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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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:00 am
Fri December 28, 2012

2012 was one of the wettest ever in Seattle area (but winter looks normal)

It's looking like the total annual rainfall, as measured at Seatac Airport, could rank in the top-5 since record-keeping began, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

A typical year brings about 38 inches, and we're in the range of 50 inches for 2012. That's despite one of the longest dry stretches ever, in August and September. Most of the rainfall came during a dreary late spring, and during the past six weeks.

For the complete discussion, click the "listen" button above.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:09 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A little drier weather ahead, and the most amazing snow

Wet, snowy and windy weather caused nearly 100 trees to crash down across Mount Baker Highway just west of the ski area.
WSDOT

Snow in the Cascade mountains is the deepest in America these days, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, and the weather pattern is likely to stay the same well into next week.

And, as for the dusting of snow, ice and sleet around portions of the Puget Sound lowlands, that should all melt off by this afternoon, says Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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health
4:06 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

How health insurance eats your paycheck

Health care is probably taking a bigger chunk out of your paycheck than it was a decade ago. The rising cost of insurance and deductibles has been dramatic whether you work for a small business or a large one.

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mental health
11:27 am
Wed December 19, 2012

When your adult child has severe mental illness: an activist mother's perspective

Credit dearshirnk.com

The school shootings in Connecticut have an extra layer of sadness for parents whose children are mentally ill.

In fact, Washington’s and America's main advocacy group for the mentally ill -- the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) -- was organized by a Seattle mother back in the 1970s, after her son, filled with schizophrenic delusions, shot and killed a man. 

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vaccination
2:18 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Local baby is first to die from whooping cough; new tips for pregnant moms

Nurses Fatima Guillen, left, and Fran Wendt, right, give Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, a Tdap whooping cough booster shot, as she is held by her mother, Claudia Solorio, Thursday, May 3, 2012, at a health clinic in Tacoma.
AP

The whooping cough epidemic in Washington is nearly over – but not soon enough for a baby in King County. The newborn was Washington’s first fatality this year, despite a near-record number of infections.

"The baby had gone home, and we believe it was exposed to someone with unrecognized pertussis, got infected, and then developed complications and died," says Jeff Duchin, chief of epidemiology for Public Health Seattle & King County.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:25 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Rain and darkness coming, and a big question-mark for Monday

The next storm front is headed our way for Saturday morning, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. And Sunday afternoon could get a warmer, wetter blast.

But, what's really intriguing him is the Monday forecast.

"The computer models don't agree," says Mass. Some bring the storm system's center north of Puget Sound, other models send the storm south.

"This is fairly strong ... so it could bring winds, even winds here to Seattle," on Monday, he says.

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Global Health
9:01 am
Thu December 13, 2012

What’s making us sick ... and what’s not

Credit Oliver Erdmann / Flickr

In 2012, it’s more likely to be obesity than infectious disease, even in many so-called "poor" countries.

People around the world are living longer – but they're also more likely to get sick from diseases that are common in America. These trends are highlighted in an ambitious Seattle-based project to track health and sickness in countries around the world.

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pedestrian safety
3:34 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Are you reading this while walking? Study reveals risks

“When you cross in front of a vehicle and you are not looking at the drivers eyes, and not looking at the next lane over, you are at serious risk of an injury,” says Dr. Beth Ebel.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

Walking is becoming more hazardous, with the spread of smart-phones. And it’s not just because drivers are distracted.

Pedestrians who are texting or reading messages are four times more likely to do something dangerous than other pedestrians, according to researchers who looked at 20 of Seattle’s busiest intersections.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:11 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Chillier and drier will bring white fluffy stuff to the passes

Snoqualmie Pass could soon look a lot like it did in December of 2007.
WSDOT

The weather pattern has shifted, and that means less rain, more chills, says Atmospheric Scientist Cliff Mass, of the University of Washington.

The pattern is giddy news for mountain ski areas, all of which should be open with light, fluffy snow this weekend, he says.

Don't worry, though, the snow should stay away from the Puget Sound lowlands, although the higher foothills may get a dusting tonight or Saturday morning.

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marijuana legalization
10:15 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Public marijuana: No tickets in Seattle, but maybe elsewhere

Ben shows off his glass bong in front of Seattle Center's International Fountain, on the evening of Dec. 6th, when marijuana possession became legal -- although not in public.
Keith Seinfeld kplu

 (Updated at 10pm)

In Seattle, you're more likely to get a parking ticket than a marijuana smoking ticket.

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UW Science
4:02 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Why it took more than 80 years to identify the world's oldest dinosaur

Artist rendering of Nyasasaurus parringtoni, either the earliest dinosaur or the closest dinosaur relative yet discovered. Nyasasaurus parringtoni was up to 10 feet long, weighed perhaps 135 pounds .
Mark Witton ©Natural History Museum, London

A researcher at the University of Washington says he’s identified the oldest dinosaur ever – pushing back the emergence of dinosaurs by millions of years.

The fossilized bones were discovered back in the 1930s, in Tanzania, in a major find that included a vast collection of specimens. They were gathering dust at the Natural History Museum, London, until the scientist who had custody passed away. 

Longest unpublished dissertation ever?

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:08 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Rain, followed by rain, and some deep mountain snow

At least three or four more days of rainstorms are headed to the northwest. They'll cycle through approximately every 18 hours, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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Health
3:17 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Seattle bucks the national trend on HIV rates

“When you go to see your doctor, he or she should test you at least once over the course of the time they are providing you medical care, just as a routine,” a public health official says.
Alex Alonso Flickr

A resurgence of AIDS among young men nationally is raising alarm bells – but not in the King County area.  Local health officials say outreach efforts here could be a model for how the rest of the country can keep the AIDS epidemic under control. 

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Global Health
2:08 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Seattle doctor back from Congo, learned to diagnose better

A refugee couple fled their village due to the fighting earlier this year in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Emily Lynch MSF

The latest violence in central Africa is resonating with a group of doctors in the Puget Sound area. They’re medical relief workers who take time off from local clinics and hospitals to work in battle zones. Some are sharing their stories tonight, Nov. 28th, at a film screening in Seattle sponsored by Doctors Without Borders (details below). 

For example, Dr. Terra Bowles is just back from her third stint in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:05 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Sogginess subsides: A little more rain, then drier days ahead

Those late November storms are a tradition in the northwest. But after some Friday rain, the trend is drying out, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington.

In this week's weather talk, Mass explains why late November gets more inches of rain than any other period of the year. Hint: It has to do with the jet-stream, heading at us from Asia. After November, that "atmospheric hose" is pointed farther south in Oregon and northernmost California.

For the complete explanation, click the "listen" button above.

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