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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2:30am

Mon May 27, 2013
Shots - Health News

Overweight People Are More Apt To Ditch Doctors

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 7:08 am

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

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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2:26am

Mon April 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

How To Turn Down The Heat On Fiery Family Arguments

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 9:54 am

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

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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2:04am

Mon April 15, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:45 am

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

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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2:20am

Mon April 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Study Hints Vitamin D Might Help Curb High Blood Pressure

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 7:50 am

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

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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4:35pm

Wed March 13, 2013
Shots - Health News

Postpartum Depression Affects 1 In 7 Mothers

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:09 pm

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

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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2:25am

Mon March 4, 2013
The Salt

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

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:14 pm

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

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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2:38am

Mon February 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Parents Can Learn To Tame A Testy Teenager

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 10:41 am

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

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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5:52pm

Wed January 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

Schedule Of Childhood Vaccines Declared Safe

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 6:16 am

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

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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10:56am

Tue January 15, 2013
Shots - Health News

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

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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2:37am

Mon January 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Exercise May Do A Teenage Mind Good

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:02 am

Members of the boys basketball team from Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, celebrate their 2012 state championship victory. Psychological research shows that sports camaraderie improves teenagers' mental health.
Charles Pulliam AP

It's well known that routine physical activity benefits both body and mind. And there are no age limits. Both children and adults can reap big benefits.

Now a study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explores whether certain factors may help to explain the value of daily physical activity for adolescents' mental health.

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2:25am

Fri December 28, 2012
Shots - Health News

Another Side Effect Of Chemotherapy: 'Chemo Brain'

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 11:00 am

Dr. Jame Abraham used positron emission tomography, or PET, scans to understand differences in brain metabolism before and after chemotherapy.
Dr. Jame Abraham

It's well-known that chemotherapy often comes with side effects like fatigue, hair loss and extreme nausea. What's less well-known is how the cancer treatment affects crucial brain functions, like speech and cognition.

For Yolanda Hunter, a 41-year-old hospice nurse, mother of three and breast cancer patient, these cognitive side effects of chemotherapy were hard to miss.

"I could think of words I wanted to say," Hunter says. "I knew what I wanted to say. ... There was a disconnect from my brain to my mouth."

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2:20am

Mon December 24, 2012
Shots - Health News

Like Girls, Boys Are Entering Puberty Earlier

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 10:23 am

According to a study published in Pediatrics, boys are entering puberty six months to two years earlier than they did in past studies.
iStockphoto.com

It's been known for a while that girls start puberty earlier than they did in the past, sometimes as young as 7 or 8. But it's been unclear whether boys also go through puberty earlier. Now, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics helps answer that question.

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2:32am

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Why It's Easier To Scam The Elderly

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:23 pm

Fraud victims are more likely to have opened official-looking sweepstakes notices and other mailings. A new study says the elderly are more susceptible than the young to being swindled.
Allen Breed AP

Lots of scams come by phone or by mail, but when the scam artist is right in front of you, researchers say the clues are in the face.

"A smile that is in the mouth but doesn't go up to the eyes, an averted gaze, a backward lean" are some of the ways deception may present itself, says Shelley Taylor, a psychologist at UCLA.

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2:21am

Mon December 3, 2012
Shots - Health News

Text Messages Help Smokers Kick The Habit

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 10:21 am

In the U.K.-based program called Txt2stop, researchers sent smokers encouraging text messages, like the one above, to help them quit.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Some good news about texting: A review of studies published by the Cochrane Collaboration finds that smokers trying to quit the habit are helped in a big way by supportive messages sent via text.

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2:26am

Mon November 19, 2012
Shots - Health News

Can You Move It And Work It On A Treadmill Desk?

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 9:38 am

Employees at at Salo, a Minneapolis-based financial consulting firm, walk while working on treadmill desks. The firm offers treadmill desks for employee use and encourages an active workplace environment.
Salo LLC

As we've reported, there's a backlash brewing to sedentary office life as more people realize how sitting all day can do a body wrong.

I work at home and often sit in front of my computer doing research and writing. So I thought I'd give a treadmill desk a try.

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