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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6:22am

Mon October 3, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Nobelists Showed How Immune Defenses Work And Go Awry

Bruce A. Beutler was the only American winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year.

Mosimann for Balzan

Working with grasshoppers, fruit flies, mice and human cells, the three scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine opened important windows on how all these creatures defend themselves against microbial invaders and refrain from attacking their own cells – except when they don't.

It's intricate and complicated stuff, but the two main concepts you need to know are: innate immunity and adaptive immunity.

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10:01pm

Sun October 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Shortages Lead Doctors To Ration Critical Drugs

Laura Zakhar connects her son, Kevin, 15, to the "feedbag" that contains his nutrition. Lately, Zakhar has had trouble getting the calcium solution Kevin needs, in part because hospitals have been reserving limited supplies for patients who need it even more desperately than he does.
Elizabeth Larkin for NPR

Drug shortages mean a growing number of Americans aren't getting the medications they need. That's causing drug companies and doctors to ration available medications in some cases.

"We're now at 213 shortages for this year," says Erin Fox of the University of Utah, who tracks national drug shortages. "That surpasses last year's total of 211. And it doesn't seem like there's an end in sight."

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4:59pm

Tue September 20, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Predicting Sexual Function After Prostate Treatment

A study should help men facing prostate cancer treatment get a better sense of how good their sexual function will be down the road.
iStockphoto.com

Up to now doctors couldn't tell a man much about his chances of maintaining sexual function after surgery or radiation for prostate cancer.

"We'd say about half recovered or maintained their function," says Dr. Martin Sanda of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "And we'd be able to turn that up or down a little bit based on age."

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10:01pm

Sun September 18, 2011
Your Health

HPV Vaccine: The Science Behind The Controversy

Experts disagree about whether girls as young as 11 should get the HPV vaccine.
Mike Kemp iStockphoto.com

The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection."

Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community.

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2:03pm

Tue September 13, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

The 'Next Big Step': Preventing 1 Million Heart Attacks And Strokes

iStockphoto.com

They're calling it Million Hearts – a newly launched campaign to put a half-dozen simple and proven public health strategies into wider practice. Federal health officials say it can prevent a million heart attacks and strokes between now and 2016.

Federal officials call it "the next big step" in cardiovascular prevention. There's lots of evidence it's an achievable goal.

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10:56am

Thu September 1, 2011
Closing Walter Reed

\Military Medicine's Long War Against Malaria

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:33 am

A lab technician prepares blood samples from volunteers for viral genotyping at a government-run health center in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, in 2009. Tanzania is currently hosting the final stages of a human trial of a pioneering vaccine against malaria. The vaccine is one of many medical innovations to emerge from Walter Reed over the decades.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Part of our series on the closure of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Army Maj. Jittawadee Murphy peers into a paper bucket full of freshly hatched Anopheles stephanii mosquitoes. She needs to separate out the females — the only ones that bite — so they can be infected with malaria.

It turns out that sexing mosquitoes is easy.

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10:02pm

Sun August 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Younger Siblings Of Autistic Kids: Their Risk Greater Than Thought

Judith Ursitti is a Massachusetts mother of two children with autism spectrum disorders. Her son, Jack, 7, has severe autism, while her daughter, Amy (not pictured), who's 11, has Asperger's.
Richard Knox NPR News

Autism specialists have long thought the disease has a strong genetic component -– maybe stronger than any other neurodevelopmental disorder.

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4:28pm

Thu August 11, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

'I Will No Longer Be Disfigured': First Photos of Transplant Patient Released

Charla Nash received a full face transplant after she was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009. The procedure was performed last month by a team of plastic and orthopedic surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
HO AFP/Getty Images

The Boston hospital that gave Charla Nash a new face in May has released the first post-surgery photo of the transplant's results.

Nash's face was mauled by an out-of-control chimpanzee in 2009. Before the transplant, she wore a veil to conceal the grotesquely misshapen face that was the best plastic surgeons could do.

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7:31am

Tue August 9, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Soy Pills Fail To Counter Menopause Effects Like Bone Loss

Woman who took a daily soy pill had no less bone loss after two years than others who took a sugar pill, a study found.
iStockphoto.com

Soy pills for the hot flashes and bone loss menopausal women may endure seemed like a great idea – a cheap way of getting the benefit of estrogen without the risks.

But alas, a new study concludes they don't work.

Woman who took a daily soy pill had no less bone loss after two years than others who took a sugar pill. (Women in both groups didn't know which pill they got.)

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10:43am

Fri July 29, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Countdown To 7 Billion: A Tale of Two Worlds

Indian schoolchildren write English alphabets on slates at a primary school outside Hyderabad in June. India is on track to overtake China as the most populous nation in just 16 years.
NOAH SEELAM AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations says that sometime around Halloween the seven-billionth person will be born into this world — most likely in India, which is on track to overtake China as the most populous nation in just 16 years.

This latest milestone may not come as a surprise. But it is remarkable nonetheless. It took Earth 50,000 years to reach the one billion mark. By 1960 there were three billion souls. Since then we've added another billion every decade, or less.

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