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 News
3:59 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Breast Cancer: What We Learned In 2012

Betty Daniel gets a routine yearly mammogram from mammography tech Stella Palmer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago in 2012.
Heather Charles MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 9:08 am

The past year has seen more debate about the best way to find breast cancers.

A recent analysis concluded that regular mammograms haven't reduced the rate of advanced breast cancers — but they have led more than a million women to be diagnosed with tumors that didn't need to be treated.

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Shots - Health News
12:47 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

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Shots - Health News
12:20 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Dangers of 'Whoonga': Abuse Of AIDS Drugs Stokes Resistance

A whoonga smoker near Durban, South Africa, shows a crushed AIDS pill in the palm of his hand before mixing the drug with marijuana.
John Robinson AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:01 pm

Opportunists who market street drugs may be undermining the global struggle against AIDS.

In South Africa, two mainstay HIV drugs have found their way into recreational use. That may help explain why some HIV patients are resistant to these front-line medicines even if they've never been in treatment before.

It can happen in two ways.

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Shots - Health News
2:23 am
Mon December 10, 2012

As Childhood Strokes Increase, Surgeons Aim To Reduce Risks

Maribel Ramos, 13, has both sickle cell disease and an abnormality of blood vessels called moyamoya. Both put her at risk of stroke, and, together, they add up to a 95 percent chance of a major stroke.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 2:08 pm

Boston brain surgeon Ed Smith points to a tangle of delicate gray shadows on his computer screen. It's an X-ray of the blood vessels on the left side of 13-year-old Maribel Ramos' brain.

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Shots - Health News
3:39 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

SARS-Like Virus Found In Jordan, Hunt Is On For Other Cases

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 8:46 am

The World Health Organization says a new coronavirus has killed two people in Jordan — the third country where the novel microbe has been traced.

That brings lab-confirmed cases to nine, with five fatalities.

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Shots - Health News
2:54 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Clinton Reveals Blueprint For An 'AIDS-Free Generation'

United Nations Aids Executive Director Michel Sibide hugs Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after they they presented the a road map for stopping HIV around the world.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:52 am

Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.

So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."

Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.

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Shots - Health News
9:44 am
Wed November 28, 2012

More Women Choose Double Mastectomy, But Study Says Many Don't Need It

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:10 pm

It's a startling trend: Many women with cancer in one breast are choosing to have their healthy breast removed, too.

But a study being presented later this week says more than three-quarters of women who opt for double mastectomies are not getting any benefit because their risk of cancer developing in the healthy breast is no greater than in women without cancer.

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Shots - Health News
4:29 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

With Routine Mammograms, Some Breast Cancers May Be Overtreated

A mammographer prepares a screen-film mammography test for patient Alicia Maldonado at a hospital in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes AP

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

The endless debate over routine mammograms is getting another kick from an analysis that sharply questions whether the test really does what it's supposed to.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, coauthor of the analysis of mammography's impact, which was just published in The New England Journal of Medicine, tell Shots that the aim was to "get down to a very basic question."

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Shots - Health News
2:19 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Experimental Malaria Vaccine Disappoints, But Work Continues

A mother dresses her baby after doctors examined him during the malaria vaccine trial at the Walter Reed Project Research Center in Kombewa in Western Kenya in October 2009.
Karel Prinsloo AP

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 11:59 am

The public health world has waited for the results for more than a year. After a half-billion dollars in R&D, would the front-runner malaria vaccine protect the top-priority targets: young infants?

The results are disappointing. The vaccine — called RTS,S for its various molecular components — reduced infants' risk of malaria by about a third.

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Shots - Health News
4:50 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

Despite Antifungal Treatment, More Woes For Some Meningitis Patients

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:21 am

The news for patients who had injections of fungus-tainted steroids just keeps getting worse.

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