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

green energy
8:01 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Wind power battling hydro for transmission lines

Sunset at the Wild Horse Wind Power Project near Vantage, Wash
Puget Sound Energy AP

When the wind is blowing and the rivers are running high, there's not enough capacity in power lines to handle all the electricity that's generated.

And that could mean that wind-farms have to shutdown for brief periods when there's too much power.

Read more
Medical costs
9:03 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Learning why health insurance rates go up

Health insurance rates are going up and policies are changing for many people who have an individual plan or work at a small business. Those increases can be maddening and mystifying.

Read more
women's health
3:26 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Adding nuance to hormone therapy risks

Estrogen pills, made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, from the Women's Health Initiative study of hormone replacement therapy.
Dean Forbes FHCRC

Whether or not to take hormones has become one of life’s difficult choices as women face menopause, and look for ways to relieve the symptoms. A new study suggests women may be able to minimize the risks if they start in their 50’s.

It also shows negative effects appear more common for women if they take estrogen after age 60.

Read more
Science
4:08 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Scientists propose earthquake warning system

Damage in Seattle from the Nisqually Quake, Feb. 28, 2001. Could earthquake early-warning systems become common place on the U.S. West Coast?
AP

Earthquake scientists are hoping to build an early-warning system for Washington, Oregon and California.  It would give typically about five to 30 seconds of notice that a big quake was starting. The scientists have been meeting this week to craft a proposal. 

There’s no way to predict earthquakes. But once a big one starts, it sends out different kinds of shock waves that move at different speeds. One type is fast-moving, but barely perceptible. These are called P-waves. They arrive before the slow traveling but damaging shock waves (called S-waves).  

So, if you have precise sensors, they can detect the fast-moving waves and send out alarms. 

Read more
Elders and aging
5:10 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Avoiding poverty as you age

Enjoy retirement, if you can, at Safeco Field
Matt McGee Flickr

How much income will you need to be financially secure after age 65?  It’s often hard to know. A new study shows what it costs for the elderly in Washington to live at home and stay out of debt.  

Read more
KPLU news internship
4:56 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

The Humanosphere internship

This is where journalism meets global health and the fight against poverty.

The KPLU blog Humanosphere, a news website that covers global health and development from Seattle, is looking for a part-time intern to help build community through social media.  The blog has developed a growing Twitter community.  We’d like to amplify that growth, and we are now ready to build our presence on Facebook.  

Read more
Science
1:25 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Cancer joins AIDS, malaria as global health issue

The Uganda Cancer Institute, which is partnering with the Hutchinson Center of Seattle, to train physicians and treat local residents, on the campus of Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the nation’s capital.
Rob Gipman, Uganda Program on Cancer and Infectious Diseases FHCRC

The fight against diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis has made Seattle a center for global health. 

Now, increasingly, the battle is including cancer -- which might seem ridiculously impossible.  Isn’t it hard enough to fight infectious diseases in poor countries? Can we afford to start talking about the diseases like cancer, which we still struggle with in the United States? 

Read more
earthquake
1:23 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Japan’s quake, tsunami and what it teaches the Northwest

A tsunami wave carries cars, houses and other debris across farmlands in northeast Japan, Friday, March 11, 2011.
NHK via YouTube

You may have heard Washington has an earthquake fault similar to the one that devastated Japan.  While there are many fault-lines criss-crossing western Washington, the only one that bears a strong similarity is under the ocean, parallel to our coast-line.  It’s called the Cascadia subduction zone. 

Read more
Medicine
10:21 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Health procedures scrutinized for costs, benefits

If you've had arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis, maybe you shouldn't have.  And if you've tried any of these treatments, there are questions, too, about whether it was worth it:

Read more
Medical safety
7:04 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Rating hospitals based on number of errors

Thousands of people are still dying unnecessarily in America's hospitals, according to a new set of quality ratings.  That’s despite a decade of attention to preventing errors. 

More than 20,000 hospital deaths should have been prevented, just among Medicare patients (people over the age of 65), according to a report from Health Grades Inc. of Denver.

Hospitals in Washington as a group are about average in terms of their error rates.

Read more
Light Rail
6:14 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Sound Transit's giant tunnel machine nearly finished

This tunnel boring machine, under assembly in Tacoma, will dig Sound Transit's tunnel through Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

The giant digging machines that will bore twin tunnels from Husky Stadium to Seattle’s Capitol Hill are being assembled at the Port of Tacoma. They're called Tunnel Boring Machines, and they vaguely resemble Apollo-era rockets, lying on their sides. 

And with their current paint-jobs, sporting Sound Transit's green and blue colors, they might be Lego toys, inflated to a surreal scale.

Read more
Emergency Medicine
1:21 pm
Thu March 3, 2011

If your heart stops, be in Seattle (but help's coming for the rest)

American Red Cross "hands-only" CPR training, using an inflatable mannequin
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

If your heart suddenly stops beating, your chances of getting revived are better in King County than in the rest of Washington.

The Seattle area has one of the highest survival rates from cardiac arrest in the country. Now, a new campaign in Washington aims to boost survival from cardiac arrest by 50-percent in the rest of the state. 

Read more
Education
5:31 am
Wed March 2, 2011

Seattle Public Schools chief faces sudden exit

Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson faces a school board vote of termination of her contract at their Wednesday. March 2nd meeting.
Gary Davis KPLU

A financial scandal will likely force an abrupt end to the tenure of Seattle Public Schools superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. The school board will vote Wednesday evening on a motion to terminate her contract.

Read more
Science
5:14 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Shallow New Zealand quake a warning to Pacific Northwest

Brick facades collapsed in Seattle's Pioneer Square during the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.
FEMA

Experts in the northwest warn the deadly earthquake in New Zealand was similar to what might happen here. 

The quake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, a city comparable in size to Spokane, along a fault-line that was unknown until last September. That's when an even larger quake hit New Zealand -- but with limited damage, since it was centered farther from any city. Authorities in Christchurch were predicting the death-toll would rise to 300.

In recent years, scientists have found evidence of shallow faults across the northwest, such as the Seattle fault that runs beneath Qwest Field and roughly follows Interstate-90.

Read more
Hostages on Yacht
4:54 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Remembering Seattle sailors, killed by Somali pirates

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle with their friend Walter Friesen, before a race/rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), an event affectionately known as the Baja Haha.
Courtesy of Walter Friesen

Family and friends are grieving the loss of a Seattle couple who were killed as they sailed around the world.  They were captured by Somali pirates, along with another couple from California. 

Walter Friesen  knew them.  He's a member of the Seattle Singles Yacht Club, where the deceased couple met. 

Read more

Pages