Patti Neighmond

Award-winning journalist Patti Neighmond is NPR's health policy correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

Based in Los Angeles, Neighmond has covered health care policy since April 1987. She joined NPR's staff in 1981, covering local New York City news as well as the United Nations. In 1984, she became a producer for NPR's science unit and specialized in science and environmental issues.

Neighmond has earned a broad array of awards for her reporting. In 1993, she received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of health reform. That same year she received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for a story on a young quadriplegic who convinced Georgia officials that she could live at home less expensively and more happily than in a nursing home. In 1990 she won the World Hunger Award for a story about healthcare and low-income children. Neighmond received two awards in 1989: a George Polk Award for her powerful ten-part series on AIDS patient Archie Harrison, who was taking the anti-viral drug AZT; and a Major Armstrong Award for her series on the Canadian health care system. The Population Institute, based in Washington, DC, has presented its radio documentary award to Neighmond twice: in 1988 for "Family Planning in India" and in 1984 for her coverage of overpopulation in Mexico. Her 1987 report "AIDS and Doctors" won the National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism, and her two-part series on the aquaculture industry earned the 1986 American Association for the Advancement of Science Award.

Neighmond began her career in journalism in 1978, at the Pacifica Foundation's Washington D.C. bureau, where she covered Capitol Hill and the White House. She began freelance reporting for NPR from New York City in 1980. Neighmond earned her bachelor's degree in English and drama from the University of Maryland, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:14 am
Fri September 7, 2012

X-Ray Tests May Heighten Cancer Risk In Susceptible Women

Mammograms may pose a particular risk to women with genetic mutations that predispose them to breast cancer.
Bill Branson National Cancer Institute

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:53 pm

Researchers report that women with genetic mutations that put them at dramatically increased risk of developing breast cancer may also face a heightened risk from radiation used during medical screening and diagnosis.

The imaging tools that help doctors identify disease, injury or damage to the body have long been known to carry some risk of cancer, in large part because ionizing radiation can damage the genetic material in the body.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:24 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Sleepless Nights May Put The Aging Brain At Risk Of Dementia

If you're having trouble sleeping, researchers say you should resist the urge to keep checking the time.
mrsmuckers iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 10:55 am

As we age, our sleep patterns change. We've all heard the complaints: "I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep!"

Some sleep experts estimate that as many as 40 percent of older adults suffer sleeping problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia. Now, researchers have found a link between disrupted sleep and cognitive decline.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:29 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Too Much Calcium Could Cause Kidney, Heart Problems, Researchers Say

Federal health officials recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for people younger than 50, but some are overdoing it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 9:08 am

When it comes to a healthy diet — especially for women, and especially after menopause — nutritionists, doctors, everybody it seems, will tell you: calcium, calcium, calcium.

Federal health officials recommend that women and men younger than 50 consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. The recommendation goes up to 1,200 milligrams after age 70 for men and after menopause for women, when a major drop in estrogen causes bone loss.

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Health
4:56 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Cheer Up, It's Just Your Child Behind The Wheel

When it comes to learning how to drive, your teen is probably as harried as you are. Research shows that scare tactics meant to instill caution, though, are less effective than kind words.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:41 pm

One rite of passage most teenagers look forward to and parents dread is learning how to drive. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens by far, on the order of five times more than poisoning or cancer. Does that mean you should scare the daylights out of teens to encourage safe driving? Traditional driver education classes tend to do exactly that, with gruesome videos and photos of fatalities and smashed-up cars.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:25 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Is HIV Still A Death Sentence? Young People Weigh In

Young activists distribute condoms at an AIDS awareness event in Ashbury Park, N.J.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 8:11 am

Think of this like a snapshot — a few perspectives of HIV-negative 20-somethings.

To start, we posted the following query on NPR's Facebook page:

"Thirty years ago, a positive HIV status was considered a death sentence. As treatments for the disease have advanced over the past three decades, we're wondering how younger people view the disease today."

Hundreds of people e-mailed and commented with their reactions. We also gathered reactions from young folks we met on the street.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:57 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Many Migraines Can Be Prevented With Treatments, But Few Use Them

A promising crop of new migraine treatments could alleviate the suffering of millions of Americans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 11:36 am

Millions of Americans suffer from migraine headaches so severe they miss work, social gatherings and important family events.

But that doesn't have to be the case, according to Charles Flippen, a University of California, Los Angeles, neurologist and researcher. "Everyone says, 'Oh, well, everyone has headaches,' so they just push through and suffer in silence," says Flippen.

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The Salt
3:03 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Is The Coconut Water Craze All It's Cracked Up To Be?

John Gordon Gauld, a 35-year old artist, bikes with coconut water in New York City.
Jacob Anderson

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 12:48 pm

You've probably seen them in the grocery store — cans of coconut water with their come-hither photos of young, green coconuts, tops sheared off, a straw poking out, and blue and green boxes that evoke cool, tropical breezes. Some vendors even sell the real thing. Artist John Gordon Gauld enjoys fresh coconut water when he's thirsty after biking through New York City.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:31 am
Mon June 11, 2012

To Sniff Out Childhood Allergies, Researchers Head To The Farm

Contact with animals and dirty environments may be one reason farm kids are less likely to get allergies, researchers say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 11:11 am

Allergies are on the rise these days, especially in children. Nearly half of all kids are now allergic to something, be it food, animals, or plants. Federal health officials say that rate is two to five times higher than it was 30 years ago.

And as researchers are trying to understand why, they're increasingly looking at kids who grow up on farms.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:48 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Need A Nurse? You May Have To Wait

Some fear that with rising medical costs and an aging population, the country's nursing staff will be stretched too thin.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:15 pm

Nurses are the backbone of the hospital — just ask pretty much any doctor or patient. But a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 34 percent of patients hospitalized for at least one night in the past year said "nurses weren't available when needed or didn't respond quickly to requests for help."

Since nurses provide most of the patient care in hospitals, we were surprised at the findings. We wanted to find out more. We wanted to know what was going on from nurses themselves. So we put a call-out on Facebook.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:27 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Doctors' Due Diligence: Measuring Kids' Blood Pressure

Doctors often overlook taking a child's blood pressure during routine visits.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 8:37 am

There have been hints that the obesity epidemic's rise has slowed a bit among certain populations, but for the most part, it continues to dominate American health. One third of children and teenagers are now overweight or obese. And researchers forecast as many as half of our nation's population could be obese — not overweight but obese — by 2030.

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