Richard Knox

Since he joined NPR in 2000, Knox has covered a broad range of issues and events in public health, medicine, and science. His reports can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Talk of the Nation, and newscasts.

Among other things, Knox's NPR reports have examined the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa, North America, and the Caribbean; anthrax terrorism; smallpox and other bioterrorism preparedness issues; the rising cost of medical care; early detection of lung cancer; community caregiving; music and the brain; and the SARS epidemic.

Before joining NPR, Knox covered medicine and health for The Boston Globe. His award-winning 1995 articles on medical errors are considered landmarks in the national movement to prevent medical mistakes. Knox is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Columbia University. He has held yearlong fellowships at Stanford and Harvard Universities, and is the author of a 1993 book on Germany's health care system.

He and his wife Jean, an editor, live in Boston. They have two daughters.

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5:11pm

Thu July 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

For A Long And Healthy Life, It Matters Where You Live

It's not just living longer that matters. It's living healthier longer.
iStockphoto.com

It's not just how long you live that matters. It's healthy life expectancy – the additional years of good health you can expect once you hit 65.

And by that measure, a new analysis shows it makes a lot of difference where Americans live.

Hawaiians are lucky in more than their idyllic weather and gorgeous scenery. Seniors there can expect a little more than 16 years of healthy life after 65. Women in Hawaii can expect more than 17 years.

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3:17am

Thu July 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

Tuberculosis Outbreak Shakes Wisconsin City

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 7:45 am

Dale Hippensteel, manages the Sheboygan County health department.
Jeffrey Phelps For NPR

Looking crisp and official in his khaki-colored sheriff's department polo shirt, Steve Steinhardt says Sheboygan, Wis., is a pretty good place to be a director of emergency services.

"Nothing bad happens here," he says, knocking on wood. Unless, that is, you count the tuberculosis outbreak that struck the orderly Midwestern city of 50,000 this spring and summer.

"I never expected TB to be one of the bigger emergencies I'd face when I got into this field," Steinhardt says.

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9:04am

Thu June 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

Outbreak In Saudi Arabia Echoes SARS Epidemic 10 Years Ago

Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf on Sunday. In eastern Saudi Arabia, where outbreaks of the MERS virus have been concentrated, people have resumed their habits of shaking hands and kissing.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

A detailed analysis of how the disease called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome spread through four Saudi Arabian hospitals this spring reveals disturbing similarities to the SARS pandemic that terrified the world a decade ago.

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3:10pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Shots - Health News

Vaccine Against HPV Has Cut Infections In Teenage Girls

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination from Judith Schaechter, a pediatrician at the University of Miami, in 2011.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

A vaccine against human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of almost all cervical cancer — is dramatically reducing the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls.

The first vaccine against HPV, Merck's Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. Cerverix, from GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 2009.

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12:53pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Shots - Health News

Prevention Pill Cuts HIV Risk For Injecting Drug Users

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors should prescribe Truvada, a once-a-day pill for HIV, to help prevent infections in IV drug users.
Jeff Chiu AP

A once-a-day pill has been proven to lower the risk of getting HIV among needle-using drug addicts, just as it does among heterosexual couples and men who have sex with men.

Among 2,400 injecting drug users in Bangkok, those assigned to take a daily dose of an antiviral drug Viread, or tenofovir generically, had half the risk of getting HIV over a four-year period as those who took a placebo pill. Among those who took tenofovir faithfully, there were 74 percent fewer infections.

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4:31pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Triple Threat: Middle East Respiratory Virus And 2 Bird Flus

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:11 am

Men outside a hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, wear surgical masks as a precaution against infection with a coronavirus.
Stringer Reuters /Landov

The World Health Organization is warning health care workers everywhere to suspect a disease called Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, whenever they see a case of unexplained pneumonia.

Monday's warning comes at the end of a six-day WHO investigation in Saudi Arabia, where 40 of the 55 cases of the respiratory disease have occurred. Sixty percent of those people with known infections died.

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8:59am

Thu June 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

NIH Chief Rejects Ethics Critique Of Preemie Study

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:26 am

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins contested criticism that researchers running a study of premature infants didn't adequately advise parents about the risks.
Charles Dharapak AP

The chief of the National Institutes of Health is disavowing a ruling from the government office that oversees the ethics of human research.

