Wallis Watkins

Producer & Contributing Reporter

Wallis Watkins is a Baton Rouge native. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Louisiana State University in 2013. Soon after, she joined WRKF as an intern and is now reporting on politics for Capitol Access and science and health for Louisiana's Lab.

Ways to Connect

http://www.drjack.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/alzheimers-brain.jpg

The MRI machine in Dr. Owen Carmichael's lab blares as it scans a subject's brain.  Carmichael, Director of Biomedical Imaging at Pennington Research Center, studies those scans trying to understand how the brain ages.

Carmichael explains that "what you'll see on the MRI scan is the amount of brain tissue.  And all of that brain tissue is part of that electrical circuitry that makes it possible for you to think."  As we age, our brains tend to shrink.  And as that tissue goes away, the harder it becomes to think.

He describes the young brain as a grape that's just been pulled from the vine, while "the elderly brain looks more like a raisin, in that it's deflated and smaller in size.  And the person with Alzheimer's, that 'looking like a grape' goes even further, it's extremely shriveled up."

East Baton Rouge Parish EMS

Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary sits on the northern edge of East Baton Rouge Parish. Ochsner on O’Neal Lane and Our Lady of the Lake on Essen are both about 20 miles to the south.  

There will be no emergency room in between once Baton Rouge General at Mid City closes their ER sometime between April and May.  That means ambulances will have farther to travel. 

For victims of sexual assault who decide to go to the hospital, it’s likely they’ll get a bill for their treatment.  But Louisiana is trying to change that.

Back in December, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order that makes it simpler for patients to get help with the cost – even take it off their hands entirely. 


National League of Cities

Baton Rouge is embarking on a new collaborative to tackle the problem of childhood obesity.

Over the next six months, the capitol city is one of seven cities joining forces through the National League of Cities to better understand obesity-related health disparities among children.

For the first time, Baton Rouge General Medical Center is hosting insurance navigators, trained to offer assistance to anyone who wants to buy health care coverage through the federal marketplace, which is now in its second year.


When things are working normally, your pancreas produces insulin and releases it to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.  Pancreatic beta cells are the only cells in the body that make insulin, but in Type 1 diabetes, those beta cells are damaged and destroyed by the immune system. That’s been understood for decades now, but we didn’t understand why the immune system attacks them. That’s the question Dr. Jason Collier, Director of Islet Biology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, is answering.

An i1 Biometrics concussion-detecting mouth guard in its charging cradle.
Wallis Watkins

To keep a better eye on head injuries in the past, the LSU football team has had concussion detectors installed in players’ helmets. This season, LSU became the first team in the NCAA to try high-tech mouth guards to measure hits.


  

   

It'll be Governor Bobby Jindal's former coastal chief, Garrett Graves, who faces former governor Edwin Edwards in the runoff for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District seat. 

As the only prominent Democrat in the 6th district race, Edwin Edwards had always been expected to make the runoff.  

Between Essen, Bluebonnet, Perkins and I-10 in Baton Rouge, there’s a whole bunch of health clinics and medical facilities – including Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Baton Rouge General, The Baton Rouge Clinic, and Pennington Biomedical. 

Chances are you'll get stuck in traffic when you drive through that corridor. 

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has set out to address that problem by creating a new Health District that would not only mean you sit through fewer traffic lights, but that health care is delivered more efficiently. 

LSU Goes Tobacco Free
LSU

Louisiana's legislature passed a law in 2013 prompting all state colleges and universities to go tobacco-free by Aug. 1 of this year. It's been almost two months now since tobacco products have officially been banned on LSU's Baton Rouge campus. 

Pages