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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7:29pm

Tue May 29, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Counterfeiters Exploit Shortage To Market Fake Adderall Pills

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 8:48 am

If the label of ingredients on the Adderall pack says "singel entity," that's a tip-off for trouble.
FDA/Flickr

A shortage of Adderall began last year, sending millions of people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy on perpetual wild goose chases to find drugstores with the pills they need to stay alert and focused.

So it's not surprising that Adderall counterfeiters have seized a big marketing opportunity. What is surprising is their clumsiness.

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3:22pm

Mon May 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

With PSA Testing, The Power Of Anecdote Often Trumps Statistics

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 9:46 am

Millions of men and their doctors are trying to understand a federal task force's recommendation against routine use of a prostate cancer test called the PSA.

The guidance, which came out last week, raises basic questions about how to interpret medical evidence. And what role expert panels should play in how doctors practice.

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6:01pm

Tue May 22, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Easier Colon Cancer Test Works Well, But Colonoscopy's Still King

A big study of a colon cancer test called flexible sigmoidoscopy may provide a good example of how a cheaper, easier-on-the-patient and possibly better technology isn't always the one American doctors choose to use.

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12:33am

Mon May 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Poll: What It's Like To Be Sick In America

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 8:21 pm

In the lull between the Supreme Court arguments over the federal health overhaul law and the decision expected in June, we thought we'd ask Americans who actually use the health system quite a bit how they view the quality of care and its cost.

Most surveys don't break it down this way.

When the results came back, we found that people who have a serious medical condition or who've been in the hospital in the past year tended to have more concerns about costs and quality than people who aren't sick. No big surprise there.

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6:10pm

Tue May 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

U.S. Funding Of HIV/AIDS Fight Overseas Carries Other Benefits

A mother and child wait to receive treatment at the HIV clinic in Nyagasambu, Rwanda, in Feb. 2008. The clinic was built by the Washington-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation with a grant from the PEPFAR program.
Shashank Bengali MCT/Landov

U.S. government spending to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries is also preventing death from other diseases, a new study finds.

Some experts worry the billions of dollars the United States spends to treat people with HIV in poor countries may crowd out prevention and treatment of other illnesses.

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3:14pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

A Step Forward For Gene Therapy To Treat HIV

HIV particles assemble at the surface of a white blood cell called a macrophage.
PLoS Biology

Millions of people around the world are living with HIV, thanks to drug regimens that suppress the virus. Now there's a new push to eliminate HIV from patients' bodies altogether. That would be a true cure.

We're not there yet. But a report in Science Translational Medicine is an encouraging signpost that scientists may be headed in the right direction.

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8:38am

Tue May 1, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Lighter Weights Can Still Make A Big Fitness Difference

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 1:30 pm

Try taking some weight off in your workout.
iStockphoto.com

Here's good news for geezers — or for merely middle-aged folks — who'd like to stay fit and independent far into their later years.

You don't have to lift heavy weights to build muscle strength. Lifting lighter weights can be just as effective if you do it right, and you're much less likely to hurt yourself, researchers say.

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4:35pm

Fri April 20, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Couples Should Get Tested For HIV Together, WHO Says

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:05 am

What do you say we go get HIV tested together?
iStockphoto.com

The World Health Organization is telling couples around the world to get tested together to see if either is infected with HIV.

If one of them is, that partner should start treatment with anti-HIV drugs – even if it's not yet medically necessary.

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5:05pm

Thu April 19, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Doctors Group Tells Patients To Go For Cheaper, High-Value Treatments

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 10:30 am

Got a backache? You can probably skip that pricey scan.
iStockphoto.com

The American College of Physicians is urging patients with newly diagnosed diabetes and back pain not to opt for the latest-and-supposedly-greatest.

It's part of a new campaign to steer patients (and their doctors) to what the College of Physicians calls "high value care," and away from expensive tests and treatments that aren't any better — and often are worse.

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7:51pm

Tue April 17, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

CDC Chief: New Vaccines In Haiti Will Save Tens Of Thousands

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 8:16 pm

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (center) talks to a health worker during a visit to Eliazar Germain hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday. It's Sebelius' first visit to the country.
Ramon Espinosa AP

A campaign to introduce new childhood vaccines to Haiti will save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade, Dr. Thomas Frieden told Shots at the end of a two-day tour of the beleaguered country.

"This is an enormous step forward for Haiti," says Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is a big deal."

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