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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Disaster Preparedness
10:04 am
Fri January 7, 2011

Earthquake or volcano -- worst case natural disaster?

Snow-capped Mount Rainier looms behind cranes and stacked cargo containers at the Port of Seattle
AP

With massive flooding in Australia in the news, or earthquakes in South America, perhaps it’s no surprise that 2010 was the most deadly year in a generation for natural disasters around the globe.  What’s the worst we might face here in western Washington?

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520 Floating Bridge
8:00 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Tolls coming to Lake Washington's SR-520, with unintended impacts

The 520 Floating Bridge, spanning Lake Washington between Seattle and the Eastside, June 12, 2010.
Flickr/Marc_Smith

Tolls costing $7 for a peak-period round-trip are coming to the highway-520 floating bridge across Lake Washington.  The tolls, approved Wednesday night, will pay for a new, wider bridge – although that bridge won’t open until 2014, at the earliest.   

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Smoking
11:06 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Electronic cigarettes considered a new public health threat

Galen Kipe holds an electronic cigarette. For the 34-year-old who has tried quitting a number of times, Kipe has swapped real smokes for an electronic cigarette.
Gerry Broome AP Photo

Just when you thought cigarettes were headed for obscurity, along comes the electronic cigarette.  The King County Board of Health is restricting these "e-cigarettes" in the name of protecting youth -- and keeping a stigma against smoking. 

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Weather
4:39 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Pineapple Express brings flooding on Sunday

Forecast from the U.W. showing an "atmospheric river" bringing wet clouds from the tropical Pacific (in the lower left) to the Northwest coast
UW/Dpt. of Atmospheric Sciences (http://www.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/)

A big rainstorm is headed to western Washington this weekend.  Forecasters say Saturday should start out pleasant, with the rainstorm hitting south Puget Sound in the late morning, and the Seattle area by around noon.

It’s not supposed to be as bad as devastating storms a few years ago, but flooding is likely on some rivers. 

There are a few rivers in western Washington that flood regularly – such as the Skokomish and the Tolt.  This year, you can add one more to that list, a section of the Puyallup River in eastern Pierce County.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
12:44 am
Thu December 9, 2010

Big day ahead for Seattle tunnel

Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, Plans for a replacement tunnel continue to draw concerns over potential cost-overruns.
AP

Thursday is a big day for the proposed deep-bore tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.  An underground highway is supposed to replace the elevated freeway along the waterfront. 

At 1 pm, Governor Chris Gregoire will unseal the dollar amounts attached to two bids submitted earlier this fall.  Then, Washington Department of Transportation staff will add up a total score, based on price and engineering details, and announce an apparent winner of the final construction contract. 

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Health Insurance
3:33 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Kreidler rejects Regence rate hike

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has rejected a new rate increase requested by one of the state’s largest health insurers.  It’s the second time in recent months Kreidler has sparred with Regence BlueShield. 

Regence is seeking a 3.7% increase for its Washington customers, including the Asuris subsidiary, starting January first, to cover the cost of new benefits required by the federal health law.  This applies to its individual insurance plans, not to plans provided through employers.

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Business
4:03 pm
Fri December 3, 2010

Nalley’s saying ‘Goodbye’ to Tacoma after 92 years

A spread of Nalley's top products for a 1949 advertising campaign. Nalley Foods was famous around the northwest for its potato chips and pickles. The brand name lives on as the local company fades away.
Richards Studio, Tacoma via Tacoma Public Library Archives

Tacoma is losing one of its landmark businesses.  Nalley Foods will close its local plant some time next year. 

Nalley’s has been well known for its brand of potato chips, pickles, and mayonnaise.  The chips were ubiquitous across the Northwest for decades, but that line was sold-off 15 years ago. 

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Philanthropy
2:51 pm
Thu December 2, 2010

Paul Allen gives big donation to WSU for global health

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, right, Scott Carson, center, and Washington State University president Elson Floyd applaud with the WSU mascot "Butch" in Seattle on Dec. 2, 2010.
AP (Elaine Thompson)

Washington State University is getting the biggest donation in its history – from its most famous drop-out.  Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is giving $26 million, to support the new School for Global Animal Health.  Allen’s donation is just a little bigger than one given by his old Microsoft pal Bill Gates two years ago. 


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FIFA World Cup
7:58 am
Thu December 2, 2010

No World Cup for Seattle and U.S. in 2022

A Qatari man displays the national flag and blows on a vuvuzelas, at Doha souk where people gathered to hear FIFA's selection on World Cup sites for 2018 and 2022, Dec. 2, 2010. Qatar won the 2022 bid.
AP

Seattle will not be hosting World Cup matches in 2022.  The United States was up against four other countries to host the World Cup. But the bid has gone to the Middle Eastern country Qatar.  

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AIDS
11:43 am
Wed December 1, 2010

HIV cases stay steady, predominantly gay

The number of people getting newly infected with HIV has stayed steady in Washington since 2005.  There are about 570 new cases a year.  Most of those – 63% -- are gay and bisexual men.  The Washington Department of Health says those numbers justify changes in how it distributes funding, starting in January. 

Science
4:58 pm
Tue November 30, 2010

Hospitals reveal surgical infection rates

Surgery at U.W. Medical Center
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

If you ever need elective surgery, more websites keep appearing to help you pick the safest hospital.  Now, you can compare all the hospitals in Washington based on their infection rates following some common surgeries. 

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Science
5:23 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Sweetened beverages target of health campaign

Sugary drinks, like these sodas, are the target of a new public health campaign in King County aimed at parents. Beverage industry leaders oppose their effort as 'ineffective.'
AP

Voters may have repealed taxes on sodas, but that’s not scaring away public health leaders.  They’re urging parents to keep their kids away from sodas and other sugary drinks this holiday season.  It’s part of an overall effort to combat obesity. 


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Preventive Medicine
6:21 pm
Wed November 17, 2010

Smoking prevention saves millions with fewer hospital visits

Washington state anti-smoking measures are working, according to state officials. They claim a new study shows ten years of tobacco education efforts prevented 36,000 smoking-related hospitalizations.
AP

Washington state says it has evidence its anti-tobacco program is not only saving lives but saving money for taxpayers.  That comes as the program faces near elimination because of budget cuts. 

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Health Insurance
3:16 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Open enrollment season and Medicare changes

Open enrollment time for Medicare puts the spotlight on recent changes and effects on prescription drug benefits.
iStock


We’ve been hearing a lot about the politics of health care lately.  In the meantime, many employers are in open enrollment season, making for a confusing month when it comes to health insurance.  And for seniors on Medicare,  November brings the annual dilemma about prescription drugs.

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