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.

Pages

5:34am

Sat January 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

After Bringing Cholera To Haiti, U.N. Plans To Get Rid Of It

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:11 pm

Haitians protest against the United Nations peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince in November 2010.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Not quite 10 months after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, a more insidious disaster struck: cholera.

Haiti hadn't seen cholera for at least a century. Then suddenly, the first cases appeared in the central highlands near a camp for United Nations peacekeeping forces.

Read more

5:49pm

Wed January 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

U.S. Ranks Below 16 Other Rich Countries In Health Report

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:46 pm

iStockphoto.com

It's no news that the U.S. has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than most high-income countries. But a magisterial new report says Americans are actually less healthy across their entire life spans than citizens of 16 other wealthy nations.

And the gap is steadily widening.

Read more

4:59am

Tue January 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Breast Cancer: What We Learned In 2012

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 10:08 am

Betty Daniel gets a routine yearly mammogram from mammography tech Stella Palmer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago in 2012.
Heather Charles MCT/Landov

The past year has seen more debate about the best way to find breast cancers.

A recent analysis concluded that regular mammograms haven't reduced the rate of advanced breast cancers — but they have led more than a million women to be diagnosed with tumors that didn't need to be treated.

Read more

1:47pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Shots - Health News

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

Read more

1:20pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Shots - Health News

Dangers of 'Whoonga': Abuse Of AIDS Drugs Stokes Resistance

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:01 pm

A whoonga smoker near Durban, South Africa, shows a crushed AIDS pill in the palm of his hand before mixing the drug with marijuana.
John Robinson AP

Opportunists who market street drugs may be undermining the global struggle against AIDS.

In South Africa, two mainstay HIV drugs have found their way into recreational use. That may help explain why some HIV patients are resistant to these front-line medicines even if they've never been in treatment before.

It can happen in two ways.

Read more

3:23am

Mon December 10, 2012
Shots - Health News

As Childhood Strokes Increase, Surgeons Aim To Reduce Risks

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 3:08 pm

Maribel Ramos, 13, has both sickle cell disease and an abnormality of blood vessels called moyamoya. Both put her at risk of stroke, and, together, they add up to a 95 percent chance of a major stroke.
Richard Knox NPR

Boston brain surgeon Ed Smith points to a tangle of delicate gray shadows on his computer screen. It's an X-ray of the blood vessels on the left side of 13-year-old Maribel Ramos' brain.

Read more

4:39pm

Fri November 30, 2012
Shots - Health News

SARS-Like Virus Found In Jordan, Hunt Is On For Other Cases

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 9:46 am

The World Health Organization says a new coronavirus has killed two people in Jordan — the third country where the novel microbe has been traced.

That brings lab-confirmed cases to nine, with five fatalities.

Read more

4:16pm

Thu November 29, 2012
Shots - Health News

Clinton Reveals Blueprint For An 'AIDS-Free Generation'

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 8:52 am

United Nations Aids Executive Director Michel Sibide hugs Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after they they presented the a road map for stopping HIV around the world.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.

So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."

Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.

Read more

10:40am

Wed November 28, 2012
Shots - Health News

More Women Choose Double Mastectomy, But Study Says Many Don't Need It

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:10 pm

It's a startling trend: Many women with cancer in one breast are choosing to have their healthy breast removed, too.

But a study being presented later this week says more than three-quarters of women who opt for double mastectomies are not getting any benefit because their risk of cancer developing in the healthy breast is no greater than in women without cancer.

Read more

5:29pm

Wed November 21, 2012
Shots - Health News

With Routine Mammograms, Some Breast Cancers May Be Overtreated

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 6:01 pm

A mammographer prepares a screen-film mammography test for patient Alicia Maldonado at a hospital in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes AP

The endless debate over routine mammograms is getting another kick from an analysis that sharply questions whether the test really does what it's supposed to.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, coauthor of the analysis of mammography's impact, which was just published in The New England Journal of Medicine, tell Shots that the aim was to "get down to a very basic question."

Read more

3:19am

Fri November 9, 2012
Shots - Health News

Experimental Malaria Vaccine Disappoints, But Work Continues

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:59 pm

A mother dresses her baby after doctors examined him during the malaria vaccine trial at the Walter Reed Project Research Center in Kombewa in Western Kenya in October 2009.
Karel Prinsloo AP

The public health world has waited for the results for more than a year. After a half-billion dollars in R&D, would the front-runner malaria vaccine protect the top-priority targets: young infants?

The results are disappointing. The vaccine — called RTS,S for its various molecular components — reduced infants' risk of malaria by about a third.

Read more

5:50pm

Sat November 3, 2012
Shots - Health News

Despite Antifungal Treatment, More Woes For Some Meningitis Patients

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 8:21 am

The news for patients who had injections of fungus-tainted steroids just keeps getting worse.

Read more

6:12pm

Fri November 2, 2012
Shots - Health News

Home Health Care Proves Resilient In Face Of Sandy Destruction

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 9:57 pm

Barbara Fleming is evacuated from Bellevue Hospital by Victor Rivera in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York on Oct. 31.
Carlo Allegri Reuters/Landov

One lasting image of Superstorm Sandy will be very sick patients being evacuated from flooded hospitals. But less visible are thousands of patients who rely on visiting nurses and home health aides for care ranging from bathing and feeding to oxygen and ventilators.

Read more

6:13pm

Wed October 31, 2012
Shots - Health News

Before Sandy Hit U.S., Storm Was A Killer In Haiti

Hurricane Sandy's tear across the Caribbean left at least 54 dead in Haiti, where many people still live in tents because of damage from the 2010 earthquake.
Thony Belizaire AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Sandy only sideswiped Haiti during its early days. But reports so far suggest that even this indirect hit led to nearly as many deaths there as in the U.S. after the storm made landfall on the Mid-Atlantic coast.

As of Wednesday, Haiti had documented 54 deaths caused by Sandy — most in the nation's southern peninsula, which points toward Jamaica. Another 21 Haitians were still counted as missing, and many fear the death toll will rise as officials reach affected areas isolated by impassable roads and ruined bridges.

Read more

5:12pm

Fri October 26, 2012
Shots - Health News

FDA Says Massachusetts Pharmacy Knew Of Sterility Problems For Months

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 5:40 pm

A Framingham police officer keeps watch as federal agents search the New England Compounding Center company in Framingham, Mass., on October 16.
Dominick Reuter Reuters /Landov

In a highly unusual step, the Food and Drug Administration has released a report of inspections it conduct this month of the Massachusetts pharmacy at the center of a national outbreak of fungal infections.

Read more

Pages