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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3:17am

Mon April 16, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Why Women Suffer More Migraines Than Men

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 8:52 am

A vintage ad for a headache remedy plays to women.
The National Library of Medicine

One in four women has had a migraine. And, it turns out, the debilitating headaches affect three times more women than men.

But why?

Decades ago, these headaches were attributed to women's inability to cope with stress, a sort of hysteria. Now experts are starting to figure out the factors that really make a difference.

Today scientists know a migraine is all in your head — but not in that old-fashioned sense. Migraines are biologically based, and they play themselves out as a wave of electrical activity traveling across the brain.

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12:01am

Mon March 26, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Facebook May Not Be So Friendly For Those With Low Self-Esteem

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 8:44 am

Low self-esteem and Facebook aren't the best mix.
iStockphoto.com

Posting on Facebook is an easy way to connect with people, but it also can be a means to alienate them. That can be particularly troublesome for those with low self-esteem.

People with poor self-image tend to view the glass as half empty. They complain a bit more than everyone else, and they often share their negative views and feelings when face to face with friends and acquaintances.

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12:01am

Mon March 12, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Gain Together, Lose Together: The Weight-Loss 'Halo' Effect

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 5:19 pm

Studies show that friends and family gain weight — and lose weight — together.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Here's another good reason to lose weight: It might benefit your friends, family and co-workers. Such altruism might be just the final "nudge" some of us need.

Researchers are finding that the friends and family of obese and overweight individuals who lose weight lost weight themselves, and sometimes a lot of it. Dr. John Morton, who directs Bariatric Surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, calls obesity a "family disease."

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12:01am

Mon February 20, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Does Tylenol Worsen Asthma For Kids?

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:50 pm

Dr. John McBride examines 9-month-old Martez after his mother, Ceasha Moorer, brought him in to check on his asthma.
Courtesy of Karen Schaefer

Parents and doctors around the world have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in childhood asthma.

One factor in the upswing is better detection by doctors, but at least one doctor thinks a common over-the-counter drug also has something to do with it.

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12:01am

Thu February 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:35 pm

In a study, patients with Parkinson's disease, a progressive nervous-system disorder, had fewer falls after taking up Tai Chi.
iStockphoto

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art involving slow and rhythmic movement, has been shown to benefit older people by maintaining balance and strength. Now, researchers have found that tai chi also helps patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease.

Leona Maricle was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago. At the time, she was teaching math, and she says she had experienced the telltale tremors of Parkinson's for a number of years. She learned how to cope.

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12:01am

Mon February 6, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

The 'Morning After' Pill: How It Works And Who Uses It

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 11:52 am

Plan B is available over the counter for people 17 and older.
AP

Access to emergency contraception has swirled at the center of a recent flurry of debate over insurance coverage. It's a pill women can take if their birth control fails or they forget to use it.

The most popular brand of emergency contraception is called "Plan B One-Step." You might better know it as the morning-after pill. Today, about 10 percent of sexually active women say they've used it.

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5:35pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Start Early To Curb Heart Risks For A Lifetime

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:03 pm

Yvan Dub iStockphoto.com

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. But who's at the most risk?

A study in the lastest New England Journal of Medicine offers a simple way to predict the risk of a fatal or debilitating heart attack or stroke for a middle-aged person over the rest of his or her life.

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4:48pm

Tue January 3, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Study: Weight-Loss Surgery Can Cut Deaths From Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 4:50 pm

iStockphoto.com

Most patients who undergo bariatric surgery lose weight and experience other health benefits. They have less heart disease, diabetes and cancer than their obese counterparts who don't have the surgery.

Now, researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden find bariatric surgery also reduces deaths from cardiovascular causes, such as heart attacks and strokes.

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3:50pm

Tue January 3, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Why A Teen Who Talks Back May Have A Bright Future

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 9:19 pm

Good arguments can provide lessons that last a lifetime. But psychologist Joseph P. Allen's research shows that yelling isn't the answer. "The teens who learned to be calm and confident and persuasive with their parents acted the same way when they were with their peers," he says.
iStockphoto.com

If you're the parent of a teenager, you likely find yourself routinely embroiled in disputes with your child. Those disputes are the symbol of teen developmental separation from parents.

It's a vital part of growing up, but it can be extraordinarily wearing on parents. Now researchers suggest that those spats can be tamed and, in the process, provide a lifelong benefit to children.

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12:01am

Mon December 12, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Road Rage: A Symptom Of Much More Than Bad Traffic?

