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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3:36am

Fri September 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Swedes Perform Pioneering Uterine Transplants; Americans Not Far Behind

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:39 am

A surgical team with Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, performs the first mother-to-daughter uterine transplant.
Johan Wingborg University of Gothenburg

A Swedish medical team has transplanted uteruses from two women in their 50s to their daughters. Meanwhile, Shots has learned that an Indiana group is recruiting women willing to undergo womb transplants in this country.

"We could go ahead tomorrow if we found the perfect candidate," Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore told Shots.

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4:07pm

Wed September 19, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Tiny Bubbles: Injectable Oxygen Foam Tested For Emergency Care

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Bubbles of oxygen injected as a foam might someday help patients live long enough to get treatment for oxygen deprivation.
iStockphoto.com

A lot of medicine's direst emergencies come down to one problem: lack of oxygen.

Cardiologist John Kheir started thinking about that when a little girl in his care, drowning from lung hemorrhages, died before she could be hooked up to a heart-lung machine that would have kept her blood oxygenated while the damage was repaired.

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3:04am

Wed September 19, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Ebola's Other Victims: Health Care Workers

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:51 am

A medical worker from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works at the laboratory where Ebola specimens from the Congo were tested at the start of the latest outbreak.
Stephen Wandera AP

The Ebola virus continues to strike people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since May, the World Health Organization has counted 72 confirmed, probable or suspected cases and 32 deaths.

As usual, a disproportionate share of those cases are health care workers — 23 of them, almost a third.

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5:30pm

Wed September 12, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Worst Of West Nile Epidemic Appears To Be Over

Technicians with the Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control District spray insecticide in Brentwood, Calif., last month. Workers fogged areas of the county that had an increase in the numbers of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The numbers for West Nile virus cases continue to rise, up 35 percent in the last week. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident the nation has turned the corner on its worst-ever epidemic of West Nile virus disease.

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10:24am

Tue September 11, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Two Mutations Can Transform A Swine Flu Virus

A hog gets a closeup at the Illinois State Fair in August. Officials took special precautions to make sure no livestock sick with a new strain of swine were part of the fair.
Seth Perlman AP

Flu pandemics don't happen very often. So many people might feel the relative fizzle of a flu pandemic three years ago somehow immunizes the globe against another one for awhile.

But don't relax, say the authors of a report published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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3:27am

Mon September 10, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Doctors Take Aim At Epidemic Kidney Stones With Lasers

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 5:17 am

Henry Owens, a 69-year-old retired lawyer from Cape Cod, suffered a kidney stone attack last month. His doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital used a laser to break up the stone.
Richard Knox NPR

The nation is in the midst of a kidney stone epidemic.

New research shows 1 in 10 American men and 1 in 14 women has had one. And prevalence of kidney stones has shot up in recent years.

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1:23pm

Tue September 4, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Zanzibar Shows Cholera Vaccine Can Protect Even The Unvaccinated

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:09 pm

A vaccine against cholera bacteria like these protected people in Zanzibar.
CDC

Cholera vaccine gives indirect protection to unvaccinated people in communities where a substantial fraction of the population gets the vaccine, a study in Africa shows.

The effect is called "herd immunity." It works because there are fewer bacteria circulating in communities where vaccination levels are relatively high.

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8:46am

Fri August 31, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Tax Breaks For Organ Donors Aren't Boosting Transplant Supply

A kidney donor is wheeled to an operating room for a transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in late June.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Seventeen states offer tax incentives to people who donate a kidney, a portion of their liver or bone marrow for transplantation. But a study finds these sweeteners aren't working.

Researchers looked at what happened in the years before and after these tax incentives were passed and found no increase in organ donation rates.

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6:24pm

Wed August 29, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Mysterious New 'Heartland Virus' Discovered In Missouri

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 9:42 am

Two men from northwestern Missouri became ill after tick bites infected them with a previously unknown virus.
iStockphoto.com

Two Missouri farmers have been infected with a brand-new tick-borne virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the Heartland virus.

The men recovered but suffered serious illness that required hospital care and weeks of convalescence. Symptoms included fever, severe fatigue, headache and nausea. Their platelet counts plummeted, but even though platelets are necessary for blood clotting, the men didn't suffer abnormal bleeding.

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3:00pm

Wed August 29, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

With West Nile On The Rise, We Answer Your Questions

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 9:45 am

A Beechcraft airplane sprays insecticide over Dallas early Monday morning to curb the spread of West Nile virus.
LM Otero AP

This year is on track to be the worst ever for West Nile virus in the United States. Here are the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 1,590 reported cases, nearly 500 more than a week ago for a rise of 44 percent.
  • 889 cases, or 56 percent, involve severe neurological disease.
  • 66 deaths, compared to 41 last week.
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