Dan Carsen

Dan Carsen

Reporter



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.

State GOP Unwavering in Support for Moore

The Alabama Republican Party is holding firm in its support for U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.
According to Chairman Terry Lathan, “The ALGOP Steering Committee supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee and trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race.”

Fear of Concussions Helps Boost Flag Football

With links between head impacts and neurological problems becoming clearer, an alternative to youth tackle football is surging. Flag football is more and more popular, even as participation in other sports declines, and even in a place known for tackle: Hoover, Alabama.

Concussion Expert on Youth Sports: “Time to Make Some Decisions”

Brain injury specialist Dr. Elizabeth Sandel has been studying that organ and bad things that happen to it for more than three decades. With football season in full swing, and the recent publication of a study linking adolescent concussions with multiple sclerosis, we wanted to check in with an expert.

Gay Men Blood Donors Not as Risky as Once Thought, Researchers Say

For decades, many gay men have been prohibited from donating blood. They were considered high-risk during the AIDS epidemic back in the 1980s. As of two years ago, they can donate if they’ve abstained from sex for a year, but some researchers say that’s unrealistic and unnecessary.

As Flu Season Begins, Shots Boost Health and Bottom Lines

It’s the start of flu season, which for many people means a date with a needle. If you’ve been to a drug store lately, you may have noticed some strong encouragement to get the shot. So why the big push? Is it just about health?

Biden: “It Gives You Reason to Believe a Little Again”

A Democrat hasn’t won major statewide office in Alabama for decades, but polls show former federal prosecutor Doug Jones within striking distance of Republican Roy Moore in a special U.S. Senate election set for December 12. Jones had high-profile support at a rally at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham on Tuesday, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

Tripling Trials? UAB Cancer Center Head Pushes Big Goals

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is trying keep the disease from touching so many lives. It recently recruited oncology leader Dr. Michael Birrer to run the center. He tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen that when he was in training, top medical students did not go into oncology because cancer patients had few options, but things have changed.

Rural Hospitals Struggle, but Wilcox County’s Could Survive

Most rural hospitals in Alabama are operating at a financial loss. Since 2010, a half-dozen have closed, one of the highest closure rates in the nation. But as it turns out, a tiny hospital in the state’s poorest county could buck the trend.

Alabama Schools Chief Michael Sentance Resigns

After one year on the job, State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance abruptly resigned Wednesday. His contract had been on the agenda for the State Board of Education meeting scheduled for the following day.

Some Irma Evacuees Remain at Talladega Superspeedway

Though most of nearly 200 Irma evacuees from Florida have left Talladega Superspeedway, there are still roughly 60 people in recreational vehicles there.

Environmental Group Warns of Coal Ash Contamination

Alabama Power recently released coal ash inundation maps, meant to show areas that would be affected if dams around coal-ash storage ponds were to breach. The utility says that’s never happened and there’s no imminent danger. But a local environmental group disagrees.

High Technology Could Solve Solar Mysteries During Eclipse

Cutting-edge imaging technology from a Birmingham nonprofit could take advantage of the August 21 eclipse to solve solar mysteries. The telescopic camera system will fly almost 10 miles high on two revamped bombers that tag-team as they chase the moon’s shadow.

Doug Jones Wins Democratic Senate Primary

Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones will be the Democratic candidate in the race for Jeff Sessions’ former seat in the U.S. Senate. Jones was declared the winner of Tuesday’s primary election, with most districts reporting in by around 9 p.m.

Bleached Creek Highlights ADEM Shortfalls, Say Critics

Alabama has some of the most ecologically rich waters in the world. But the agency tasked with monitoring them gets less funding per resident than in any other state. Some complain the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is not doing its job. They point to a contaminated creek in Shelby County as on example.

High School Students Track Real Cybercriminals at UAB

What do fake NBA jerseys, black-market pills, and other people’s bank data have in common? They’re all available through cybercrime, and they’ve all been tracked by high school students at a weeklong camp at UAB.

Climate Change Analysis Predicts Losses for South

Scientists and economists have put together a detailed analysis of potential economic damage from climate change. One takeaway: Alabama and the rest of the South could suffer more than other parts of the country.

The Ripple Effect When a Giant Iceberg Breaks Away From Antarctica

This week, scientists watched an iceberg the size of Delaware break away from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. The mass of ice that broke off weighs about a trillion tons. It’ll eventually melt, but as UAB polar biologist and Antarctic explorer Jim McClintock tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen, there are some long-term concerns.

