Keith Seinfeld

Health & Science Reporter/Assistant News Director

Keith Seinfeld has been KPLU’s Health & Science Reporter since 2001, and prior to that covered the Environment beat. He’s been a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Keith's stories prior to Nov. 2010 can be found at our old website archives. And, more stories are at his KPLU blog, Science and Wonder.

You can also check out his "Weather with Cliff Mass" weekly interviews.

Keith’s most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Watching brain surgery on a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. When the doctor pulled out a pretty hefty hand-held drill, I realized: It may be a hi-tech procedure, but you still have to put a hole in the skull, while the patient’s awake.”

Pages

Weather with Cliff Mass
9:29 am
Fri April 6, 2012

April showers are giving way this weekend (as we remember the great Vancouver tornado)

Cumulus clouds have been prominent this week. If they grow bigger, they can signal storms ahead.
Carlye Calvin UCAR

A few scattered showers on Friday--and some puffy cumulus clouds--will dry out for Saturday.

"It should be a glorious day. And interestingly enough it should be warmer in western Washington than eastern Washington, which is not the normal situation this time of year," says KPLU weather expert and UW professor Cliff Mass.

The sunshine should stick around Sunday, but there's a bit of a debate among meteorologists over what happens Sunday evening and next week.

Read more
Science
12:27 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Autism researchers zeroing in on a genetic cause

If the wrong genetic switch gets flipped, it could trigger autism
danmachold flickr

Scientists have been pretty sure autism must begin very early in development, possibly even at the moment a sperm meets an egg. New research, conducted partially in Seattle, supports two interesting theories:

Read more
Science
10:50 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Confirmation: Pressing the chest saves lives

American Red Cross "hands-only" CPR training, using an inflatable mannequin.
The Associated Press

Focus on your hands. 

That underlying message is getting reinforcement from new research on how to save someone who has a sudden heart attack. Victims who get CPR that emphasizes chest compressions have a survival rate that's nearly double those who get older types of CPR, according to a study from King County.

Read more
Weather with Cliff Mass
9:29 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Atmospheric river brings record rains to Northwest

A satellite image shows how water gets channeled into a stream of moisture flowing toward the Northwest
NOAA

What happens when a river runs into a mountain?

An atmospheric river, carrying dense clouds of moisture from the tropical Pacific, has been colliding with our mountains, and all that moisture has been dropping like a waterfall.

Read more
affordable care act
4:57 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

McKenna opposes health care law despite agreeing with parts

"So, in every 'multi-state' you have the possibility, in fact the likelihood, that there will be specific provisions and arguments that not every state agrees with," McKenna said.
The Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court’s health-care hearings have put a spotlight on Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and his decision to join 25 other states in suing the Obama Administration. 

McKenna, a Republican, has said repeatedly for the last two years that he’s not necessarily against all of the Affordable Care Act. KPLU talked to McKenna about how he can support much of the law, but still try to overturn it.

Read more
520 floating bridge
2:53 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Bridge drivers will see first signs of replacement taking shape

If you drive across Lake Washington this week on the SR-520 floating bridge, you may notice some construction in the water. That’s the first step in building a new floating bridge across the lake--running parallel to and just north of the existing floating bridge.

This week, a large crane will move into place, along with some barges. Then, steel piles will get pushed into the soft soils in the lake-bed, just off-shore of Medina.

Read more
Weather with Cliff Mass
9:14 am
Fri March 23, 2012

The cold temperatures are gone, for real

Awww - we're all ready for a little sun and warmth.
indigo Flickr

It's true, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, of the University of Washington. It will feel like spring from here on out.

We had clear skies starting this morning, and temperatures will approach 60 on Saturday, says Mass. Expect a few clouds on Sunday, but still a pleasant day.

