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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Shots - Health News
3:45 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Sweet Cigarillos And Cigars Lure Youths To Tobacco, Critics Say

Candy-flavored cigars like these in a shop in Albany, N.Y., are the focus of efforts to restrict sales of sweet-flavored tobacco.
Hans Pennink Associated Press

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:56 pm

The good news: Cigarette sales are down by about a third over the past decade. Not so for little cigars and cigarillos. Their sales more than doubled over the same time period, in large part owing to the growing popularity of these little cigars among teenagers and 20-somethings.

The appeal among young people has lots to do with the large variety of candylike flavors in the little cigars, according to Jennifer Cantrell, director of research and evaluation at the anti-tobacco Legacy Foundation.

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Shots - Health News
3:25 am
Mon August 5, 2013

When Treating Abnormal Breast Cells, Sometimes Less Is More

Sally O'Neill decided to have a double mastectomy rather than "do a wait-and-see."
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 11:39 am

When Sally O'Neill's doctor told her she had an early form of cancer in one of her breasts, she didn't agonize about what she wanted to.

The 42-year-old mother of two young girls wanted a double mastectomy.

"I decided at that moment that I wanted them both taken off," says O'Neill, who lives in a suburb of Boston. "There wasn't a real lot of thought process to it. I always thought, 'If this happens to me, this is what I'm going to do.' Because I'm not taking any chances. I want the best possible outcome. I don't want to do a wait-and-see."

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Shots - Health News
2:59 am
Mon July 29, 2013

How To Find A Path Off The Dreaded Diet Plateau

Illustration by Tim Robinson for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Chances are that if you've ever lost weight following a strict diet and exercise regimen, you've also reached the diet plateau. On that lonely plateau, pounds never seem to melt away, no matter how hard you try to shed them.

You're not alone. Consider the plight of Susan Carierre. When the 5-foot-6-inch Carriere hit 230 pounds, she decided to enroll in a weight-loss program at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center near her home in Baton Rouge, La.

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Shots - Health News
3:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Patients Seek A Different Approach To Hip Replacement Surgery

Michael Pagliaro, left, laughs with Paul Scattaretico at the Muzic Store Inc. in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., as Pagliaro picks up instruments for his rental business. Before Pagliaro had a hip replacement, pain made it difficult to work.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 5:10 am

Every year more than a quarter of a million Americans have total hip replacement surgery. It's almost always a successful operation that frees patients from what's often described as disabling pain.

But in recent years, there's been lots of discussion on the Internet about "anterior approach" hip replacement, a surgical technique that's different than the standard procedure. It's one that proponents say can lead to quicker recovery, three to four weeks compared to six to eight weeks for typical surgery.

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Health
4:52 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Deadly Painkiller Overdoses Affecting More Women

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 5:59 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's look now at some disturbing health news. At study out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows women are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers at a much higher rate than men. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Men still die from these overdoses at a higher rate than women. Women are dying from the overdoses at a much higher rate than ever before.]

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women overdosing. NPR's Patti Neighmond reports.

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Shots - Health News
2:58 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On

Depression is common among old people, affecting up to 25 percent.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:54 am

Depression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they're more likely to develop dementia in old age.

But the link between depression and dementia remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia.

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Shots - Health News
2:56 am
Mon June 10, 2013

African-Americans Remain Hardest Hit By Medical Bills

Mike Jackson has diabetes and high blood pressure. His eye was damaged after he cut back on insulin because he couldn't afford it.
Bryan Terry for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:37 am

For many years, high medical bills have been a leading cause of financial distress and bankruptcy in America. That pressure may be easing ever so slightly, according to a survey released earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But 1 in 5 Americans still face hardships due to medical costs — and African-Americans continue to be the hardest hit.

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Shots - Health News
3:30 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Overweight People Are More Apt To Ditch Doctors

Going to the doctor may be uncomfortable for people who are worried about weight.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:08 am

Patients struggling with obesity can have a tough time finding the right doctor, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 am
Mon April 29, 2013

How To Turn Down The Heat On Fiery Family Arguments

Parents can minimize the negative impact of their arguments on their children using a few simple techniques to calm down.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 10:54 am

All parents are bound to disagree, argue or even raise their voices with each other.

But psychologists say parents can minimize the negative impact of their arguments on their children. It's just a matter of using a few simple techniques to turn down the heat and repair the damage after it's over.

Psychologist Suzanne Phillips at Long Island University says one of the most important things for parents to remember when they're on the verge of a big argument is not to involve the child.

