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 News
3:27 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Recipe For Strong Teen Bones: Exercise, Calcium And Vitamin D

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 7:03 pm

It's really only a sliver of time when humans build the bulk of their skeleton. At age 9, the bones start a big growth spurt. And by the time puberty ends, around 14 or 15 years old, the adult-sized skeleton is all but done, about 90 percent complete.

But doctors say a lot of children aren't getting what they need to do that. Calcium and vitamin D are essential, sure, but so is lots of time jumping and running.

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Shots - Health News
3:19 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Exercise May Help Knees More Than Glucosamine And Chondroitin

With osteoarthritis, knees become swollen and stiff, and cartilage can degenerate.
Ted Kinsman Science Source

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 9:18 am

If you're among the estimated 27 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, then perhaps you've tried the nutritional supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. They've been marketed for joint health for about 20 years, and sales are still brisk. But do they help?

Some horses might say yes. The supplements were first tried in horses, and there's some evidence that the supplements might improve joint function for them.

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The Salt
3:35 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Kombucha: Magical Health Elixir Or Just Funky Tea?

Kombucha made by artisan tea brewer Bill Bond in Akron, Ohio, comes in an array of flavors, such as lemongrass, ginger, blueberry and watermelon.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer /Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:34 pm

Chances are, you've seen it in your local grocery store. Maybe you've even mustered the courage to taste it — or at least take a whiff.

Once mostly a product of health food stores and hippies' kitchens, kombucha tea is now commercially available in many major grocery stores.

And people aren't necessarily scooping it up for its flavor. Its taste has been described as somewhere between vinegar soda and carbonated apple cider.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Calling Obesity A Disease May Make It Easier To Get Help

Differences in brain chemistry can affect an individual's likelihood of weight gain.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:04 am

Under the Affordable Care Act, more insurance plans are expected to start covering the cost of obesity treatments, including counseling on diet and exercise as well as medications and surgery. These are treatments that most insurance companies don't cover now.

The move is a response to the increasing number of health advocates and medical groups that say obesity should be classified as a disease.

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Shots - Health News
3:45 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Sweet Cigarillos And Cigars Lure Youths To Tobacco, Critics Say

Candy-flavored cigars like these in a shop in Albany, N.Y., are the focus of efforts to restrict sales of sweet-flavored tobacco.
Hans Pennink Associated Press

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:56 pm

The good news: Cigarette sales are down by about a third over the past decade. Not so for little cigars and cigarillos. Their sales more than doubled over the same time period, in large part owing to the growing popularity of these little cigars among teenagers and 20-somethings.

The appeal among young people has lots to do with the large variety of candylike flavors in the little cigars, according to Jennifer Cantrell, director of research and evaluation at the anti-tobacco Legacy Foundation.

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Shots - Health News
3:25 am
Mon August 5, 2013

When Treating Abnormal Breast Cells, Sometimes Less Is More

Sally O'Neill decided to have a double mastectomy rather than "do a wait-and-see."
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 11:39 am

When Sally O'Neill's doctor told her she had an early form of cancer in one of her breasts, she didn't agonize about what she wanted to.

The 42-year-old mother of two young girls wanted a double mastectomy.

"I decided at that moment that I wanted them both taken off," says O'Neill, who lives in a suburb of Boston. "There wasn't a real lot of thought process to it. I always thought, 'If this happens to me, this is what I'm going to do.' Because I'm not taking any chances. I want the best possible outcome. I don't want to do a wait-and-see."

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Shots - Health News
2:59 am
Mon July 29, 2013

How To Find A Path Off The Dreaded Diet Plateau

Illustration by Tim Robinson for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Chances are that if you've ever lost weight following a strict diet and exercise regimen, you've also reached the diet plateau. On that lonely plateau, pounds never seem to melt away, no matter how hard you try to shed them.

You're not alone. Consider the plight of Susan Carierre. When the 5-foot-6-inch Carriere hit 230 pounds, she decided to enroll in a weight-loss program at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center near her home in Baton Rouge, La.

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Shots - Health News
3:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Patients Seek A Different Approach To Hip Replacement Surgery

Michael Pagliaro, left, laughs with Paul Scattaretico at the Muzic Store Inc. in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., as Pagliaro picks up instruments for his rental business. Before Pagliaro had a hip replacement, pain made it difficult to work.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 5:10 am

Every year more than a quarter of a million Americans have total hip replacement surgery. It's almost always a successful operation that frees patients from what's often described as disabling pain.

But in recent years, there's been lots of discussion on the Internet about "anterior approach" hip replacement, a surgical technique that's different than the standard procedure. It's one that proponents say can lead to quicker recovery, three to four weeks compared to six to eight weeks for typical surgery.

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Shots - Health News
2:58 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On

Depression is common among old people, affecting up to 25 percent.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:54 am

Depression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they're more likely to develop dementia in old age.

But the link between depression and dementia remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia.

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Shots - Health News
2:56 am
Mon June 10, 2013

African-Americans Remain Hardest Hit By Medical Bills

Mike Jackson has diabetes and high blood pressure. His eye was damaged after he cut back on insulin because he couldn't afford it.
Bryan Terry for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:37 am

For many years, high medical bills have been a leading cause of financial distress and bankruptcy in America. That pressure may be easing ever so slightly, according to a survey released earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But 1 in 5 Americans still face hardships due to medical costs — and African-Americans continue to be the hardest hit.

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