Read more
heart transplant
1:39 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Man walks out of Seattle hospital with no heartbeat (just a pump)

Chris Marshall shows off the mobile pump and battery pack for his artificial heart, with his wife Kathy and surgeon Dr. Nahush Mokadam at his side (Mokadam is also holding a sample of an artificial heart), at UW Medical Center.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

Of all the organs to take out of your body, the heart is the most dramatic. About 90 people in the Pacific Northwest are on a wait-list for a heart transplant. While they're waiting, many are confined to bed, for months or even years at a time, with an artificial heart connected to a 418-pound pump. 

A new artificial heart allows them to walk around, and, now, even leave the hospital. It’s still considered experimental, although it’s been used more than 1,000 times around the world.

The first person to walk onto the streets of Seattle with an artificial heart—plus its external battery pack—exited the University of Washington Medical Center on Wednesday.

Read more
Paul Allen research
10:30 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Microsoft co-founder puts $300 million into 'brain observatories'

What the new technology can reveal: a section of a mouse brain that senses 'touch" lights up, along with its connections to other regions of the brain.
Allen Institute for Brain Science

Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, is more than doubling his investment in unraveling mysteries of the brain – and bringing some of America’s top scientists to a new lab in Seattle. They say they're building "brain observatories," where they hope to answer big questions about how the mind works.

They'll peer inside the brain, similar to how groups of astronomers gather at major observatories to peer into the stars for answers about the formation of the universe.

Read more
taxes and services
1:04 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Sales tax boost would create safety net for mentally ill

If you live anywhere in the Puget Sound region you probably pay a small sales tax to support mental health services. The main exception is in Pierce County.

That may change, at least within Tacoma city limits.

A proposal in front of the Tacoma City Council would raise the sales tax by 1/10th of a percent, or a penny per $10 purchase. That’s the same as residents pay in King, Snohomish, Thurston and many other counties. The revenue would be dedicated to a broad array of services to assist people with serious mental illness or drug abuse problems.

Read more
health insurance
10:33 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Centerpiece of health care reform launches in Washington

Consultant David Smith of GMMB recommended this name and logo for the new entity currently called the Health Benefits Exchange - but it made some board members nervous.

Washington is one of the first states to begin tackling the requirements of President Obama's health care reform, even though the U.S. Supreme Court will approve or kill the controversial national system this summer.

The fist step in the reform is to create a Health Benefits Exchange. Each state is supposed to create its own insurance exchange as a new way for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance.

Washington's board set up to create this exchange had its first meeting on Thursday.

Read more
job safety
10:08 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Workplace deaths fall to record low in Washington

The number of people killed on the job in Washington fell last year to the lowest number on record. Just 51 people died at work in 2011 – a big drop compared to 89 in 2010.

The Department of Labor and Industries is at a loss to explain why the number has fallen. They point to several areas where deaths declined. The biggest drop came among farm and forestry workers.

Read more
quality medical care
11:40 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Medical ratings: Western Washington good, but not the best

Where you live definitely affects the quality of your health care. That’s clear in a new report comparing communities across the country. Western Washington is divided into three zones and they all score above average – but not in the top 10 percent.

The best score goes to the Everett/Snohomish/Skagit area.

Read more
Face of the health care fight
1:30 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Port Angeles mystery man becomes lead plaintiff against Obama's health law

Kaj Ahlburg
Peninsula Daily News

A central character in what could be the most important U.S. Supreme Court case of this generation happens to live in Port Angeles, Wash. – and he’s not talking to reporters.

Kaj Ahlburg, commonly referred to as “a retired investment banker,” is the lead plaintiff suing the Obama Administration over the 2010 health care law called the Affordable Care Act. While he has been mum about his case in the High Court, he's had plenty to say in his home community.

Read more
Cancer
12:24 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Research: Circumcision might protect against prostate cancer

Researchers studying men in Seattle have found more evidence that sexual behaviors and cancer may be linked. In this case, they’re looking at prostate cancer.

The connection is through viruses and circumcision's role in possibly limiting some infections.

Read more

Pages