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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workplace safety
11:06 am
Fri February 18, 2011

Workplace deaths rise, after several years of drops

An example of the dangers of “trench digging” illustrates how workers should not stand near or under operating machinery.
OSHA Training Institute, Southwest Education Center / elcoshimages.org

When you leave home for work, you probably assume you’ll live to come back at the end of the day.  For 86 workers, that didn’t happen last year.

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Real Estate
7:45 am
Wed February 16, 2011

Old Olympia Brewery seeks new life as mixed-use complex

The historic 1906 Olympia Brewing Co.structure, along the Deschutes River, is looking for a new life.
Michael D. Martin (flickr)

The former Olympia Brewery, in Tumwater, Wash., may join a handful of historic structures around Puget Sound that are finding new life as shopping or entertainment complexes. 

A Centralia developer bought the old brewhouse and a nearby warehouse last year, and now he's trying to put together a plan that will attract further financing.

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Medicine
5:30 am
Mon February 14, 2011

Busiest emergency rooms – not where you might expect

The new Good Samaritan medical tower in Puyallup includes an Emergency Department that nearly doubles the size of the old ER. It opens Thursday, Feb. 17.
Photo Courtsey of Good Samaritan

New emergency rooms keep opening around western Washington. It's part of a trend.

On Thursday (Feb. 17th), Swedish Medical Centers will open a free-standing Emergency Department in Mill Creek, between Seattle and Everett. And, on the same day, MultiCare opens a new medical tower at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup -- which has the busiest ER in Pierce County. 

It turns out, the busiest ER’s in Washington are mostly outside the biggest cities.

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Health Care
5:08 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Obama’s chief defender of health care law in Seattle

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in Seattle this week, to hear about local efforts to make the medical system more efficient.

Sebelius is in charge of implementing the new national health care law – and defending it. The Affordable Care Act has been under fierce attack by Republicans and their allies. Democrats and their supporters recently hired political strategists to launch a campaign in defense of the law.

At the same time, Sebelius has been trying to sell it across the country, alongside sympathetic mayors and governors. 

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diversion from jails and hospitals
4:01 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Alternative for mentally ill in crisis stirs debate

A proposed crisis center in Seattle shares S. Lane St. with single-family homes.
GoogleMaps

Crisis centers for the mentally ill are gaining popularity across Washington, as a way to help people and potentially save taxpayers' money.  They’re an alternative to jails and emergency rooms. 

But these short-term treatment centers are also running into hostility. Potential neighbors are unhappy about being next door to a facility where patients arrive by police car and ambulance, in the middle of a mental health or drug crisis.

In central Seattle, an angry backlash of homeowners is threatening to delay the opening of a proposed “Crisis Solutions Center.” The location is on a block near Rainier Avenue and Dearborn, where businesses and stores give way to single-family homes.  

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Technology
8:55 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Google accuses Microsoft of snooping on its searches

Google charges Micosoft of spying on its searches.
Joerg Sarbach AP

Here's how bitter it's become in the battle between Google and Microsoft's Bing search engine.

At a conference in San Francisco, a Google executive stood on stage and accused Microsoft of using the latest version of its Internet Explorer browser to spy. Google ran a sting operation to prove his point, as summarized by Todd Bishop at TechFlash:

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Weather
5:32 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Why sunny in Seattle means snowy in Chicago

A skateboarder cruises past the Space Needle in Seattle during a sunny day on Feb. 1, 2011.
Gary Davis KPLU News

You might have wondered -- as you gazed out your sunny window and listened to news of record cold and snow sweeping the midwest and East coast -- is there a connection?

Yes, there is.

"Our weather often is the just the opposite of what it is in the eastern part of the united states," says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. 

"When we are cold, like it was just before Thanksgiving, they tend to be warm," says Mass.

The reason we're yin when they're yang, and vice versa, has to do with the jet stream and "ridges" of high and low pressure in the sky, as Mass explains it.

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Medicine
6:02 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Investigators fault ambulance teams at Seattle Children’s

A nurse may have contributed to a baby’s death, during transport to Seattle Children’s Hospital last September, according to investigators from the Washington Department of Health (DOH). An earlier autopsy said the baby died from natural causes, but state investigators are not convinced. They also say the hospital must improve how it monitors medications in ambulances.

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Science
12:53 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

What's that weather forecast mean? Hard to say (clearly)

A typical online weather forecast from the National Weather Service (for Seattle, as of noon on Jan. 24th).
National Weather Service/NOAA website

You might not have realized it, but weather forecasts have been getting more accurate for the past ten to twenty years. Forecasters have a lot more precision about when and where different weather systems will hit.  But, this isn’t always communicated very clearly.

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Science
3:44 pm
Fri January 21, 2011

Meteorologists bring you ... Weather Fest

You can handle a weather rocket, create a flooding torrent of mud, and learn how to make a cloud inside a one-gallon jar this Sunday. 

It’s all part of a one-day exhibition called Weather-Fest, which pops up once a year as part of the American Meteorological Society annual conference.  The meeting this year is in Seattle, from Sunday through Jan. 27th. 

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Medicine
4:07 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Hospital courtship: UW Medicine proposes to Valley Medical Center

King County's major medical centers continue jockeying for position in the emerging new health-care world. 

U.W. Medicine and Valley Medical Center proposed this week what they call a "strategic alliance." Valley wants to retain its name, although the news release says Valley would become "part of U.W. Medicine."

Earlier this year, U.W. Medicine took over running Northwest Hospital (in north Seattle), without actually owning the hospital. 

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diversion from jails and hospitals
7:34 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Crisis center for mentally unstable opposed by neighbors

A diversion program intended to keep drug abusers and troubled mentally ill people out of hospitals and jails has run into opposition.  Neighbors of a proposed new facility in Seattle don’t want it.  They say the "Jackson Park" area between Rainier Valley and the Central District already has enough challenges and has become a dumping ground. 

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Science
1:59 pm
Fri January 14, 2011

Menu labels having no effect? Evidence from Taco Time

Being a pioneer in adding calorie and nutrition labels to menus at fast-food restaurants has made King County a good place for researchers to visit.

A team based at Duke-National University of Singapore has been watching consumers at Taco Time restaurants, both in King County and in other counties, and found that adding all that info to the menus appeared to have no impact on people's choices. They published their results today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Public Health
1:41 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

State budget cuts fall on nurses, moms and infants

More than one-third of pregnant women get pre-natal and maternity care through a program facing cutbacks.
Photo by derekb/Flickr

If those cuts don't sound harsh enough, you can add "low-income" and "people of color" to the headline. 

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Winter Weather
5:39 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Lowland snow forecast: less than earlier prediction

Snow graces the Pioneer Square pergola on Seattle's First Avenue during November's pre-Thanksgiving winter storm. Will the scene be repeated Tuesday or Wednesday?
Gary Davis KPLU

Updated 3:58 p.m., Mon., Jan. 10th

The latest weather foreceast shows much less snow may fall than had been predicted, and warmer temperatures will bring rain and wind on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service office in Seattle has eased off forecasts of larger amounts of snow for western Washington, as the latest models show warm air pushing in faster than expected. 

“We feel pretty confident the system will stay on the warmer side, and we will not see large amounts of snowfall” in the lowlands of western Washington, says Dennis D'Amico of the NWS Seattle office.

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