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 Blog
4:31 am
Mon June 11, 2012

To Sniff Out Childhood Allergies, Researchers Head To The Farm

Contact with animals and dirty environments may be one reason farm kids are less likely to get allergies, researchers say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 11:11 am

Allergies are on the rise these days, especially in children. Nearly half of all kids are now allergic to something, be it food, animals, or plants. Federal health officials say that rate is two to five times higher than it was 30 years ago.

And as researchers are trying to understand why, they're increasingly looking at kids who grow up on farms.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:48 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Need A Nurse? You May Have To Wait

Some fear that with rising medical costs and an aging population, the country's nursing staff will be stretched too thin.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:15 pm

Nurses are the backbone of the hospital — just ask pretty much any doctor or patient. But a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 34 percent of patients hospitalized for at least one night in the past year said "nurses weren't available when needed or didn't respond quickly to requests for help."

Since nurses provide most of the patient care in hospitals, we were surprised at the findings. We wanted to find out more. We wanted to know what was going on from nurses themselves. So we put a call-out on Facebook.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:27 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Doctors' Due Diligence: Measuring Kids' Blood Pressure

Doctors often overlook taking a child's blood pressure during routine visits.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 8:37 am

There have been hints that the obesity epidemic's rise has slowed a bit among certain populations, but for the most part, it continues to dominate American health. One third of children and teenagers are now overweight or obese. And researchers forecast as many as half of our nation's population could be obese — not overweight but obese — by 2030.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:40 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Swaddling and Shushing Help Soothe Babies After Vaccinations

I could use some shushing and swaddling right about now.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:57 am

Imagine you're a happy baby, off with your folks to visit the doctor.

"They're probably thinking, 'Oh hi everybody, hi!' and suddenly — boom! A shot," says John Harrington, a pediatrician in Norfolk, Va.

Who wouldn't scream at that?

But Harrington says that the same techniques used to soothe a fussy baby can also help an infant overcome the pain of vaccinations.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:17 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Why Women Suffer More Migraines Than Men

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

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

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon March 12, 2012

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

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Does Tylenol Worsen Asthma For Kids?

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 6, 2012

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

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
5:35 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Start Early To Curb Heart Risks For A Lifetime

Yvan Dub iStockphoto.com

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
4:48 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

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

iStockphoto.com

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
3:50 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Why A Teen Who Talks Back May Have A Bright Future

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon December 12, 2011

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

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
11:09 am
Fri December 2, 2011

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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Research News
4:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

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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NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Medicare To Cover Weight Loss Counseling

Medicare has announced that it will pay for primary care providers to counsel obese patients on losing weight and maintaining the weight loss. Medicare will pay doctors, nurses and physicians' assistants to help plan weight loss programs.

Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Got Arthritis? Exercise Can Help

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
3:26 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Why Doctors And Patients Talk Around Our Growing Waistlines

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

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

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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Shots - Health Blog
4:52 am
Mon October 31, 2011

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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