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 5:20 pm

Los Angeles is no stranger to traffic jams and road rage.
iStockphoto.com

It's not unusual for awful traffic conditions or incompetent driving to make some people really angry behind the wheel. But when enraged drivers actually lash out at others on the road, that's road rage — and experts say it can be a sign of deeper emotional problems.

The term road rage was coined in Los Angeles – a city long known for its epic freeway jams. Mike Shen got a taste of how bad it can get shortly after moving to L,A., when a woman viciously tailgated him on the freeway.

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11:09am

Fri December 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Working Moms Multitask, And Stress, More Than Dads

A Kansas City family prepares a meal together. A new study finds that working mothers log more hours — and get more stressed — than working fathers while multitasking at home. (This family wasn't part of the research.)
Allison Long MCT /Landov

A new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review comes up with some findings that lots of women may feel they already know too much about: Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking at home than working dads. And those mothers aren't happy about it.

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4:00am

Fri December 2, 2011
Research News

Research: Multitasking Is Multi-Stressful For Women

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking when they are at home than their counterparts, working dads. That's according to a new study published in this month's journal The American Sociological Review. The findings are something that many women are surely saying, even as I speak, that they already knew. NPR's Patti Neighmond has this report.

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12:01am

Mon November 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Got Arthritis? Exercise Can Help

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 11:16 am

Swimming is one form of exercise that can help prevent arthritis from getting worse, doctors say.
iStockphoto.com

If you suffer the pain and stiffness of arthritis, you may not be enthusiastic about exercising. But arthritis specialists say that's exactly what you need to do.

It's advice that 65-year-old Sibyl Zaden has taken to heart. A former marathon runner and triathlete, Zaden now suffers from osteoarthritis in her shoulders and knees. "My problem is lifting my arm," she says. "It's very painful. I can lift it halfway and that's it."

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3:26am

Mon November 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Why Doctors And Patients Talk Around Our Growing Waistlines

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 1:07 pm

Many doctors and patients aren't discussing the health consequences of weight.
iStockphoto

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

OK, so you're overweight. So are two-thirds of all Americans. Maybe you need a nudge to get going on a diet and exercise plan. Maybe you've thought about talking with your doctor about weight-loss strategies. Well, a number of studies suggest you're probably not getting the advice you need.

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4:52am

Mon October 31, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat And Biology

One recent study found that people were able to burn up an extra 450 calories a day with one hour of moderate exercise. That can include walking briskly, biking or swimming.

iStockphoto.com

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

If you're among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, chances are you've had people tell you to just ease up on the eating and use a little self-control. It does, of course, boil down to "calories in, calories out."

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4:35pm

Tue October 18, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

When It Comes To Baby's Crib, Experts Say Go Bare Bones

A pediatrician says parents often mistakenly believe all baby accessories are safe.

iStockphoto.com

No more blankets in the baby's bed. Not even when it's cold outside. No bumpers, pillows, or toys. All these accoutrements are hazards for newborns and infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has released new expanded guidelines for reducing deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and other causes including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia.

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10:09am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Salt

Caffeinated Women May Be Fighting Depression With Every Cup

See that sparkle? It could be the caffeine
iStockphoto.com

For many of us, coffee is the first thought of the day. Just thinking about it gives us the buzz, the energy and the power to ask ourselves the next question, do I make it at home or shell out another $4 at the local Starbucks as I race to work?

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4:30am

Mon September 26, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

When It Comes To Pain Relief, One Size Doesn't Fit All

iStockphoto.com

When you get a headache or suffer joint pain, perhaps ibuprofen works to relieve your pain. Or maybe you take acetaminophen. Or aspirin. Researchers now confirm what many pain specialists and patients already knew: Pain relief differs from person to person.

Dr. Perry Fine is president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. He also sees patients and conducts research at the University of Utah Pain Management Center.

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6:00am

Mon September 5, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Cracking The Conundrum Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Some patients describe chronic fatigue syndrome as feeling like an "unrelenting flu."
iStockphoto.com

Nearly three decades have passed since the debate began about a series of symptoms that have come to be known as chronic fatigue syndrome. It's cause is still unknown, but over the years, researchers have identified various brain, immune system and energy metabolism irregularities involved. Some patients describe the syndrome as feeling like an "unrelenting, unremitting flu."

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12:01am

Mon August 29, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Think You're An Auditory Or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It's Unlikely

iStockphoto.com

We've all heard the theory that some students are visual learners, while others are auditory learners. And still other kids learn best when lessons involve movement.

But should teachers target instruction based on perceptions of students' strengths? Several psychologists say education could use some "evidence-based" teaching techniques, not unlike the way doctors try to use "evidence-based medicine."

