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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Shots - Health Blog
4:14 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Prone To Failure, Some All-Metal Hip Implants Need To Be Removed Early

Young-min Kwon of Massachusetts General Hospital holds the metal-alloy ball of Susy Mansfield's faulty artificial hip joint. The yellowish tissue on top is dead muscle caused by a reaction to the metal debris produced by the defective hip implant.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 5:01 pm

When Susy Mansfield needed a hip replacement in 2009, her orthopedic surgeon chose a relatively new and untested kind of artificial hip made entirely of metal.

"He said, 'You're young. Metal is good for younger people. It's going to last a lot longer,' " says Mansfield, who was 57 at the time.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Tue March 13, 2012

As Cholera Season Bears Down On Haiti, Vaccination Program Stalls

Thousands of doses of cholera vaccine sit in a refrigerated trailer in a United Nations compound in Saint-Marc, Haiti. Vaccination was supposed to begin last week, but bureaucratic problems have delayed the start. April is the beginning of Haiti's rainy season, which will likely intensify Haiti's cholera outbreak.
John Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 2:07 pm

The vaccine — $417,000 worth of it — is stacked high in refrigerated containers to protect it from the Haitian heat.

Hundreds of health workers are trained and ready to give the vaccine. They're armed with programmed smartphones and tablet computers to keep track of who has been vaccinated and who needs a second dose.

And 100,000 eager Haitians, from the teeming slums of Port-au-Prince to tiny hamlets in Haiti's rice bowl, have signed up to get the vaccine.

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The Salt
11:10 am
Tue February 21, 2012

How Using Antibiotics In Animal Feed Creates Superbugs

Many livestock groups say there's no evidence that antibiotics in livestock feed have caused a human health problem, but researchers beg to differ.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Researchers have nailed down something scientists, government officials and agribusiness proponents have argued about for years: whether antibiotics in livestock feed give rise to antibiotic-resistant germs that can threaten humans.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Latest Drug Shortage Threatens Children With Leukemia

Many hospitals are perilously close to running out of a form of methotrexate that's necessary to inject in high doses to treat certain forms of cancer.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:55 pm

It's a new kind of brinksmanship for U.S. doctors: caring for patients with life-threatening diseases when the supply of critical drugs threatens to disappear.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:40 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

FDA Warns About Fake Avastin In US

Packaging for fake Avastin that was just flagged by the Food and Drug Administration.
Genentech

The Food and Drug Administration says counterfeit Avastin, a costly drug cancer drug, has made its way to doctors in the United States.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Health Care In Massachusetts: 'Abject Failure' Or Work In Progress?

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:28 am

Voters are hearing a lot about health care this year. Republicans want to make the 2012 elections a referendum on the health care law that President Obama signed two years ago.

That law was largely based on one that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law nearly six years ago in Massachusetts.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:43 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

A Bid To Replace Neglect For Tropical Diseases With Attention

An artist on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach puts the final touches on a sand sculpture of the assassin bug, which spreads Chagas disease. The sculpture was part of an event in 2009 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:31 pm

Tropical diseases that have long been overlooked are getting their due.

An ambitious new push to eradicate, eliminate or control 17 scourges over the next eight years was just unveiled in London. The initiative brings together some of the world's largest drugmakers, health-oriented foundations and nongovernmental organizations. Governments from the developed world and the countries most affected by the diseases are also on board.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:30 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Many Older Women May Not Need Frequent Bone Scans

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NPR journalist Gisele Grayson got her hip bone scanned a couple of years ago and discovered she has osteopenia.
NPR

The bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis is a big problem for women past menopause. It causes painful spine fractures and broken hips that plunge many women into a final downward spiral.

So it seemed to make sense to monitor older women's bones on a regular basis to see when they need to start taking drugs that prevent bone loss and fractures. Since Medicare will pay for a bone-density scan every two years, that's what many women have been getting.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:48 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

India Marks A Year Free Of Polio

An Indian boy receives a polio vaccination from an Indian health worker in Amritsar last year.
Narinder Nanu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 5:08 pm

A year ago today, India saw its last recorded case of polio in an 18-month-old girl in West Bengal named Rukhsar Khatoon. She recovered without lasting paralysis.

One year without another case is an impressive milestone in the decades-long effort to wipe the poliovirus from the face of the planet. Only a few years ago, India reported more polio cases than anywhere else — as many as 100,000 cases a year.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:55 am
Wed January 11, 2012

A Dozen Cases Of Tuberculosis That Resists All Drugs Found In India

An image of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria captured with an electron microscope.
CDC

Tuberculosis specialists in India have diagnosed infections in a dozen patients in Mumbai that are unfazed by the three first-choice TB drugs and all nine second-line drugs.

The doctors are calling them "totally drug-resistant TB," and the infections are essentially incurable with all available medicines.

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