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2:19am

Tue June 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Obama Administration Seeks To Ease Approvals For Antibiotics

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 5:15 pm

These staph bacteria are resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic that is one of the last lines of defense.
Janice Haney Carr CDC

Every day in hospitals all over America, thousands of patients die of infections that used to be curable. But the antibiotics used to treat them aren't working anymore.

It's called drug resistance, and it's largely a consequence of antibiotics overuse. The more germs are exposed to antibiotics, the faster they mutate to evade being vanquished.

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3:34am

Mon June 3, 2013
Shots - Health News

A Boston Family's Struggle With TB Reveals A Stubborn Foe

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 9:10 am

Michelle Williams (center) and two daughters visit the grave of her mother, Judy Williams, at Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park, Mass., on May 11. Judy died in 2011.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Thanks to gold-standard tuberculosis treatment and prevention programs, cases of TB in the United States have declined every year for the past two decades — to the lowest level ever.

But TB's course through the Williams family in Boston shows that no nation can afford to relax its efforts to find, treat and prevent TB. It's just too sneaky and stubborn an adversary.

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2:15pm

Fri May 31, 2013
Shots - Health News

Young Women With Breast Cancer Opting For Mastectomy

Toborcia Bedgood performs a mammogram to screen for breast cancer at the Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in Los Angeles in 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Most women diagnosed with breast cancer when they're 40 or younger are choosing mastectomy rather than more limited and breast-conserving lumpectomy plus radiation, a study of women in Massachusetts finds.

Moreover, most of those choosing mastectomy elect to have the other, noncancerous breast removed, too.

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3:52pm

Thu May 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Researchers Find Bird Flu Is Contagious Among Ferrets

Of ferrets, men and bird flu.
iStockphoto.com

Scientists have completed the first assessments of how readily the H7N9 flu virus in China can pass among ferrets and pigs. The mammals provide the best inkling of how dangerous these bugs may become for humans.

The news is both bad and good. They've found the new bird virus is easily passed between ferrets sharing the same cage.

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2:06pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Shots - Health News

Middle East Virus Spreads Between Hospitalized Patients

The new coronavirus has a crown of tentacles on its surface when viewed under the microscope.
NIAID/RML

It's been eight months since a Saudi Arabian doctor described a previously unknown virus related to SARS. And for most of that time only germ geeks paid much attention.

But in the past few days the new virus — which some would like to call MERS-CoV, for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus — has been making up for lost time.

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2:49am

Wed May 8, 2013
Shots - Health News

Officials Prepare For Another Flu Pandemic — Just In Case

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 11:43 am

Scientists in the U.S. are growing the H7N9 virus in the laboratory to help with vaccine development.
James Gathany CDC/Douglas E. Jordan

There's been a buzz of activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta since scientists got their first samples of a new bird flu virus from China four weeks ago.

Already they've prepared "seed strains" of the virus, called H7N9, and distributed them to vaccine manufacturers so the companies can grow them up and make them into experimental flu vaccine.

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3:03am

Thu May 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Recovery Begins For Mother, Daughter Injured In Boston

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 4:19 pm

Celeste Corcoran is transported to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital on April 28.
Ellen Webber for NPR

The number of Boston bombing victims still in the hospital dropped to 19 as of Wednesday evening. The great majority have gone home or to a rehab facility.

That's what has happened with Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother-daughter pair who ended up in the same hospital room after being struck down by the first marathon bomb blast.

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3:17am

Wed May 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mother And Daughter Injured In Boston Bombing Face New Future

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 11:59 am

Celeste Corcoran and her daughter, Sydney, were injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Forty-seven-year-old Celeste Corcoran is propped up in her hospital bed. In a nearby window is a forest of blooming white orchids from well-wishers. On the opposite wall, a big banner proclaims "Corcoran Strong."

She's recalling how thrilled she was to be near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, waiting for her sister Carmen Accabo to run by. "I just remember standing there, wanting to be as close as I could to catch her," Corcoran says. "I really just needed to see her face."

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