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
3:25 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Another Side Effect Of Chemotherapy: 'Chemo Brain'

Dr. Jame Abraham used positron emission tomography, or PET, scans to understand differences in brain metabolism before and after chemotherapy.
Dr. Jame Abraham

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:00 pm

It's well-known that chemotherapy often comes with side effects like fatigue, hair loss and extreme nausea. What's less well-known is how the cancer treatment affects crucial brain functions, like speech and cognition.

For Yolanda Hunter, a 41-year-old hospice nurse, mother of three and breast cancer patient, these cognitive side effects of chemotherapy were hard to miss.

"I could think of words I wanted to say," Hunter says. "I knew what I wanted to say. ... There was a disconnect from my brain to my mouth."

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Like Girls, Boys Are Entering Puberty Earlier

According to a study published in Pediatrics, boys are entering puberty six months to two years earlier than they did in past studies.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:23 am

It's been known for a while that girls start puberty earlier than they did in the past, sometimes as young as 7 or 8. But it's been unclear whether boys also go through puberty earlier. Now, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics helps answer that question.

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Shots - Health News
3:32 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Why It's Easier To Scam The Elderly

Fraud victims are more likely to have opened official-looking sweepstakes notices and other mailings. A new study says the elderly are more susceptible than the young to being swindled.
Allen Breed AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:23 pm

Lots of scams come by phone or by mail, but when the scam artist is right in front of you, researchers say the clues are in the face.

"A smile that is in the mouth but doesn't go up to the eyes, an averted gaze, a backward lean" are some of the ways deception may present itself, says Shelley Taylor, a psychologist at UCLA.

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Shots - Health News
3:21 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Text Messages Help Smokers Kick The Habit

In the U.K.-based program called Txt2stop, researchers sent smokers encouraging text messages, like the one above, to help them quit.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 11:21 am

Some good news about texting: A review of studies published by the Cochrane Collaboration finds that smokers trying to quit the habit are helped in a big way by supportive messages sent via text.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Can You Move It And Work It On A Treadmill Desk?

Employees at at Salo, a Minneapolis-based financial consulting firm, walk while working on treadmill desks. The firm offers treadmill desks for employee use and encourages an active workplace environment.
Salo LLC

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:38 am

As we've reported, there's a backlash brewing to sedentary office life as more people realize how sitting all day can do a body wrong.

I work at home and often sit in front of my computer doing research and writing. So I thought I'd give a treadmill desk a try.

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Shots - Health News
5:07 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Recurring Lyme Disease Rash Caused By Reinfection, Not Relapse

Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks like this one. A study finds that some people can be reinfected many times with the bacteria that cause the disease.
Lauree Feldman Getty Creative Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:30 pm

In recent years, a disease spread by ticks has become more common across the country.

Lyme disease causes a skin rash, and in some cases, more serious symptoms. The rash usually goes away with antibiotics, but some people say they have other symptoms that persist for months or years.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:28 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Doctors Strike Mutating Bacteria In Teen Acne Battle

A tiny bacteriophage virus can cripple the bacteria that cause troublesome acne on teens' skin.
Charles Bowman University of Pittsburgh

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:59 am

Acne, the scourge of many an adolescent life, is getting harder to treat, but 80 percent of teenagers have some form of it.

Conventional treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics. Studies are now finding the bacteria that cause acne are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Alternatively, there are effective laser treatments. But these are costly and typically not covered by insurance.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:06 am
Mon October 8, 2012

When Should Seniors Hang Up The Car Keys?

More elderly drivers will hit the road in the next decade, but family members wonder: When is it time for elderly loved ones to move to the passenger seat?
Martin Novak iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 4:35 am

With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:22 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Two New Drugs May Help In Fight Against Obesity

Doctors may recommend that obese patients use weight-loss drugs to trick their hunger pangs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 11:59 am

The Food and Drug Administration approved two new medications this year to help obese and overweight individuals lose weight.

Diet drugs have been around in different forms for a while, but now researchers hope one of these two might actually help make a dent in the obesity epidemic.

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The Salt
3:29 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Low And Slow May Be The Way To Go When It Comes To Dieting

Eating low-glycemic foods, or foods that take longer to digest, may help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Robyn Mackenzie iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:09 pm

If you're dieting, you know you've got to count calories, carbs and fats. But if you really want to take off the weight and keep it off, you might want to pay more attention to the glycemic index, which is essentially a measure of how quickly foods are digested.

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