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.

Mike Quaglia was 42 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which gradually robs its victims of their ability to move normally. For the next seven years, his condition deteriorated despite medication. "I was at a point where I was either going to give up and let the Parkinson's take over, or I was going to decide to fight back," Quaglia says. Fight back he did — literally. Last February he stumbled on a program called Rock Steady Boxing. That's right: It teaches Parkinson's patients...

Haiti's magnitude 7.0 earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, left 220,000 people dead, 300,000 injured and rubble nearly everywhere. The catastrophe also unleashed an unprecedented flood of humanitarian aid — $13.5 billion in donations and pledges, about three-quarters from donor nations and a quarter from private charity. But today Haiti is a long, long way from realizing the bullish goal of "building back better." "There have certainly been improvements," says Brian Concannon of the Institute for...

Authors of the first-ever global guidelines for treating hepatitis C went big Tuesday, advocating for worldwide use of two of the most expensive specialty drugs in the world. The new guidelines from the World Health Organization give strong endorsement to the two newest drugs. Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi costs $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment. Olysio, sold by Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit, costs $66,360 for a three-month course. The high prices...

When sweeping new advice on preventing heart attacks and strokes came out last November, it wasn't clear how many more Americans should be taking daily statin pills to lower their risk. A new analysis provides an answer: a whole lot. Nearly 13 million more, to be precise. If the guidelines were followed to the letter, about half of all Americans over 40 would be on cholesterol-lowering statins — more than double the current level. Even more striking, the new recommendations would make...

Colorado opened its first pot stores in January, and adults in Washington state will be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana this summer. But this legalization of recreational marijuana is taking place without much information on the possible health effects. "We should have been doing a lot more research to find out just how useful it is, how it affects the brain, et cetera, et cetera," according to Dr. Herbert Kleber , a Columbia University psychiatrist and drug abuse researcher. But...

Scientists have gotten close to pinning down the origin of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a dangerous respiratory disease that emerged in Saudi Arabia 17 months ago. It turns out the MERS virus has been circulating in Arabian camels for more than two decades, scientists report in a study published Tuesday. So far MERS has sickened more than 180 people, killing at least 77 of them — an alarming 43 percent. But scientists haven't been sure where the virus came from or how people catch it. A...

As flu-watchers like to say, you can always count on influenza virus to surprise. The latest revelation is that scientists have apparently been wrong about where new flu viruses come from. The dogma is that they always incubate in wild migratory birds, then get into domestic poultry, and then jump into mammals — especially pigs and humans. If novel flu viruses acquire the ability to transmit readily in humans — boom! — you've got a pandemic on your hands. And if a pandemic virus is...

A Pennsylvania county judge has thrown out an assisted suicide case against a 58-year-old nurse named Barbara Mancini, who was accused of homicide last year for allegedly handing her 93-year-old father a bottle of morphine. The decision is the latest in a series of recent developments signaling a reluctance of courts and state legislatures to criminalize medical care that may hasten death. Assisting in suicide is illegal in all but five states — Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New...

An effective new medicine is developed as a cure for a major disease. The drug company prices the medicine at tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. How can the disease-curing medicine be made accessible to patients who need it, most of whom live in low- and middle-income countries? It's well worth watching as drugmaker Gilead Sciences tries to solve this riddle for Solvadi, a newly approved drug for the deadly liver infection hepatitis C that afflicts more than 150 million...

There's new evidence that widely prescribed testosterone drugs — touted for men with flagging libidos and general listlessness — might increase the risk of heart attacks. A study of more than 55,000 men found a doubling of heart attack risk among testosterone users older than 65, compared with men who didn't take the drug. The research was inspired by a smaller study published in 2010 that hinted at an elevated risk among frail, older men who were on testosterone replacement therapy. The...

As China gets ready to usher in the Year of the Horse on Friday, millions of them will find it hard to buy chicken for traditional Lunar New Year feasts. That's a mark of the nation's growing anxiety about a poultry-borne flu virus called H7N9. On Tuesday, Hong Kong agricultural workers will begin destroying 20,000 chickens. The bird flu virus H7N9 was found in a single live bird from a farm in neighboring Guangdong Province. "The Department (of Food and Health) has declared the wholesale...

Go into almost any hospital these days and you'll hear a constant stream of beeps and boops. To most people it sounds like medical Muzak. But to doctors and nurses, it's not just sonic wallpaper. Those incessant beeps contain important coded messages. "The three-burst is a crisis alarm," systems engineer James Piepenbrink of Boston Medical Center explains on a tour of 7 North, the hospital's cardiac care unit. That might signal that a patient's heart has gone into a potentially fatal...

When you take a pill, you and your doctor hope it will work — and that helps it work. That's not a new idea. But now researchers say they know just how much of a drug's effect comes from the patient's expectation: at least half. When patients in the midst of a migraine attack took a dummy pill they thought was a widely used migraine drug, it reduced their pain roughly as much as when they took the real drug thinking it was a placebo. "There was no difference between the pharmacology of the...

Saturday marks an important milestone in public health – the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. Few if any documents have had the impact of this one — both on the amount of disease and death prevented, and on the very scope of public health. An analysis in the JAMA, the American Medical Association journal, estimates that 8 million Americans avoided premature death as a result of tobacco control efforts launched by the 1964 report. Those efforts...

Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV. Now the question is: Who will get access to the new drug for hepatitis C, and when? The drug Sovaldi will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long. Hepatitis researchers call the drug a landmark in the treatment...

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