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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4:00am

Mon July 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:37 pm

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

We know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial.

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3:47pm

Mon July 21, 2014
Shots - Health News

High-Performing Charter Schools May Improve Students' Health

Researchers are just starting to look at how school choice affects health.
romester/iStockphoto

Many people are intensely interested in how publicly funded charter schools affect children, and that includes not just their academic achievement but their health.

Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. wanted to know whether attending a high-performing charter school reduced the rates of risky health behaviors among low-income minority teenagers.

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2:28am

Wed July 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Want More Stress In Your Life? Try Parenting A Teenager

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

Amy Myers talks with her son Kamron, 18, in the backyard of their home in Boise, Idaho. She has found raising a teenager to be extremely stressful.
Kyle Green for NPR

If anyone can handle the stress of parenting in the teen years, you'd think it would be a high school teacher.

That's how Amy Myers felt. She teaches high school English in a suburb of Boise, Idaho, where she says she has "pseudo parented" about 3,000 teenagers "who I have talked to, given advice to, guided, directed, even lectured about teenage issues," she says.

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2:18am

Mon July 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

For Many Americans, Stress Takes A Toll On Health And Family

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:14 pm

Leif Parsons for NPR

Stress is part of the human condition, unavoidable and even necessary to a degree. But too much stress can be toxic — even disabling.

And there's a lot of toxic stress out there.

A national poll done by NPR with our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds that more than 1 in every 4 Americans say they had a great deal of stress in the previous month.

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8:33am

Mon June 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

More And More, Young Women Are Being Diagnosed With ADHD

The stress of adult life can make living with undiagnosed ADHD very difficult, doctors say.
Jing Wei for NPR

As a child, Diany Levy was called lazy and unfocused. She remembers that teachers called home on a daily basis to tell her parents she was not paying attention in class. Now, at the age of 23, Diany has finally been diagnosed with the cause of her problems – ADHD.

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2:44am

Mon May 26, 2014
Shots - Health News

Anxious Parents Can Learn How To Reduce Anxiety In Their Kids

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:35 pm

Noah Cummings, 13, starts the morning with his mom, Heather Cummings, at home in Epsom, N.H.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Children are increasingly anxious, stressed out and overly worried. Part of that has to do with increased pressures to excel in school, sports and extracurricular activities. But part of it has a lot to do with parents.

Like other mental and physical health problems, anxiety can be inherited. And some children are more vulnerable because of the way their anxious parents "parent."

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2:24am

Mon May 12, 2014
Shots - Health News

That Prescription Might Not Have Been Tested For Your Ailment

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 4:00 pm

Leif Parsons for NPR

It's actually quite common for doctors to write "off label" prescriptions, including using cancer drugs to treat migraine headaches or blood pressure medication for heart failure.

One study found that 1 in 5 prescriptions written in doctor's offices has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the condition it is being used for. And while some off-label drugs are used with no problems, others may not work or may increase a patient's risk of complications.

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2:36am

Mon April 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

Test First Before Going For Those Testosterone Supplements

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 4:41 pm

Testosterone levels in men can go up and down throughout the day.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

If you're a man and you're concerned about low levels of testosterone, doctors say there are a key steps to take before you go with testosterone supplementation.

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2:41am

Mon April 21, 2014
Shots - Health News

For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 11:29 am

Katherine Streeter for NPR

It's not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling.

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2:22am

Mon April 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

Chemo Can Make Food Taste Like Metal. Here's Help

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 8:08 am

Scott Peterson/One Bite at a Time/Celestial Arts

Cancer patients often lose their appetite because chemotherapy can cause nausea. But it does something else to make food unappetizing – it changes the way things taste.

Hollye Jacobs was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, at the age of 39. As a nurse she expected the extreme nausea that often accompanies powerful chemo therapy drugs. But as a patient, she wasn't expecting the taste changes.

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3:13pm

Mon March 10, 2014
Children's Health

Casinos, Sites Of Excess, Might Actually Help Families Slim Down

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:59 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When you think about casinos, you probably think about excess: smoke-filled rooms, too much alcohol, and endless buffets filled with piles of high-fat and high sugar foods.

But as NPR's Patti Neighmond reports, a new study suggests casinos may actually have a health benefit for children who live in nearby communities.

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1:57am

Mon March 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

Of Cigs And Selfies: Teens Imitate Risky Behavior Shared Online

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:59 am

High school students whose friends posted photos of drinking and smoking were about 20 percent more likely to become drinkers or smokers themselves.
iStockphoto

Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

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10:46am

Thu March 6, 2014
Shots - Health News

Teens Who Try E-Cigarettes Are More Likely To Try Tobacco, Too

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:01 pm

They're both legal. Either, both or none?
iStockphoto

While electronic cigarettes may be marketed as alternatives that will keep teenagers away from tobacco, a study suggests that may not be the case.

Trying e-cigarettes increased the odds that a teenager would also try tobacco cigarettes and become regular smokers, the study found. Those who said they had ever used an e-cigarette were six times more likely to try tobacco than ones who had never tried the e-cig.

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2:32am

Mon March 3, 2014
Shots - Health News

Marijuana May Hurt The Developing Teen Brain

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:42 pm

The teenager's brain has a lot of developing to do: It must transform from the brain of a child into the brain of an adult. Some researchers worry how marijuana might affect that crucial process.

"Actually, in childhood our brain is larger," says Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. "Then, during the teenage years, our brain is getting rid of those connections that weren't really used, and it prunes back.

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3:15pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Shots - Health News

Parents And Teens Aren't Up To Speed On HPV Risks, Doctors Say

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:17 pm

You would think that a vaccine that could prevent cancer would be an easy sell, but that's hasn't proven to be true so far with the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

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