Dan Carsen


Dan Carsen is our health and science reporter. He’s been a science teacher, a teacher trainer, a newspaper reporter, a radio commentator, and an editor at an educational publishing house. His writing and reporting have won numerous regional and national awards. His outside interests include basketball, sailing, percussion, raptors, and seeking REM brainwaves.

Teaching Bleeding Control as a Survival Strategy

Recent mass shootings have prompted more than thoughts, prayers, and debates about guns. They’ve also sparked interest in ways to keep people alive in critical moments after a shooting. By teaching regular people to stop the bleeding, just as with CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, people can save lives.

2018 Governor’s Race: Sue Bell Cobb

Sue Bell Cobb was the first woman to be elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Now the Evergreen native has her sights set on the governor’s office. Her conversation with WBHM’s Dan Carsen starts with a horrific event from Cobb’s days as a county judge when a man who’d appeared in her court firebombed her house.

Viruses Could Trigger Early Gray Hair

A new UAB study looking at stem cells in mice might have nudged scientists toward a better understanding of one of the often-dreaded realities of aging: gray hair. The study published last week suggests certain types of infections can start or speed up the hair-graying process in mice. UAB biologists found that triggering some of the animals’ […]

Living History: Nurse to George Washington Carver an Inventor Herself

Meloneze Robinson of Tuskegee has witnessed history, and as a nurse, she's made some of her own. She cared for inventor George Washington Carver at the end of his life. Fifteen years later, she patented a surgical device after assisting with amputations at the former Tuskegee Veterans Hospital.

Environmental Groups: Fees Tied to Solar are ‘Unlawful’

Attorneys recently filed a complaint with the state Public Service Commission against Alabama Power over extra fees the power company imposes on homes, schools, and small businesses that use solar power. The complaint calls the five-year-old fees “unlawful” and “contrary to the public interest.”

For UAB’s Might, Precision Medicine Was Personal

Medical treatments sometimes have to take a one-size-fits-all approach. But those treatments don’t always work the same way for everyone. Precision medicine is an emerging way to care for patients that considers their individual genes, environments, and lifestyles. And the leader of UAB's effort to do that is here because of his son.

UAB Hospitals Given Top Marks On Patient Safety

UAB Hospital and UAB Highlands Hospital each scored an "A" on a national nonprofit's patient safety assessment released Tuesday.

Lack of Guidance Leads to Web Access Lawsuits

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act required public places to accommodate people with disabilities. But back then, before the Internet grew into what it is now, the law didn’t address the accessibility of websites. Now, with a proliferation of lawsuits, many companies are racing to bring their sites into compliance with industry standards.

Study: Alabama Ranks Third in Premature Death

A comprehensive report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at life expectancy and other key health measures across the U.S. Alabama ranked third-worst in premature death, but there was good news also.

Some Schools Closing Early Ahead of Predicted Severe Weather

With severe weather including tornadoes and large hail in the forecast for much of Alabama today, Monday, March 19, some area schools systems have announced early closings.

Combating Alabama’s Rural Doctor Shortage

The state health department says most of Alabama faces a lack of primary-care. But there’s a University of Alabama program that’s been grooming doctors from rural areas so they can bring their skills home.

A New Way to Grow Tumors in 3-D

If you can grow cancer cells outside the body, it’s easier to figure out how to kill them. With an eye toward faster drug development and more effective treatments, a UAB biomedical engineer has come up with a new way to sustain cancer cells. He calls them "bioreactors."

Make Medicaid Recipients Work? Speakers at Public Hearing Say No

Governor Kay Ivey and other state leaders want Alabama to join a handful of states that require some able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work or go to school. But when the Alabama Medicaid Agency held a hearing on the plan Tuesday, the crowd strongly disagreed.

Innovate Birmingham: A $6 Million Bridge for IT Workers

Greater Birmingham has high demand for computer workers but a workforce that doesn’t meet that demand. In 2016, the US Department of Labor put up almost six million dollars to train future IT workers. The result is a partnership called Innovate Birmingham.

What Were They Thinking? Cracking the Cave Art Code

Genevieve von Petzinger studies geometric patterns found in caves all over Europe. It turns out that 32 of those patterns persist across huge swaths of time and space.

Former Surgeon General Satcher to UAB: Take Risks

Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher came to UAB and pleaded for bold leadership in medicine. He also explained how his own near-death experience prompted him to take risks over his long career.