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Shots - Health News
3:04 am
Mon April 15, 2013

How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia

An older man performs exercises in Mumbai, India. Research suggests that moderate physical exercise may be the best way to keep our brains healthy as we age.
Rajesh Kumar Singh AP

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 8:45 am

The numbers are pretty grim: More than half of all 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia.

But here's the good news: Brain researchers say there are ways to boost brain power and stave off problems in memory and thinking.

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Study Hints Vitamin D Might Help Curb High Blood Pressure

Reducing dietary salt and alcohol, exercising, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight are other lifestyle tweaks known to help prevent or reduce high blood pressure, doctors say.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 8:50 am

We've heard many claims in the past decade — and much debate — about the role of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of conditions as varied as brittle bones, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.

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Shots - Health News
5:13 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Postpartum Depression Affects 1 In 7 Mothers

A JAMA Psychiatry study found that 1 in 7 mothers are affected by postpartum depression.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 2:09 pm

It's well documented that some women suffer depression after having a baby. But it's less well-known just how many do.

The largest study to date shows that as many as 1 in every 7 women suffers postpartum depression. And the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, finds that among women followed for a year after delivery, some 22 percent had been depressed.

The study also recommends that all pregnant women and new mothers be screened for depression.

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The Salt
3:25 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Selling Kids On Veggies When Rules Like 'Clean Your Plate' Fail

Good advice, but strict rules at mealtime may backfire.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 5:14 pm

If you're a parent, you've probably heard remarks like this during dinner: "I don't like milk! My toast is burnt! I hate vegetables! I took a bite already! What's for dessert?" It can be daunting trying to ensure a healthy diet for our children. So it's no wonder parents often resort to dinner time rules.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 am
Mon February 11, 2013

How Parents Can Learn To Tame A Testy Teenager

Brad McDonald and his 14-year-old daughter, Madalyn, are working to understand each other during her teenage years.
Courtesy of Brad McDonald

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:41 am

If you're the parent of a teenager, this may sound familiar: "Leave me alone! Get out of my face!" Maybe you've had a door slammed on you. And maybe you feel like all of your interactions are arguments.

Kim Abraham, a therapist in private practice in Michigan, specializes in helping teens and parents cope with anger. She also contributes regularly to the online newsletter Empowering Parents. Abraham says, for starters, don't take it personally.

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Shots - Health News
7:01 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Schedule Of Childhood Vaccines Declared Safe

Some parents have worried that kids get too many vaccinations too quickly. A review of all the available research suggests those concerns are misplaced.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 7:16 am

Childhood vaccines for diseases like measles, polio and whooping cough have repeatedly been proved safe and effective. Even so, some parents still worry that the schedule of vaccinations — 24 immunizations by the age of 2 — can be dangerous. That worry is likely misplaced, according to a yearlong review of all available scientific data.

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Shots - Health News
11:47 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Pictures May Speak Louder Than Words When It Comes To Smoking

A cigarette warning label image approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 11:56 am

Researchers have found that graphic anti-smoking images may be more powerful than words alone in warning people from different income and racial groups about the dangers of smoking.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:28 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Doctors Strike Mutating Bacteria In Teen Acne Battle

A tiny bacteriophage virus can cripple the bacteria that cause troublesome acne on teens' skin.
Charles Bowman University of Pittsburgh

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:59 am

Acne, the scourge of many an adolescent life, is getting harder to treat, but 80 percent of teenagers have some form of it.

Conventional treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics. Studies are now finding the bacteria that cause acne are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Alternatively, there are effective laser treatments. But these are costly and typically not covered by insurance.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:06 am
Mon October 8, 2012

When Should Seniors Hang Up The Car Keys?

More elderly drivers will hit the road in the next decade, but family members wonder: When is it time for elderly loved ones to move to the passenger seat?
Martin Novak iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 4:35 am

With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:22 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Two New Drugs May Help In Fight Against Obesity

Doctors may recommend that obese patients use weight-loss drugs to trick their hunger pangs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 11:59 am

The Food and Drug Administration approved two new medications this year to help obese and overweight individuals lose weight.

Diet drugs have been around in different forms for a while, but now researchers hope one of these two might actually help make a dent in the obesity epidemic.

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The Salt
3:29 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Low And Slow May Be The Way To Go When It Comes To Dieting

Eating low-glycemic foods, or foods that take longer to digest, may help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Robyn Mackenzie iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:09 pm

If you're dieting, you know you've got to count calories, carbs and fats. But if you really want to take off the weight and keep it off, you might want to pay more attention to the glycemic index, which is essentially a measure of how quickly foods are digested.

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