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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3:40am

Thu January 24, 2013
Shots - Health News

Female Smokers Face Greater Risk Than Previously Thought

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

Women smoke in New York City's Times Square.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

There's still more to learn about the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

Studies in this week's New England Journal of Medicine show that the risk for women has been under-appreciated for decades. New data also quantify the surprising payoffs of smoking cessation — especially under the age of 40.

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11:55am

Wed January 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Old Drug Extends Life For Pancreatic Cancer Patients

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 3:55 pm

A CT scan showing an adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head.
Wikimedia Commons

A large study is providing a rare glimmer of hope for patients with pancreatic cancer, perhaps the deadliest of all malignancies.

By the time they're diagnosed, most patients with pancreatic cancer have advanced disease that's spread to the liver and lung. And the primary tumor may be inoperable because it's wrapped around vital blood vessels and nerves.

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3:51pm

Fri January 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

A Worm's Ovary Cells Become A Flu Vaccine Machine

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:57 am

The fall armyworm, a corn pest, is now also a vaccine factory.
Wikimedia Commons

As the flu season grinds on from news cycle to news cycle, there's some flu news of a different sort. Federal regulators have approved a next-generation type of flu vaccine for the second time in two months.

The two new vaccines are the first fruits of a big government push to hasten and simplify the laborious production of flu vaccines.

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3:48am

Thu January 17, 2013
Shots - Health News

Bad Flu Season Overshadows Other Winter Miseries

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:11 am

People line up at a Duane Reade pharmacy in New York behind a sign announcing the recent flu outbreak.
Andrew Kelly Reuters/Landov

Dr. Beth Zeeman says she can spot a case of influenza from 20 paces. It's not like a common cold.

"People think they've had the flu when they've had colds," Zeeman, an emergency room specialist at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass., tells Shots. "People use the word 'flu' for everything. But having influenza is really a different thing. It hits you like a ton of bricks."

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3:18am

Mon January 14, 2013
Shots - Health News

As Hepatitis C Sneaks Up On Baby Boomers, Treatment Options Grow

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:27 pm

Hepatitis C patient Nancy Turner shows Kathleen Coleman, a nurse practitioner, where a forearm rash, a side effect of her treatment, has healed. Turner is one of many patients with hepatitis C experimenting with new drugs to beat back the virus.
Richard Knox NPR

A smoldering epidemic already affects an estimated 4 million Americans, most of whom don't know it.

It's hepatitis C, an insidious virus that can hide in the body for two or three decades without causing symptoms — and then wreak havoc with the liver, scarring it so extensively that it can fail. Half of all people waiting for liver transplants have hepatitis C.

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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.

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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.

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5:08am

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.

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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.

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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.

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