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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11:15am

Mon March 26, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Study Finds Female Condoms Are Cost-Effective For HIV Prevention

A bus in Washington, D.C., displays an advertisement for a female condom in July 2010. To encourage their use, community groups distributed more than 500,000 of the female condoms, flexible pouches that are wider than a male condom but similar in length, during instruction sessions at beauty salons, barber shops, churches and restaurants.
Drew Angerer AP

Condoms aren't just for men.

A second generation of female condoms, which was approved in 2009, is cheaper than the first version. Still, the condoms for women are a lot more expensive than those for males. And female condoms remain pretty unfamiliar to most people.

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4:14am

Mon March 19, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Prone To Failure, Some All-Metal Hip Implants Need To Be Removed Early

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 5:01 pm

Young-min Kwon of Massachusetts General Hospital holds the metal-alloy ball of Susy Mansfield's faulty artificial hip joint. The yellowish tissue on top is dead muscle caused by a reaction to the metal debris produced by the defective hip implant.
Richard Knox NPR

When Susy Mansfield needed a hip replacement in 2009, her orthopedic surgeon chose a relatively new and untested kind of artificial hip made entirely of metal.

"He said, 'You're young. Metal is good for younger people. It's going to last a lot longer,' " says Mansfield, who was 57 at the time.

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12:01am

Tue March 13, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

As Cholera Season Bears Down On Haiti, Vaccination Program Stalls

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 2:07 pm

Thousands of doses of cholera vaccine sit in a refrigerated trailer in a United Nations compound in Saint-Marc, Haiti. Vaccination was supposed to begin last week, but bureaucratic problems have delayed the start. April is the beginning of Haiti's rainy season, which will likely intensify Haiti's cholera outbreak.
John Poole NPR

The vaccine — $417,000 worth of it — is stacked high in refrigerated containers to protect it from the Haitian heat.

Hundreds of health workers are trained and ready to give the vaccine. They're armed with programmed smartphones and tablet computers to keep track of who has been vaccinated and who needs a second dose.

And 100,000 eager Haitians, from the teeming slums of Port-au-Prince to tiny hamlets in Haiti's rice bowl, have signed up to get the vaccine.

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11:10am

Tue February 21, 2012
The Salt

How Using Antibiotics In Animal Feed Creates Superbugs

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Many livestock groups say there's no evidence that antibiotics in livestock feed have caused a human health problem, but researchers beg to differ.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Researchers have nailed down something scientists, government officials and agribusiness proponents have argued about for years: whether antibiotics in livestock feed give rise to antibiotic-resistant germs that can threaten humans.

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12:01am

Thu February 16, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Latest Drug Shortage Threatens Children With Leukemia

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Many hospitals are perilously close to running out of a form of methotrexate that's necessary to inject in high doses to treat certain forms of cancer.
iStockphoto.com

It's a new kind of brinksmanship for U.S. doctors: caring for patients with life-threatening diseases when the supply of critical drugs threatens to disappear.

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2:40pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

FDA Warns About Fake Avastin In US

Packaging for fake Avastin that was just flagged by the Food and Drug Administration.
Genentech

The Food and Drug Administration says counterfeit Avastin, a costly drug cancer drug, has made its way to doctors in the United States.

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12:01am

Mon February 13, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Health Care In Massachusetts: 'Abject Failure' Or Work In Progress?

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:28 am

Voters are hearing a lot about health care this year. Republicans want to make the 2012 elections a referendum on the health care law that President Obama signed two years ago.

That law was largely based on one that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law nearly six years ago in Massachusetts.

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12:43pm

Mon January 30, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

A Bid To Replace Neglect For Tropical Diseases With Attention

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:31 pm

An artist on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach puts the final touches on a sand sculpture of the assassin bug, which spreads Chagas disease. The sculpture was part of an event in 2009 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Tropical diseases that have long been overlooked are getting their due.

An ambitious new push to eradicate, eliminate or control 17 scourges over the next eight years was just unveiled in London. The initiative brings together some of the world's largest drugmakers, health-oriented foundations and nongovernmental organizations. Governments from the developed world and the countries most affected by the diseases are also on board.

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6:30pm

Wed January 18, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Many Older Women May Not Need Frequent Bone Scans

NPR journalist Gisele Grayson got her hip bone scanned a couple of years ago and discovered she has osteopenia.
NPR

The bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis is a big problem for women past menopause. It causes painful spine fractures and broken hips that plunge many women into a final downward spiral.

So it seemed to make sense to monitor older women's bones on a regular basis to see when they need to start taking drugs that prevent bone loss and fractures. Since Medicare will pay for a bone-density scan every two years, that's what many women have been getting.

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4:48pm

Fri January 13, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

India Marks A Year Free Of Polio

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 5:08 pm

An Indian boy receives a polio vaccination from an Indian health worker in Amritsar last year.
Narinder Nanu AFP/Getty Images

A year ago today, India saw its last recorded case of polio in an 18-month-old girl in West Bengal named Rukhsar Khatoon. She recovered without lasting paralysis.

One year without another case is an impressive milestone in the decades-long effort to wipe the poliovirus from the face of the planet. Only a few years ago, India reported more polio cases than anywhere else — as many as 100,000 cases a year.

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