For Aging Bridges, UAB Engineer Wants to Send in the Drones

There are about 16,000 structurally deficient bridges in Alabama. It's a problem here and across the country. But a University of Alabama at Birmingham engineering professor is using a half-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a stopgap solution: drones.

“Astonishing” Find Could Be New Pre-Human Species

Last month, scientists in South Africa revealed “Little Foot,” a three-million-year-old pre-human skeleton that could tell us a lot about ourselves. After an unlikely discovery story, a Birmingham-Southern College scientist is helping to analyze this potential new species.

White Girl In Yoga Pants Author Talks Trauma, Healing

If you're getting into yoga, you might come across Melissa Scott. She teaches yoga in Birmingham and online, and for her, it's more than a hobby. She's published a book called "White Girl in Yoga Pants: Stories of Yoga, Feminism, and Inner Strength." She tells WBHM's Dan Carsen that yoga has helped her overcome painful struggles, including an eating disorder and a sexual assault.

Closings and Delays for Wednesday, January 17

Dangerous road conditions have prompted many area schools to close Wednesday.

Infectious Strain of Flu Hits Area Hard

This year the flu is peaking early and intensely. It’s one of the most active seasons in decades, and a nasty strain is going around. Area hospitals are at capacity and pharmacies are scrambling to stock medicine. But there are things you can do.

Trump Plan Would Open Most US Waters to Drilling, Including Gulf

The Trump administration announced Thursday it’s planning to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in more than 90 percent of U.S. waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. The administration would also offer a record number of leases to energy firms. Of those 47, 12 would be in the Gulf if the plan is approved.

Roy Moore Accuser Files Defamation Suit

An Alabama woman who claims failed Senate candidate Roy Moore molested her is suing him for defamation. In November, Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post that Moore touched her sexually when she was 14. Moore has denied it, but Corfman says he’s gone far beyond denials and into attacks.

Alabama Has Second-Highest Infant Mortality Rate in U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a major report on infant mortality today. Alabama did not fare well. After Mississippi, it had the highest rate of infant death in the nation.

Unique Alabama Salamander Now Federally Protected

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it would protect a rare Alabama salamander under the Endangered Species Act. The Black Warrior waterdog, sometimes called the Alabama mudpuppy, is large, strange, and found only in the state.

Endangered Whooping Cranes Are Coming Back

A couple extra wild birds in a creek doesn’t seem too important … until you realize that not long ago, there were barely twenty of them in the world. Whooping cranes are the tallest bird in America and they can live into their thirties, but that didn’t keep them from near-extinction. Now, though, thanks decades of cooperation, they’re making a comeback.

Airport Authority Leader to Step Down after Three Decades

After a 34-year career at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth airport, including 17 years as airport authority president and CEO, Alfonso Denson will step down in early 2018.

ACA Health Plan Enrollment Brisk Despite Federal Cuts

In Alabama, about 200,000 people have insurance through the Affordable Care Act. But this year, people have half as much time to sign up for a health plan through the ACA, known as “Obamacare.” The Trump administration also slashed the budget to advertise the healthcare.gov website. But in a tiny office in Birmingham, "Navigators" are trying to make up for that.

What it Takes to Get the Blazers to the Bahamas

The logistics of getting some 125 players, 40 staffers, and 50 band members to the Bahamas are formidable. Start with a shipping container, all those passports, two charter planes, and some lessons from teams that have gone to the Bahamas Bowl before.

“Dreamer Riders” Head to D.C. to Push for Immigrant Rights

Immigrant rights advocates from Alabama and around the country are headed to Washington, D.C. Tuesday to urge the U.S. Senate to come up with a way to preserve anti-deportation protection from the Obama-era DACA program. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protects immigrants brought illegally as children to the U.S. so they can work or go to school. The Trump administration has said it will end DACA.

AEC Marks 50 Years of Lessons Learned

The Alabama Environmental Council turned 50 this year. The home-grown group has been dedicated to preserving wilderness across the state. Over the last few decades, the organization has faced challenges adjusting to the political climate, and it’s evolved to meet changing environmental needs. But as AEC board chairman Keith Johns tells WBHM's Dan Carsen, its biggest success has been getting people and businesses to see the value of setting aside land.

Jones Shifts Tactics, Aims at Republican Voters

Doug Jones says the mounting sexual misconduct claims against his GOP opponent Roy Moore are credible. But Jones has been relatively restrained about attacking Moore. Jones campaign officials say they’re focusing their message on their candidate. But sometimes, the elephant in the room is too easy a target.