Rob Stein

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

In his reporting, Stein focuses on the intersection of science, health, politics, social trends, ethics, and federal science policy. He tracks genetics, stem cells, cancer research, the obesity epidemic, and other science, medical, and health policy news.

Before NPR, Stein served as The Washington Post's science editor and national health reporter for 16 years, editing and then covering stories nationally and internationally.

Earlier in his career, Stein spent about four years at NPR's science desk. Before that, he served as a science reporter for United Press International in Boston and the science editor of the international wire service in Washington.

Stein is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in 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.

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2:41pm

Tue June 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

FDA Backs Off On Regulation Of Fecal Transplants

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 9:34 am

Bad bug: The bacterium Clostridium difficile kills 14,000 people in the United States each year.
Janice Carr CDC/dapd

Federal regulators are dropping plans to tightly control a procedure that is becoming increasingly popular for treating people stricken by life-threatening infections of the digestive system.

The Food and Drug Administration says the agency will exercise enforcement discretion and no longer require doctors to get the agency's approval before using "fecal microbiota for transplantation."

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4:08pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

Disinfect All ICU Patients To Reduce 'Superbug' Infections

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 3:41 pm

To fight antibiotic-resistant staph germs like these, a study suggests disinfecting the skin of all intensive care patients.
Janice Carr CDC

Hospitals can sharply reduce the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria in their intensive care units by decontaminating all patients rather than screening them and focusing only on those found to be infected already, researchers reported Wednesday.

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12:18pm

Wed May 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

Research Reveals Yeasty Beasts Living On Our Skin

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 10:20 am

Fungi (cyan) surround a human hair within the skin. A study in the journal Nature shows the population of fungi on human skin is more diverse that previously thought.
Alex Valm, Ph.D.

Scientists have completed an unusual survey: a census of the fungi that inhabit different places on our skin. It's part of a big scientific push to better understand the microbes that live in and on our bodies.

"This is the first study of our fungi, which are yeast and other molds that live on the human body," says Julie Segre, of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who led the survey.

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11:03am

Wed May 15, 2013
Shots - Health News

Scientists Clone Human Embryos To Make Stem Cells

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 10:57 am

A scientist removes the nucleus from a human egg using a pipette. This is the first step to making personalized embryonic stem cells.
Courtesy of OHSU Photos

Scientists say they have, for the first time, cloned human embryos capable of producing embryonic stem cells.

The accomplishment is a long-sought step toward harnessing the potential power of embryonic stem cells to treat many human diseases. But the work also raises a host of ethical concerns.

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2:43am

Mon May 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

Parents' Saliva On Pacifiers Could Ward Off Baby's Allergies

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 9:33 am

Sucking may be one of the most beneficial ways to clean a baby's dirty pacifier, a study found
iStockphoto.com

That word "microbiome" — describing the collection of bacteria that live in and on our bodies — keeps popping up. This time, researchers say that children whose parents clean their pacifiers by sucking them might be less likely to develop allergic conditions because of how their parents' saliva changes their microbiomes.

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