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.

We've all heard the theory that some students are visual learners, while others are auditory learners. And still other kids learn best when lessons involve movement.

But should teachers target instruction based on perceptions of students' strengths? Several psychologists say education could use some "evidence-based" teaching techniques, not unlike the way doctors try to use "evidence-based medicine."

Older people often have difficulty understanding conversation in a crowd. Like everything else, our hearing deteriorates as we age.

There are physiological reasons for this decline: We lose tiny hair cells that pave the way for sound to reach our brains. We lose needed neurons and chemicals in the inner ear, reducing our capacity to hear.

So how can you help stave off that age-related hearing loss? Try embracing music early in life, research suggests.

If you use a breathing machine to treat your sleep apnea, it's probably a bit clunky. But it's also probably doing you a lot of good.

In a small study, researchers at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland report that when patients stopped using the continuous positive airway pressure machines (C-PAP), even for one night, not only were they really sleepy the next day, but a flood of related health problems returned.

An image of gout is easy to conjure up: The portly, elder royal resting his foot on a pillow, with a swollen, red and extremely painful big toe. It could be Henry VII, who was afflicted with the "disease of kings."

But today gout seems to be the disease of the average middle-aged American who's pudgy, consuming too much meat, and drinking too much alcohol — not unlike what the royals used to do.

Shots has often wondered if restaurant menus are, in fact, accurate when it comes to calories. Could that pasta with scallops and shrimp really only be 650 calories? Is a slice of veggie pizza just 208 calories? And is the grilled salmon bowl with brown rice a more healthful choice?

California health officials say smoking rates in the state are down to 11.9 percent, a new low. And the latest figures make it only the second state so far to achieve a federal target of reducing adult smoking rates to 12 percent by 2020 so far. Utah got there first, in case you were wondering.

Kaley Jones didn't know what hit her. She was just 17, sitting in her history class, when she realized she suddenly couldn't read what was written on the white board. Nor could she make out the faces of her classmates.

"It was really scary," she says, "It was kind of like looking through plastic wrap. I could see color, but no real detail." Jones later learned she had suffered a rupture of the inner layer of her cornea, a complication of an eye disorder known as keratoconus.

Low back pain is second only to cold symptoms when it comes to complaints that send people to the doctor. Sooner or later, back pain seems to get most of us.

Now, a study in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that massage is an effective treatment for lower back pain. In some cases, researchers report, the benefits of massage lasted for six months or longer.