Rob Stein

Rob Stein is a correspondent and senior editor on NPR's science desk.

An award-winning science journalist with more than 25 years of experience, Stein mostly covers health and medicine. He tends to focus on stories that illustrate the intersection of science, health, politics, social trends, ethics, and federal science policy. He tracks genetics, stem cells, cancer research, women's health issues and other science, medical, and health policy news.

Before NPR, Stein worked at The Washington Post for 16 years, first as the newspaper's science editor and then as a national health reporter. Earlier in his career, Stein spent about four years as an editor at NPR's science desk. Before that, he was a science reporter for United Press International (UPI) in Boston and the science editor of the international wire service in Washington.

Stein is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He completed a journalism fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, a program in science and religion at the University of Cambridge, and a summer science writer's workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Stein's work has been honored by many organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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12:42pm

Thu January 15, 2015
Shots - Health News

This Year's Flu Vaccine Is Pretty Wimpy, But Can Still Help

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:21 pm

Bruno Mbango Enyaka gets his flu shot at a community health center in Portland, Maine, on Jan. 7.
Gabe Souza Press Herald via Getty Images

As expected, this year's flu vaccine looks like it's pretty much of a dud.

The vaccine only appears to cut the chances that someone will end up sick with the flu by 23 percent, according to the first estimate of the vaccine's effectiveness by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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2:17am

Thu January 8, 2015
Shots - Health News

Specialists Split Over HPV Test's Role In Cancer Screening

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 11:49 am

The human papilloma virus causes most — but not all — cases of cancer of the cervix.
James Cavallini ScienceSource

Two medical groups say doctors could replace the Pap smear with a different test to screen many women for cervical cancer.

But that recommendation, included in an "interim guidance" released Thursday, is highly controversial; other experts call it premature.

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2:28am

Wed December 31, 2014
Shots - Health News

Potent Powdered Caffeine Raises Safety Worries

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:32 am

One teaspoon of pure caffeine powder delivers about the same jolt as 25 cups of coffee.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest

Wade Sweatt thought he had found a healthier way to get himself going in the morning. Instead of getting his daily jolt of caffeine from a cup of coffee or a Coke, Sweatt decided last summer to try mixing some powdered caffeine he'd bought via the Internet with some water or milk.

"Wade was very health-conscious, a very healthy person," says Sweatt's father, James. "His idea was, this was healthier than getting all the sugar and the sodium and ... artificial sweeteners from drinking Coca-Colas and diet Cokes."

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3:26pm

Fri December 26, 2014
Shots - Health News

One More Reason To Reach For A Paper Book Before Bed

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 7:18 am

Sleepy in the day and wide awake at night? Give the screen a rest.
Guido Mieth Getty Images/Flickr RM

E-readers may make it particularly hard to get a good night's sleep, according to research out this week.

A study that followed every nightly twitch, turn and snore of 12 volunteers for a couple weeks found that those who read from an iPad before hitting the sack had a harder time falling asleep, spent less time in a crucial phase of sleep, and were less alert the next day.

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4:48pm

Wed December 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Mishandling Of Ebola Sample May Have Exposed CDC Technician To Virus

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 12:54 pm

Stringy particles of Ebola virus (blue) bud from a chronically infected cell (yellow-green) in this colorized, scanning electron micrograph.
NIAID Science Source

Federal health officials are investigating an incident involving the mishandling of the Ebola virus at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta.

The incident involved the material used in an experiment with the Ebola virus, the CDC said in a statement released late Wednesday. The material was accidentally moved from a high-security lab to a low-security lab on Monday. As a result, there's a possibility that one lab technician may have been exposed to the virus. That person will be monitored for 21 days for any symptoms.

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