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
8:41 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Bypass Surgery Edges Stents For Heart Treatment

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 9:09 am

The debate over coronary bypass surgery versus stenting goes back decades.

Studies have been inconclusive, but doctors and patients have voted with their feet in favor of the less-invasive procedure — clearing clogged arteries and propping them open with tiny scaffolds called stents.

U.S. doctors do at least two stenting procedures these days for every coronary bypass operation.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

In Haiti, Bureaucratic Delays Stall Mass Cholera Vaccinations

Joseph Francis, 54, says he came to this cholera clinic in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince,after becoming so dehydrated he could barely walk. Cholera has killed more than 7,000 Haitians since the first outbreak of the disease in October 2010. At the start of the rainy season, cases are once again beginning to climb.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:56 am

A hundred thousand people in Haiti are ready and waiting to get vaccinated against cholera.

The vaccine is sitting in coolers. Vaccination teams are all trained. Willing recipients are registered and entered into databases.

The impending mass vaccination project aims to show that vaccinating against cholera is feasible in Haiti. It has never been done in the midst of an ongoing cholera epidemic. So far, more than 530,000 Haitians have fallen ill with cholera, and more than 7,000 have died.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:15 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Study Finds Female Condoms Are Cost-Effective For HIV Prevention

A bus in Washington, D.C., displays an advertisement for a female condom in July 2010. To encourage their use, community groups distributed more than 500,000 of the female condoms, flexible pouches that are wider than a male condom but similar in length, during instruction sessions at beauty salons, barber shops, churches and restaurants.
Drew Angerer AP

Condoms aren't just for men.

A second generation of female condoms, which was approved in 2009, is cheaper than the first version. Still, the condoms for women are a lot more expensive than those for males. And female condoms remain pretty unfamiliar to most people.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:14 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 3:01 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
10:01 pm
Mon March 12, 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 12:07 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
9:10 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 3:19 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
10:01 pm
Wed February 15, 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 3:55 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
12:40 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
10:01 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

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

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:28 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
10:43 am
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 12:31 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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