Series Takes On Alabama’s Racial Achievement Gap

African-American students in Alabama tend not to perform as well on standardized tests as their white counterparts. That’s part of the so-called “achievement gap,” one of the most persistent and touchiest issues in education. But a new data-driven series by Al.com, journalism nonprofit Spaceship Media, and teachers from across Alabama aims to explore and find solutions to those disparities.

To Prescribe or Not to Prescribe? Opioid Crisis Presents Ethical Dilemma

Deaths from prescription opioids have more than quadrupled since 1999. So today, doctors trying to treat pain face a dilemma: to prescribe, or not to prescribe. To understand the quandary, WBHM’s Dan Carsen checks in with two leading specialists who’ve agreed to disagree.

Marchers Urge Birmingham to Become Sanctuary City

Immigrant advocates and residents marched in downtown Birmingham Saturday from Kelly Ingram Park to City Hall. They want Birmingham to become a “sanctuary city” – one that does not use city resources to carry out federal immigration enforcement.

Medicaid Cuts Could Hit Alabama Seniors Hard

The U.S. Senate has delayed a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. As of now, the proposed new bill would result in deep cuts to Medicaid. But a recent report says Alabama is one of seven states where rural seniors rely more on Medicaid for their health care than they do in most other places.

New National Report Critical of School Secession in Alabama

A report out Wednesday says Alabama is at the forefront of a trend: school systems breaking away to form separate districts. According to the report from the national advocacy group EdBuild, almost a quarter of the nation’s school district breakaways since 2000 have happened in Alabama.

Get ‘Em Now: Local Peach Shortage Looms

If you love local peaches, the kind you see at roadside stands and farmers markets in Alabama, stock up now. There’s almost certainly going to be a significant dip in supply.

Tesla to Boost Charging Sites in Alabama to 10

Tesla is known for fast electric cars with price tags that can easily reach six figures. But this summer, the company plans to produce its first mass-market model. To prepare for more Teslas on the road, the company says it’s expanding its network of charging sites in North America by 150 percent, including in Alabama.

Sex Trafficking in Alabama: What a Pediatrician Sees

Each year, an estimated 2 million children are exploited in the global sex trade. As Alabama has become part of an elaborate interstate sex trafficking network, countless underage victims need treatment. That’s where the Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Center in Birmingham comes in.

Sex Trafficking in Alabama: Former Victim, Current Rescuer

As a teenager, Tajuan McCarty started off selling drugs. Soon, she sold herself. But not voluntarily. McCarty had become one of tens of millions of sex-trafficking victims around the world. Years later, she founded The WellHouse, a shelter and rehab facility for sexually exploited women.

Sex Trafficking in Alabama: The Crime & the Fight Against It

By conservative estimates, human trafficking in the U.S. is a growing industry worth tens of billions of dollars a year. Birmingham is not immune. In fact, it’s a regional hub. But efforts to fight it here are growing too.

Woodlawn Students Growing a Healthier Neighborhood

Where some see blight and signs of economic decline, others see potential. Under the flight path of Birmingham’s airport and a stone’s throw from busy railroad tracks, almost a dozen Woodlawn High School environmental science students are planting fruit trees. It’s part of a partnership between the school, the Woodlawn Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy that’s transforming vacant lots into lush landscapes meant to benefit the neighborhood.

The Way Forward in Post-Bentley Alabama

Alabama is still absorbing yesterday’s historic news, the resignation of Governor Robert Bentley after he became embroiled in scandal amid allegations he used state resources and intimidation to cover up an alleged affair. But some state leaders are already looking ahead.

Tips for Driving in Bad Weather

Though bad weather can contribute to traffic accidents, there are ways to lessen the risks. Here are tips from area law officers.

ACLU Files Ethics Complaint Against Sessions

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed a complaint with the Alabama State Bar against U.S. Attorney General and former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. It alleges he made false statements under oath, violating professional standards.

Living History: A Freedom Rider Shares His Story

The “Freedom Riders” were civil rights activists, black and white, who challenged segregation by riding buses across the South. In 1961 near Anniston, a mob slashed one of those buses’ tires, set it on fire, and beat some of the passengers. Freedom Rider Hank Thomas was one of them.