Louisiana's Lab

Calling all curious people: Do you have questions about Louisiana's environment, or your own health? Or are you just a science geek? Tune into Louisiana's Lab, where we explore science, medicine and innovation in the Bayou State.

Exergaming Helps With Bone Density

Mar 28, 2016
Frank Barnett, WRKF

A study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge was conducted to determine what impact, if any, “exergaming” had on weight loss – and the focus was on adolescent girls.

Exergaming, if you don’t already know, is video gaming that requires physical activity – kind of like the Nintendo Wii. However, this study used the Kinect for Xbox, which has no remote.

Coffee Science

Mar 14, 2016
Frank Barnett, WRKF

Before a company like Community Coffee purchases coffee from origin, they need to know what they’re buying. So, a pre-ship sample of the coffee is sent before (and after) purchase and that sample is taken to the “Cupping Lab.”

Much like a wine connoisseur would taste test a wine, “cupping” provides a consistent methodology of grading and evaluating a coffee’s quality; whether you’re in Brazil, Sumatra, or Baton Rouge, everyone who “cups” does it the same.

Making Faces

Feb 8, 2016
Larry Livaudais, LSU FACES Laboratory

When local authorities find a decomposed body they can’t identify, what do they do?

Well, they send it to the LSU FACES Laboratory.

“It goes through a processing stage where anthropologists try to identify the gender, the race, and the approximate age range," says Larry Livaudais, the Imaging Specialist and Facial Reconstructionist at the FACES Lab. "Then after that it comes to me and I try to put a face to it as best I can with the clay.”

Microwaving Saturn

Feb 1, 2016

For most people, a microwave means a quick way to "nuke" your food.

But for LSU Math Professor Dr. Robert Lipton, a microwave means another thing: “Deep space communications – like how do you control the Mars Rover? They can use microwaves or radiowaves.”


Jan 25, 2016
Alexey Sergeev - http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/k/Anole.htm

Spring, summer and fall, they’re everywhere – green lizards. From backyards to office buildings, swamps to downtown streets, these lizards (or Green Anoles) are found everywhere in Baton Rouge; and, there are lots of them.

Flood Fight

Jan 11, 2016
Frank Barnett

The Mississippi River is still rising and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are in what they call a Flood Fight.

During Flood Fight the most important thing to the Corps is monitoring and attending to the well-being of the levees. All measures are taken to ensure its safety and well-being.

Ann Marie Awad

During a noisy reception at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center in Butte La Rose in December, the Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy signed a Memorandum of Understanding to restore the Bayou Sorrel region of the Atchafalaya Basin.

The Science behind Hangovers

Dec 28, 2015

You know you’ve been there: churning stomach and pounding head the morning after a party. You could try a little “hair of the dog.” Bartender Matthew Vondenstein says one of his customers swears by a whiskey cocktail.


“A muddled orange—heavily, heavily, heavily bittered with Angostura and Peychaud’s. And top that with a little soda and put a raw egg on top of it,” he says.


Heroin Deaths Set New Record in East Baton Rouge

Dec 21, 2015
Louisiana State Coroners Association

The number of heroin-related deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish set a new record in 2015.

"In 2012, my office worked 5 deaths that were related to heroin overdoses," says Dr. Beau Clark, coroner for East Baton Rouge. "In 2013, that number jumped to 35."

So far this year, 38 people have died.

Baton Rouge Air Quality Improving According to DEQ

Dec 14, 2015
Department of Environmental Quality

In early December, the Department of Environmental Quality released their annual report. Much of the report focused on air quality-- in particular, ozone.

"It’s the saying ozone’s good up high, bad nearby," says Vivian Aucoin, senior staff scientist at DEQ.