Rob Stein

Rob Stein is a correspondent and senior editor on NPR's science desk.

An award-winning science journalist with more than 25 years of experience, Stein mostly covers health and medicine. He tends to focus on stories that illustrate the intersection of science, health, politics, social trends, ethics, and federal science policy. He tracks genetics, stem cells, cancer research, women's health issues and other science, medical, and health policy news.

Before NPR, Stein worked at The Washington Post for 16 years, first as the newspaper's science editor and then as a national health reporter. Earlier in his career, Stein spent about four years as an editor at NPR's science desk. Before that, he was a science reporter for United Press International (UPI) in Boston and the science editor of the international wire service in Washington.

Stein is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He completed a journalism fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, a program in science and religion at the University of Cambridge, and a summer science writer's workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Stein's work has been honored by many organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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Shots - Health News
6:06 pm
Tue August 18, 2015

FDA Approves First Drug To Boost Women's Sexual Desire

A daily pill called Addyi is the first medicine to be approved for the purpose of boosting women's sexual desire.
Allen G. Breed AP

Originally published on Thu August 20, 2015 3:58 pm

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug designed to increase a woman's libido.

The controversial decision was hailed by some doctors and advocates as a long-sought victory for women's health, but was condemned by others as irresponsible and dangerous.

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Shots - Health News
1:10 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 2:26 pm

The seasons appear to influence when certain genes are active, with those associated with inflammation being more active in the winter, according to new research released Tuesday.

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Shots - Health News
3:59 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns

Cambrian Genomics says that what it calls a DNA printer is essentially a DNA sorter — it quickly spots and collects the desired, tailored stretch of DNA.
Courtesy of Cambrian Genomics

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 8:40 pm

Here's something that might sound strange: There are companies now that print and sell DNA.

This trend — which uses the term "print" in the sense of making a bunch of copies speedily — is making particular stretches of DNA much cheaper and easier to obtain than ever before. That excites many scientists who are keen to use these tailored strings of genetic instructions to do all sorts of things, ranging from finding new medical treatments to genetically engineering better crops.

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Shots - Health News
11:33 am
Mon April 20, 2015

FDA Ponders Putting Homeopathy To A Tougher Test

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 10:08 am

It's another busy morning at Dr. Anthony Aurigemma's homeopathy practice in Bethesda, Md.

Wendy Resnick, 58, is here because she's suffering from a nasty bout of laryngitis. "I don't feel great," she says. "I don't feel myself."

Resnick, who lives in Millersville, Md., has been seeing Aurigemma for years for a variety of health problems, including ankle and knee injuries and back problems. "I don't know what I would do without him," she says. "The traditional treatments just weren't helping me at all."

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Shots - Health News
6:47 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Scientists Urge Temporary Moratorium On Human Genome Edits

Microbiologist Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley. She's co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology — a tool that's recently made the snipping and splicing of genes much easier.
Cailey Cotner UC Berkeley

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:58 pm

A new technology called CRISPR could allow scientists to alter the human genetic code for generations. That's causing some leading biologists and bioethicists to sound an alarm.

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Around the Nation
3:21 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

FDA Allows Gay Men To Donate Blood

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:26 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
4:43 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

FDA Considers Allowing Blood Donations From Some Gay Men

Several countries, including Australia, Japan and Great Britain, already encourage blood donations from some gay men.
Kevin Curtis Getty Images/Science Photo Library

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 10:50 am

The Food and Drug Administration is considering revising a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men.

An FDA advisory committee Tuesday mulled the issues raised by changing the policy, which has been in effect since the early 1980s.

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Shots - Health News
8:49 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Vision In Preliminary Human Test

Isabella Beukes, of Santa Rosa, Calif., has been legally blind for more than 40 years. An experimental treatment derived from embryonic stem cells seems to have enabled her now to see not just color but also some shapes.
Tim Hussin for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 10:39 am

Scientists are reporting the first strong evidence that human embryonic stem cells may be helping patients.

The cells appear to have improved the vision in more than half of the 18 patients who had become legally blind because of two progressive, currently incurable eye diseases.

The researchers stress that the findings must be considered preliminary because the number of patients treated was relatively small and they have only been followed for an average of less than two years.

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Research News
5:37 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Study Finds Human Stem Cells May Help To Treat Patients

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For the first time ever, scientists are reporting that human embryonic stem cells may be helping treat patients. In the medical journal The Lancet, researchers describe how the cells seem to help restore eyesight to some blind people.

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Research News
3:58 am
Mon October 6, 2014

'Inner GPS' Discovery Wins Nobel Prize In Medicine

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 11:32 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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