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.”

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

If you are wondering about the weather ... ask Cliff Mass

KPLU hosts one of the northwest's leading weather experts, University of Washington professor Cliff Mass. Every Friday, Mass talks with KPLU's Keith Seinfeld about the weekend weather and the science behind it.

From time to time, they like to answer questions posed by listeners and readers. This page is your place to pose questions.

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Health
4:59 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Health clinics for the poor look to middle class for income

Clinics and hospitals that serve low-income people are holding candle-light vigils in Seattle, Yakima and Spokane this week to draw attention to proposed budget cuts they call devastating. After education, the second biggest slice of the state budget goes to health care, totaling about a third of the general fund.

Some community clinics are taking the desperate step of marketing themselves to people with private insurance. That's a big change for non-profits with a mission to serve the poor.

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vaccine controversy
10:57 am
Tue November 29, 2011

Pediatricians struggle over patients who won’t vaccinate

Sitting in her home in Ashland, Ore., earlier this month Jennifer Margulis shows off empty vials of vaccine that she saves in case one of her children has a bad reaction. Like many parents, she is concerned about the right schedule for vaccinations.
Associated Press

Doctors across the country are saying they might fire you as a patient if you refuse to let your child be immunized, according to a few stories that have ignited all kinds of discussions about vaccines and the role of pediatricians.

But a new survey confirms that’s a minority viewpoint, particularly among pediatricians in Washington. 

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life science research
1:00 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Seattle's biotech, research economy faces multi-threat future

Federal, state and private money for research in the life sciences are dwindling and that's a big threat to the industry build up around it.
Sergei Golyshev Flickr

Biotech and research jobs have increased in Washington, even as the overall economy sputtered. That’s according to a trade-group, the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association.

But the outlook for next year and beyond is less rosy.

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Alternative to dentists
12:36 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

How much training do you need to pull a tooth?

Not recommended. But exactly how much training should you have?
Flickr photo by VoxEfx

In the old days, you might have tied a string to the door, and pulled a tooth with a slam (see the YouTube video below). But these days, most of us prefer a sterile environment and some anesthetic, not to mention a professional guiding hand.

How much training and supervision you need to pull teeth (and offer dental advice) are the central questions in a dispute between dentists and advocates for poor children. 

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:03 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Gusty enough to knock down ... branches? a restaurant?

Commemorating the windstorm of 2003, this mural by Chris Hopkins is at Ivar's rebuilt restaurant in Mukilteo.

The type of wind and rainstorm blowing into western Washington has done some amazing damage in the past. Weather expert Cliff Mass is not forecasting anything so huge this weekend, but we will get a "westerly wind surge," gusty enough to expect some power outages on Whidbey Island. 

Winds could gust to 50 or 60 miles per hour in some parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca -- as a front from the north accelerates down the strait and barrels into Whidbey and the Everett area.

Two examples that Mass recalls vividly:

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Voting problems
5:45 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

How 11,000 ballots went missing; statewide ballot problems emerge

An embarrassing computer glitch -- but one that anyone can relate to -- in King County explains why 11,000 voters didn’t receive their ballots until just over a week before Election Day. And, just as that problem was resolved, Washington's Secretary of State discovered that 21,000 voters around the state may not have received ballots.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:03 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Some rain into the weekend ... but watch for the most dangerous Northwest weather

The most dangerous weather in the Northwest? Even though the winter roads can clearly be hazardous, such as in 2008 when this bus slid down Capitol Hill in Seattle, but the worst is the sneaky ice caused by fog.
sea turtle Flickr

A strong storm front is moving in and will make today and Sunday mostly wet with a break from the rain on Saturday, KPLU's weather expert Cliff Mass says. And trick-or-treaters on Monday should have decent weather. 

After Friday's rain and windstorm subsides, you'll have a chance to ponder what Mass calls Washington's "most dangerous weather phenomenon."

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Election 2011
6:36 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

Transportation fix – finally? Or is it the wrong plan?

One reason David Miler doesn't like Proposition 1 - it pays for just nine blocks of new sidewalks, while Seattle has many miles where kids walk in the street to school, as they do on 20th Ave. NE near Sacajawea Elementary.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

If you ever drive or walk in Seattle, it’s easy to spot places where the streets and bus system could work better. Voters have a chance to make improvements this fall, if they approve a $60 licensing fee on every car in the city.

However, some complain that the measure would cost too much and deliver too little. 

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Global Health
10:07 am
Wed October 19, 2011

Bill Gates says innovation will beat malaria

Bill and Melinda Gates answering questions from moderator Richard Besser, at the 2011 Malaria Forum in Seattle.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Technology can triumph over one of the oldest plagues of humanity. That was the underlying theme of Bill Gates’ pep talk to malaria researchers gathered this week in Seattle:

"A key reason I think we will succeed is that we have the ability to innovate. This is really behind most of the improvements in the human condition. Innovation is one of  the most powerful forces in the world. 

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Global Health
3:07 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Malaria vaccine pushed by PATH and Gates shows some success

Children in the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial wait with their parents at a hospital in Tanzania on June 28, 2011.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Leaders at the Seattle non-profit group PATH – and their sponsors at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation– say they’re excited about the latest results from a malaria vaccine trial in Africa. The interim results don't guarantee it will be a success, but it’s the best any malaria vaccine has ever done.

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Global Health
4:13 pm
Sun October 16, 2011

Bill Gates vs. the mosquitoes, who's winning?

One of the tools for fighting malaria is the bed net. Has it been successful?
Matt Handy Flickr

Four years ago the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for the eradication of malaria. Since then it has spent nearly $2 billion in the effort.

While there has been success, many still wonder: What factors are driving malaria away? What's causing the success? There are also many confounding factors at play ranging from climate change to the mysterious disappearance of mosquitoes in east Africa.

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head injury
9:11 am
Fri September 30, 2011

Recession may have caused more infant abuse

It appears the economic recession has taken its toll on babies. Researchers have found the number of babies with severe head injuries nearly doubled in 2008 and 2009. Stress in the family seems to be a factor.

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government spending
5:10 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Seattle preserves services, but may lay off 82 workers

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn presented his annual city budget at Seattle Central Community College.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

Big budget cuts loom from the state and federal governments, but some city and county leaders say their situation is more stable. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn presented an annual budget that cuts about 2 percent from the city’s general fund.

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health care costs
6:00 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Workers' wellness saving jobs in parks, policing, transit

King County Executive Dow Constantine and nine county employees who've been getting healthier.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

King County Executive Dow Constantine says he’ll be able to preserve as many as a dozen sheriff’s deputies and 20 public health nurses. That’s because King County employees have been improving their health – and saving taxpayers about $23 million this year.

The savings go back into the county’s budget, and will mean fewer cuts next year.

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