Conversations in Medicine

Sundays at 7:33 a.m. and 9:33 a.m.

Whether it's how to deal with cancer or the latest obesity research, each week Susan Hidalgo-Smith hosts experts from the world of health for insightful conversation. The program has earned awards from the Louisiana State Medical Society and the Arthritis Association of Louisiana for excellence in medical reporting.

Questions from his estate planning clients prompted attorney Paul Rabalais to investigate organ donation. Now Rabalais sponsors an annual 5K run/walk to support the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA). For more information about the 5K run/walk, go to

Dr. Robert Emmons of the Ochsner Blood Cancers and Stem Cell Transplant Program says it's an exciting time for blood cancer treatment, with many new drugs and sources for stem cells.

Students from the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts are now lending their talents to Baton Rouge General's Arts in Medicine Program launched a year ago.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge presents physicians and researchers investigating Parkinson's on Saturday, July 27. Carol Harrison, a researcher who has Parkinson's herself, has been instrumental in coming up with the line-up for the Parkinson's Disease Conference in its first two years.

More information is available at

In May, The Advocate reported officials had indicted healthcare practitioners in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for fraudulent Medicare billings totaling at least $80 million. Julie Agan, Senior Medicare Patrol Officer for EQ Health, says the fraud could get worse, but there are ways to guard against it.

Low bone mass is the most important risk factor for a fragility fracture. Dr. Reese Newsome, a musculoskeletal radiologist with the Baton Rouge Radiology Group, says anyone older than 55 should be screened.

Dr. Hector Ventura leads the Ochsner team that implanted the "Total Artificial Heart" for the first time in February. Their patient, a father of five now awaiting a matching donor heart, was the first in the Gulf Coast region to receive the device.

The Multi-Transplant Institute Team at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans was recognized as Number One in the U.S. for the year 2012 by CareChex, based on mortality and complication rates. Dr. Nigel Girgrah, Liver Transplant Director, says Ochsner's Living Donor Program helps prevent deaths of patients on the waiting list by reducing wait times. 

While politicians continue to wrangle over the roll-out of the federal Affordable Care Act, families and individuals are grappling with what it means for them.


Dr. Karen Elkind-Hirsch is part of a group of researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Woman's Hospital who will be following 306 pregnant women with smartphones.