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Richard Knox

Richard Knox

Since he joined NPR in 2000, Knox has covered a broad range of issues and events in public health, medicine, and science. His reports can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Talk of the Nation, and newscasts.

Among other things, Knox's NPR reports have examined the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa, North America, and the Caribbean; anthrax terrorism; smallpox and other bioterrorism preparedness issues; the rising cost of medical care; early detection of lung cancer; community caregiving; music and the brain; and the SARS epidemic.

Before joining NPR, Knox covered medicine and health for The Boston Globe. His award-winning 1995 articles on medical errors are considered landmarks in the national movement to prevent medical mistakes. Knox is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Columbia University. He has held yearlong fellowships at Stanford and Harvard Universities, and is the author of a 1993 book on Germany's health care system.

He and his wife Jean, an editor, live in Boston. They have two daughters.

  • Heavy drinking can lead to alcohol-induced amnesia. It can be total or it can be spotty. Either way, it can be difficult for a bystander, or even the inebriated person, to know when it has happened.
  • The idea is to inject anti-HIV antibodies that would kill the virus when people get exposed. A new study is promising — although it was conducted on monkeys.
  • The demands: a U.N. apology for bringing the disease to the island, reparations for victims, repairs to the water system. Meanwhile, a study shows the toll is far worse than previously thought.
  • When Congress expanded Medicare to include drug coverage, it ordered the National Institute of Medicine to look at what should be done to minimize medication errors. The agency says medication errors harm at least 1.5 million Americans every year.
  • Twenty-five years after the first report of AIDS, the long quest for a vaccine against HIV has largely been disappointing. Despite some advances, researchers say the vaccines now being tested are not likely to fully protect people against getting infected.
  • A draft flu-pandemic response plan from the federal government says a worst-case scenario could kill as many as 2 million people in the United States. The draft Bush administration plan is an update to the $7.1 billion in pandemic preparations that it proposed last fall. The plan outlines exactly which government agency is responsible for about 300 tasks.
  • A new study in the journal Sleep provides the strongest evidence yet that the unregulated dietary supplement melatonin helps people get a good night's sleep. Researchers found that it works as well as prescription sleep aids now on the market. Melatonin is available over the counter.
  • Two infected airline passengers may have helped spread mumps from Iowa to several other Midwestern states, health officials say. The epidemic -- Iowa may have as many as 600 cases -- is a new example of how quickly diseases can spread through air travel. The outbreak is the largest in 18 years.
  • Massachusetts has enacted legislation to provide health insurance for virtually every citizen within the next three years. The measure would be the first in the nation to require people to buy health insurance if they don't get it at work.
  • The Massachusetts legislature has enacted a bill designed to provide health insurance for nearly all its citizens. If Gov. Mitt Romney signs it, the state would become the first in the nation to require all individuals to have health coverage or pay a penalty.