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12:01am

Mon August 22, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

How Music May Help Ward Off Hearing Loss

Older people often have difficulty understanding conversation in a crowd. Like everything else, our hearing deteriorates as we age.

There are physiological reasons for this decline: We lose tiny hair cells that pave the way for sound to reach our brains. We lose needed neurons and chemicals in the inner ear, reducing our capacity to hear.

So how can you help stave off that age-related hearing loss? Try embracing music early in life, research suggests.

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5:07pm

Mon August 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Sleep Apnea Makes Quick Comeback If Breathing Treatment Stops

A man with sleep apnea wears a CPAP machine mask in bed.
Amy Walters iStockphoto.com

If you use a breathing machine to treat your sleep apnea, it's probably a bit clunky. But it's also probably doing you a lot of good.

In a small study, researchers at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland report that when patients stopped using the continuous positive airway pressure machines (C-PAP), even for one night, not only were they really sleepy the next day, but a flood of related health problems returned.

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5:50pm

Thu July 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

From Kings To The Average Joe: Gout Makes A Comeback

King Henry VIII famously suffered from gout.
iStockphoto.com

An image of gout is easy to conjure up: The portly, elder royal resting his foot on a pillow, with a swollen, red and extremely painful big toe. It could be Henry VII, who was afflicted with the "disease of kings."

But today gout seems to be the disease of the average middle-aged American who's pudgy, consuming too much meat, and drinking too much alcohol — not unlike what the royals used to do.

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5:53pm

Wed July 20, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Restaurants Often Miss The Mark On Calorie Counts

Researchers say some food items at restaurants may not have accurate calorie counts.
iStockphoto.com

Shots has often wondered if restaurant menus are, in fact, accurate when it comes to calories. Could that pasta with scallops and shrimp really only be 650 calories? Is a slice of veggie pizza just 208 calories? And is the grilled salmon bowl with brown rice a more healthful choice?

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10:24am

Thu July 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Smoking In California Hits Record Low

California health officials say smoking rates in the state are down to 11.9 percent, a new low. And the latest figures make it only the second state so far to achieve a federal target of reducing adult smoking rates to 12 percent by 2020 so far. Utah got there first, in case you were wondering.

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12:01am

Mon July 11, 2011
Your Health

An Affliction Of The Cornea Gets A Closer Look

Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the normally round cornea thins, causing a cone-like bulge to develop.
Courtesy of JirehDesign.com

Kaley Jones didn't know what hit her. She was just 17, sitting in her history class, when she realized she suddenly couldn't read what was written on the white board. Nor could she make out the faces of her classmates.

"It was really scary," she says, "It was kind of like looking through plastic wrap. I could see color, but no real detail." Jones later learned she had suffered a rupture of the inner layer of her cornea, a complication of an eye disorder known as keratoconus.

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5:00pm

Mon July 4, 2011
Health

Got Low Back Pain? Massage Therapy May Rub It Out

Peggy O'Brien Murphy receives a massage from therapist Loretta Lanz. O'Brien Murphy was among the participants in a study that found both relaxation and deep tissue massage are effective treatments for lower back pain.
Group Health Research Institute

Low back pain is second only to cold symptoms when it comes to complaints that send people to the doctor. Sooner or later, back pain seems to get most of us.

Now, a study in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that massage is an effective treatment for lower back pain. In some cases, researchers report, the benefits of massage lasted for six months or longer.

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12:01am

Mon May 23, 2011
Your Health

Metal Artificial Hips May Need A Hip Check

Artificial hips are the single biggest advance of the century in treating debilitating arthritis, says Dr Joshua Jacobs.
iStockphoto.com

The Food and Drug Administration has told companies that make "metal on metal" artificial hips to take a closer look at how patients fare after their hip replacement surgery. The request involves about 20 manufacturers.

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12:01am

Mon May 9, 2011
Health

Tattoo Ink Stained By Safety Concerns

Tattoo history reaches back thousands of years, to Egyptian mummies and even ancient ice men. Interest has waxed and waned over centuries, but now, it's fair to say, tattoo body art has reached a pinnacle. By some estimates, nearly half of all adults under 40 sport at least one tattoo.

But federal health officials are concerned that not all inks are safe. And they worry that some tattoo salons are mixing their inks with other, unsafe products.

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11:40pm

Sun April 24, 2011
Your Health

Sitting All Day: Worse For You Than You Might Think

Yes, exercise is good for you. This we know. Heaps of evidence point to the countless benefits of regular physical activity. Federal health officials recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, every day.

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