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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emergency response
9:42 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Emergency crews pushing for more heart-shockers in office buildings

A public AED in a King County office building. Health officials want more of these in office buildings all over. Photo by Keith Seinfeld

How many ways do you know to save someone who's dying?

A good first step is to call 911. If the person's heart has stopped, then it's time for CPR. And, third on your list might be the AED, or automatic external defibrillator.

Emergency responders are hoping this electronic heart-shocking device will become a standard part of the workplace.

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mental health
12:43 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Learning 'mental' first aid, before the next crisis

There's no first aid kit for mental health, but there are strategies.
renjith krishnan freedigitalphotos.net

In the wake of the recent murder spree at Café Racer, there have been questions about how to get help for someone whose mental health is deteriorating. Social service agencies are filling part of the gap, by training volunteers to provide what they call "mental health first aid."

The idea comes by comparison to CPR – a type of first aid any of us can learn. The mental health version is a 12-hour course for anyone who wants to be better equipped to help someone in a mental health crisis.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
8:58 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Forecast: A break from rain by Sunday; coastline is the place for sun

Above is a view of the development of coastal clouds as seen from the polar-orbiting MODIS satellite looking along the central Washington coast. You can see that the coastline is free of clouds.
Cliff Mass

The forecast is calling for a few rain showers to move through the Puget Sound region, no surprise there. But with the strong sun heating the ground and with the clouds aloft, we could also get a weak thunderstorm or two, said KPLU’s weather expert Cliff Mass.

Then, it’s better weather through the weekend. By Sunday, we’ll see the end of showers, though there will still be some clouds aloft and temperatures in the mid-60s. Monday is the best of the set with temperatures reaching into the 70s.

Often, Mass advises sun-seekers to head east across the mountains, but in this week's conversation he offered another option. He said the coast would be a great place for some sun and seeing the transit of Venus.

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fitness and nutrition
5:45 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Weight loss for a big prize - is it a gimmick?

Overall, so far in this weight-loss contest, 1,400 contestants in Pierce County lost more than 15,000 pounds.
Allan Foster Flickr

If you’ve ever thought about losing weight, it helps to have a prize, as 1,400 people in Pierce County can tell you. They’re in a contest that ends this week – similar to TV’s Biggest Loser reality show – with winners getting a $10,000 prize.

It may seem like a gimmick. But scientists say it has a solid foundation.

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earthquake research
12:13 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Cruising the coast for signs of where 'the big one' will hit

The R/V Langseth will be studying the sea floor this summer off Washington's coast.
Columbia University/Earth Institute

One of the world’s most advanced research ships will be cruising along the Washington and Oregon coasts this month – to look for clues about giant earthquakes. 

A zone that runs parallel to the coast – but deep beneath the sea – is known to have unleashed mega-quakes in the past, similar to the one that caused the giant tsunami last year in Japan. The Cascadia fault zone runs about 700 miles alongside Vancouver Island, Washington and Oregon.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:46 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Why is June the month of clouds?

Raindrops are spheres, until they become pancakes
Steve-h Flickr

When Cliff Mass talks about "June Gloom," it's about the clouds more than rain. June doesn't get all that much measurable precipitation, but the clouds lock in place, and sunshine can be rare.

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health insurance
5:50 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Want to pay less for medical care? ... find a better deal online

Not all MRIs cost the same -- and now some insurance companies help you compare costs and save.
The Bs Flickr

If you have high-deductible health insurance – possibly paying $2,000 or more out of pocket – the price of every test or procedure matters a lot. In theory, you should shop around.

But, that’s easier said than done, as Seattle real estate broker Steven Wayne discovered: He ran through his $3,800 deductible, pretty quickly, after a recent series of fainting spells.

Now, new online tools can help you compare real costs.

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Weather with Cliff Mass, wind
8:59 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Memorial Day weekend will begin with sun, end with clouds

The wind farms in the Kittitas Valley take advantage of the high-pressure push from the west side of the Cascades to the low-pressure east.
The Associated Press

The forecast for today and tomorrow calls for sun and low to mid-70s temperatures, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. But, the sun and clear skies will give way on Sunday and Monday to clouds and temperatures at least 10 degrees lower.

Basically, we’re still transitioning into the “June gloom.”

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Health news
7:54 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Dispatchers' CPR coaching saves lives when every minute counts

Becky Cole was eight months pregnant with her son Ryan when she passed out. Her husband performed CPR for six minutes with the help of a dispatcher before medics arrived.
Courtesy of Medic One Foundation

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 7:09 am

Your chances of surviving a sudden heart attack may depend on where you live; some American cities have survival rates five times higher than others. One difference can be 911 dispatchers.

If they coach someone over the phone to give CPR, the chance of surviving goes up. There's now a push to make it universal, but some cities are slow to implement the necessary training.

Becky Cole was eight months pregnant with her fourth child when she collapsed against the bathroom door. It was January 2011 in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville.

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volcanoes
1:29 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

When will St. Helens blow again? Look to the crystals, scientists say

False color image of crystals used in analysis of Mount St. Helens' 1980 eruption.
Image courtesy of Kate Saunders

If you’re wondering when Mount St. Helens is due to erupt again, so are a lot of scientists, and they’re finding new ways to forecast when eruptions are likely.

The latest idea uses crystals that form deep beneath the surface.

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Science
1:40 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Steven Hawking is one highlight at inaugural Seattle Science Festival

Professor Stephen Hawking shown in 2008 at George Washington University in Washington.
The Associated Press

Marking the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Emerald City will host its first-ever Seattle Science Festival next month.

The festival has landed a major celebrity as one of it’s so-called “Luminaries.”  Steven Hawking, the British physicist known for writing about the history of the universe, will speak on June 16th, at the Paramount Theater. 

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Whale science
10:00 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Mysterious sensory organ found in whale's chin

A new sensory organ, highlighted in a fin whale after lunging, coordinates their lunge-feeding strategy. At right, anatomy of the new sensory organ.
Smithsonian

If you came face to face with a great whale, you might find a few surprises in its chin: Like whiskers, if you look closely at the surface.

And, hidden inside the chin, lies a mysterious sensory organ, unknown to centuries of whalers and biologists.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:52 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Has "June Gloom" arrived early? Not before garden soils warm

Peas may not be sprouting yet, but soils may be warm enough to plant that garden.
Digital Sextant flickr

You can blame a ridge of pressure over the Pacific for pushing a layer of cool, cloudy marine air over western Washington, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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childhood immunization
6:10 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Vaccination rates reverse trend, with help from new law

The percentage of kindergartners in Washington who are fully vaccinated has gone up slightly, since a new law took effect making it harder to opt-out.

A change in state law took effect last July, requiring parents who want to exempt their kids from one or more vaccines to first hear from a doctor or nurse about the risks and benefits.

Michele Roberts, of the Washington Department of Health's immunization program, says some people doubted the law was strict enough to make a difference.  

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Seattle Arena Deal
3:20 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Basketball arena inches toward possible return of the Sonics

Investor Chris Hansen (center) speaks during a press conference Wednesday morning announcing an agreement in the effort to build an arena that could bring professional basketball back to Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

How would taxpayers be protected if a new basketball arena gets built in Seattle? The details are in an agreement between the city, King County and the man who wants to bring an NBA team to town.

After three months of meetings and negotiations, there’s now a formal Memorandum of Understanding between investor Chris Hansen and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn along with County Executive Dow Constantine. In the fine print, it describes how Hansen will purchase the land south of Safeco Field, build a new basketball arena on it, and then sell it to the city.

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