debilitating headaches affect three times more women than men.

But why?

Decades ago, these headaches were attributed to women's inability to cope with stress, a sort of hysteria. Now experts are starting to figure out the factors that really make a difference.

Today scientists know a migraine is all in your head — but not in that old-fashioned sense. Migraines are biologically based, and they play themselves out as a wave of electrical activity traveling across the brain.

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12:01am

Mon March 26, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Facebook May Not Be So Friendly For Those With Low Self-Esteem

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 8:44 am

Low self-esteem and Facebook aren't the best mix.
iStockphoto.com

Posting on Facebook is an easy way to connect with people, but it also can be a means to alienate them. That can be particularly troublesome for those with low self-esteem.

People with poor self-image tend to view the glass as half empty. They complain a bit more than everyone else, and they often share their negative views and feelings when face to face with friends and acquaintances.

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12:01am

Mon March 12, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Gain Together, Lose Together: The Weight-Loss 'Halo' Effect

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 5:19 pm

Studies show that friends and family gain weight — and lose weight — together.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Here's another good reason to lose weight: It might benefit your friends, family and co-workers. Such altruism might be just the final "nudge" some of us need.

Researchers are finding that the friends and family of obese and overweight individuals who lose weight lost weight themselves, and sometimes a lot of it. Dr. John Morton, who directs Bariatric Surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, calls obesity a "family disease."

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12:01am

Mon February 20, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Does Tylenol Worsen Asthma For Kids?

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:50 pm

Dr. John McBride examines 9-month-old Martez after his mother, Ceasha Moorer, brought him in to check on his asthma.
Courtesy of Karen Schaefer

Parents and doctors around the world have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in childhood asthma.

One factor in the upswing is better detection by doctors, but at least one doctor thinks a common over-the-counter drug also has something to do with it.

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12:01am

Thu February 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:35 pm

In a study, patients with Parkinson's disease, a progressive nervous-system disorder, had fewer falls after taking up Tai Chi.
iStockphoto

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art involving slow and rhythmic movement, has been shown to benefit older people by maintaining balance and strength. Now, researchers have found that tai chi also helps patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease.

Leona Maricle was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago. At the time, she was teaching math, and she says she had experienced the telltale tremors of Parkinson's for a number of years. She learned how to cope.

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12:01am

Mon February 6, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

The 'Morning After' Pill: How It Works And Who Uses It

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 11:52 am

Plan B is available over the counter for people 17 and older.
AP

Access to emergency contraception has swirled at the center of a recent flurry of debate over insurance coverage. It's a pill women can take if their birth control fails or they forget to use it.

The most popular brand of emergency contraception is called "Plan B One-Step." You might better know it as the morning-after pill. Today, about 10 percent of sexually active women say they've used it.

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5:35pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Start Early To Curb Heart Risks For A Lifetime

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:03 pm

Yvan Dub iStockphoto.com

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. But who's at the most risk?

A study in the lastest New England Journal of Medicine offers a simple way to predict the risk of a fatal or debilitating heart attack or stroke for a middle-aged person over the rest of his or her life.

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