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.”


drugs and alcohol
10:43 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Teen smoking rate drops below pot usage

A vendor points out the variety of marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market, for sales of medical marijuana products, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Washington high school students who participated in a statewide health survey say they are twice as likely to smoke marijuana as cigarettes.

Overall, though, the trends show teenagers are drinking, smoking and abusing prescription drugs less than in the past.

In fact, 8th and 10th graders are half as likely to drink alcohol compared to those in 1998.

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mental illness
11:36 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Lawmakers support emergency lockup during a psychotic break, but will they fund it?

Gun control proposals are having trouble getting majority support in the state legislature. But when it comes to people in a mental health emergency – who may pose a threat to themselves or others -- lawmakers appear more united.

They unanimously approved several measures late Monday aimed at making it easier to hold someone involuntarily.

They have the support of family members who’ve had to deal with a loved one who’s out of control.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:11 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Fog burning off leaves classic "Northwest mild"

Fog over Lake Sammamish at Marymoor Park.
prenetic Flickr

Fog burns off, leaving sunshine in its wake, this weekend. That's the forecast for Friday and Saturday, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington and KPLU's weather expert.

Fires, on the other hand, leave us with smoke, and in this week's weather conversation, Mass explains how that can affect the flavor of wine. (Click the "listen" button above, and check-out Mass' blog.)

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2:54 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Scientists see guns as similar to your bike and your car

Lessons from studying car-seats are a model for studying gun safety.
treehouse1977 Flickr

Researchers who study injuries at Harborview Medical Center are asking the Seattle City Council to take on the federal government's role -- and fund an investigation into gun violence. They say gun-related injuries are a solvable problem, from a public health perspective.

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Global Health
12:54 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Big data gets another blessing from Bill Gates

Screenshot from Bill Gates' talk as IMHE unveiled a new online tool March 5th.

Sometimes seeing data presented in the right way can change your entire view of the world. 

Bill Gates says that’s what happened to him 20 years ago, with global health:

“I was completely stunned by the burden of disease in poor countries, to see that diarrhea was killing literally millions of children, and that some of those causes of diarrhea, like rotavirus, were preventable," he said. "There was a vaccine available in rich countries, but ironically, not in poor countries."

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Disease and Injury
6:10 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Living longer, but sicker in the USA

How the leading causes of death are increasing, or decreasing, since 1990

Americans are likely to live longer than we might have in the past – but the quality of our golden years appears to be getting worse, when it comes to health.

A new study by Seattle researchers shows Alzheimer’s, depression, and back pain have been increasing dramatically since 1990.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Winter is over, declares Cliff Mass

Winter is over, if you consider the threat of snow in the cities of Puget Sound a marker of winter, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:01 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Seattle's boring winter gets zesty this weekend

This scene near Snoqualmie Pass from March 19, 2012 could repeat itself this weekend

It's nothing like the major storms across the midwest and eastern U.S., but western Washington is tasting a little bit of winter, finally.

"After one of the most boring winters that I can ever remember, we are going to be getting heavy rain, good snow. We'll be getting some winds gusting up to 30 to 50 miles per hour, and big waves along the coast," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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10:20 pm
Sun February 17, 2013

All TV is educational, just maybe not in the way you want

Anyone who says watching TV has no impact on children’s behavior is ignoring a lot of scientific research. The latest study, from pediatricians in Seattle, shows you can improve the behavior of young children by changing what they watch. 

They took this approach after about two decades of trying to get parents to turn off the TV, and severely limit screen time for young kids. They were almost ready to give up. The best they could achieve was cutting TV time for pre-school age children from four-and-a-half hours per day to four hours per day.

That hardly seemed worth the effort.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Clouds come and go this weekend, with Sunday looking nicer

Morning clouds should give way to afternoon sunshine Friday in many Puget Sound neighborhoods. But some unpleasant weather is headed our way for Saturday, especially in the Seattle-to-Everett area.

That's the immediate forecast from KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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Global Health
5:54 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

After consulate bombing, Libyan doctors getting help in Seattle

Former Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens left unfinished projects when he was murdered last September.
Seattle Children's

The rocket attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens gets plenty of attention in Congress. But, not many have heard about a global health project Stevens left behind.

When Stevens was murdered last Sept. 11th in Benghazi, Libya, he had a meeting scheduled with a group of doctors the very next day, Sept. 12th. They're trying to setup Libya’s first modern 911 system.

Now, Stevens' sister, in Seattle, is bringing a higher profile to that unfinished project – helping a group from Boston that’s working with the Libyan doctors.

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10:50 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Rubble from New Zealand quake shows Seattle what to expect

Recovery workers at the CTV building in Christchurch, New Zealand, after it crumbled in an earthquake on Feb. 24, 2011.
Rob Griffith AP

The Northwest hasn’t had a killer earthquake since 1965 – and it’s been three centuries since anything massive shook this region. That’s how New Zealanders felt, until two years ago, when a quake knocked their third largest city to its knees. 

Lessons from Christchurch, NZ, and other Pacific Rim cities, are resonating at a meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, in Seattle this week.

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allergic reactions
11:11 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Proposal would make adrenaline shots more readily available

During a severe allergic reaction, this common brand of epinephrine injector could save a life

The idea of putting a needle of adrenaline into someone might seem intimidating – but that’s how you save their life if they’re in allergic shock. The legislature is considering empowering school staff to give injections more widely.

Last year, a girl in Virginia died after eating a peanut given to her by a friend.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:28 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Your smartphone could turn you into a weather station

  [Feb. 11th Update -- Audio problem fixed]

While the Northeast struggles with a massive snowstorm, the same forces are keeping it mild on the West Coast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

What are those forces? High pressure and low pressure. Okay, it's more complicated than that, but there is a high pressure "ridge" over the west, which forces a "trough" toward the east.

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Marijuana Regulation
5:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Should it matter how much marijuana is in your blood?

Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

It’s always been illegal to drive stoned. But, what that means has changed under Washington’s new marijuana law.

Initiative-502 includes a strict definition of "under the influence" – which some people say is misguided.

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