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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You've already seen the pattern—cloudy mornings, burning off later in the day, with highs in the lower 70s. That's the forecast for the week ahead, says Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

There’s some truth to Washington’s image as a mecca for the physically active. When it comes to exercise, several counties in the state rank in the top 50 out of more than 3,000 counties in the country. But that ranking hides a less flattering trend.

Chie Kawahara / Cadence Biomedical

A research idea that was supposed to give people super-powered legs is instead helping stroke patients and other people who can’t walk. 

It’s a new medical device, using a combination of springs, cables, and Velcro. The inventors in Seattle are hoping to transform the possibility of recovery for thousands of people.

The idea started with a horse.

University of Washington

Robots are everywhere these days. They’re working in factories, and are the focus of student competitions. They are also teaching us about nature, especially in the case of robotic fish.

It might seem a little Hollywood to talk about "robo-fish." And as an engineering professor, Kristi Morgansen is a little shy about that.

“We usually call them fish robots, or robotic fish,” she said.

sea_trtle / Flickr

Expect the clouds to burn off later today, but you'll have to wait until Saturday for the really nice weather, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington and KPLU's weekly weather expert.

wstryder / Flickr

There are two versions of this story.

One is the story of how drug-abuse involving heroin has spiked upward, especially in young adults, over the past decade. Drug experts say people end up on heroin as a last resort, after getting addicted to prescription painkillers.

That version is in the news this week, and has made headlines for the past few years, when annual drug trends come out.

lrargerich/Flickr

Don't expect to see much sunshine on Friday, as clouds and a weak front move through western Washington. In fact, brief episodes of drizzle are possible.

But, the sun could peak through at the end of the day, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. And that reflects a typical June pattern, he says.

Working families without health insurance will get extra attention all over Washington this fall. Health organizations are getting $6 million in federal grants to send health recruiters to libraries, church pulpits, and shopping malls. 

Face-to-face marketing and in-person recruiting are needed, according to the masterminds behind the the new health-care law, because about 25% of the uninsured won’t be able to use the new website.

(white rabbit) / Flickr

Washington state has earned a top grade from the American Cancer Society when it comes to helping people suffering from long-term pain. However, the state’s law on pain medication is unusual enough that the Cancer Society is surveying doctors to learn more about how it’s working.

In the past, many patients in chronic pain—lasting months or years—believed they were just supposed to suffer through it.

joelgoodman / Flickr

An outbreak of hepatitis A, which has sickened more than 30 people in five states, has been linked to frozen berries sold at Costco stores.  

Anyone who purchased frozen berries under the brand “Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend” from Costco should discard them, according to the state Department of Health. The blend includes cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, and strawberries.  

If the clouds and showers seem dreary, fear not: warm and sunny days lie ahead, says weather expert Cliff Mass.

Friday will start off with more of the same: “A lot of low clouds, but those will be burning off by mid-day,” says Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

By Friday afternoon, temperatures will near 70, says Mass.

“But unfortunately, a weak weather system is approaching us,” says Mass, adding the system will likely arrive Saturday afternoon.

Exactly one year has passed since an angry and unstable man killed four people at Seattle’s Café Racer and one more woman near downtown before shooting himself. Ian Stawicki was never diagnosed with a mental illness, but he exhibited many of the signs.

When someone is in a mental health crisis, who decides if the or she gets hospitalized involuntarily?

Associated Press

Doctors are sounding an alarm about marijuana and young children, especially when it comes to marijuana-infused products, or "medibles". 

The rise of medicinal marijuana has brought a growing number of food products that contain the drug and might appeal to kids. Pot brownies have been around for decades, but nowadays you can also find pot cookies, lollipops, bon-bons, lasagna, and more. These products make it easier on someone who needs to use marijuana for medical reasons but doesn’t want to smoke. 

Rain showers will be coming and going this weekend. That's the big picture, but Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, says the weekend won’t be a total washout.

“Memorial Day weekend is generally not the best,” he says. “We have a really nice period sometime in the early to mid-May most years, and we’ve had it.”

Now, Mass says, we’re starting to see the infamous “June gloom syndrome,” which he says involves “a lot of low clouds and sprinkles.”

Keith Seinfeld / kplu

Verity Credit Union has backed away from helping marijuana businesses open checking accounts. The move is a major setback for pot businesses as the Seattle credit union had been the only financial institution in the state openly providing banking to those shops.

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