UAMS AGEC (Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative) loves older adults, loyal followers, caregivers, and care recipients!
During this time they know many of you are staying close to home, and due to temporary closures, you’re probably unable to do your normal exercises and classes at your community fitness centers. AGEC wants to help you all stay healthy and active.
On Wednesdays at 11 a.m. (until further notice), they will offer “Ageless Grace” via Facebook Live, click here. If you can’t watch live on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., watch and exercise along with the replay videos on their website series at https://agec.uams.edu/agelessgrace/, as many times as you’d like!
Be sure to tune in this Wednesday, April 1st, at 11 a.m. on Facebook Live for our next brain health exercise!
Yoga with Linda King, Yoga Instructor, Jim Dailey Fitness Center
I know the past month must have been trying for all. I had quite a moment recovering from the tailspin my medical practice was in due to Covid restrictions which affected not only my procedures but my referrals. So had to majorly adjust my expectations with the main goal to keep my employees safe and working for the foreseeable future.
That being said, I miss you guys. So now is time to reactivate our meetings using an electronic platform!
I have been doing Zoom consultations for my patients to keep them home and also my friends and family and I have been doing virtual coffee, virtual dinners together and so on. Although not as touchy feely as when meeting in person, these options are keeping our spirit up and all of us connected.
So here is the plan:
Let’s get together next Friday from 6 to 8 pm
This will be a zoom meeting
Please RSVP by Friday morning so I can Email you the meeting number and password. My email address is email@example.com.
No charge for this meeting (donations accepted LOL)
This will be an informal meeting and we can talk about anything. I am trying to keep well informed about COVID 19 and I can share what I know or we can talk about other things.
I see possible classes on line : like bring you guys in my kitchen when I fix dinner or cover topics with slides and so on. But I would like to ask you guys what you would like best.
The Most Important Thing is that we stay connected during this social distancing. So I want to keep our community going. We will discuss future dates at next Friday’s meeting.
I hope you guys are eating healthy! produce is plentiful ! and the produce section is rarely packed with people
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A singer-songwriter anthropologist who has been experiencing Italy’s coronavirus pandemic reflects on how pandemic-inspired songs connect people and reveal shifting power dynamics.
By Kristina Jacobsen, cultural anthropologist, ethnographer, and singer-songwriter. Jacobsen is an associate professor of music and of anthropology (ethnology) at the University of New Mexico (UNM), her research interests focus on language, identity, and expressive culture.
Since a quarantine was imposed in parts of Italy on March 8 to stop the spread of COVID-19, I’ve been struck by the silence. In a place where people love to engage, touch, talk, and constantly debate, the lack of sound—especially of people’s voices—is eerie.
On the island of Sardinia, where I have lived since June*, the silence is palpable. It seems to weigh on the landscape.
On March 11, the policy of “shelter in place” went from being recommended to being mandatory. All bars, restaurants, cafés, and other “nonessential” businesses were closed until at least April 3.
From my open door in the seaside city of Cagliari, I see only occasional passersby, walking briskly and purposefully down the city’s main shopping street, dutifully clutching their autodichiarazione—papers that justify their reasons for leaving home.
In train cars, grocery stores, and pharmacies, the smell of bleach and hand sanitizer assaults the senses. Strikingly absent is the aroma of strong espresso, usually a ubiquitous part of the city’s olfactory landscape.
City squares are hosed down each night with large water tanks. Police officers patrol the roads. In a city known for its rich and fecund smells, its sensuous approach to life, and its vivid festivals, the streets feel sterile and empty.
But into this void of daily scents and sounds, a multitude of melodies has been born: balcony concerts, recordings, and in-home videos under the hashtags #flashmobsonoro, #iorestoacasa (“I’m staying home”), #lamusicanonsiferma (“the music doesn’t stop”), and #tuttoandràbene (“everything will be OK”).
These performances—original songs, covers, spontaneous performances, and humorous commentaries—are a sonic response to this government-imposed silence. Each of us is reaching out across the ether, from the solitude of our home to someone else in the solitude of their own home.
I came to Sardinia to study the Sardinian language, conduct anthropological fieldwork, and write and record an album with Sardinian songwriters. I was drawn to the intensity of social life on this island, its incredible culture of hospitality, and the profound appreciation people here have for music and sound.
In his song “Su Baballoti” (the cockroach), singer-songwriter Antonio Pani bemoans how the new coronavirus has crept into every corner of Italian social life. Antonio Pani
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended much of that research. But it’s also revealed new and important ways in which music echoes and amplifies the tensions that vibrate through Sardinian daily life. The songs emerging from the quarantine are a profound form of social commentary on Sardinian perspectives of power, relationships to the Italian mainland, and the ways the virus has rocked longstanding ideas of privilege and status between Italy’s north and south.
On March 12, a song arrived on one of the lively WhatsApp groups I am part of. It spoke eloquently of the connectedness of cultures. In the video, Antonio Pani plays an Irish bouzouki in a Sardinian style, wears an Oregon sweatshirt, and sings a Spanish-influenced tune reminiscent of the storytelling corrido ballads of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, where I lived and studied previously.
The style—cantu campidanesu—is a poetic form of song well-known on the island. The genre, called gòcius or gosos, is Iberian in origin, and harkens to a time when Sardinia was colonized by Spain from about 1325 to 1708. It is primarily religious, but in its secular form, a gòcius often satirizes a person or an issue of the day. They can also be songs of protection for people, the harvest, and livestock.
In the song—called “Su Baballoti,” or “the cockroach”—Pani uses the metaphor of a cockroach to convey how the novel coronavirus (sa corona) has crawled into every nook and cranny of everyday life. He references face masks and laments the suspension of kisses during greetings and goodbyes, and the absence of gestures like the brief brush of a hand on an arm to affirm connection.
It reminds me of the day before the lockdown, when I was sitting alone in an outdoor café. A man asked the people at a neighboring table for a light. As he held out his cigarette, his girlfriend reminded him, in Italian: “Respect the social distance of 1 meter.”
Pani plays with the word “corona,” which also means “crown” and symbolizes power. He addresses the novel coronavirus, singing in the southern version of the Sardinian language, Campidanese: “Even if you walk around with a crown / you will never be our king.”
“Even if you walk around with a crown / you will never be our king.”
He describes the powerful ways the pandemic has impacted Sardinia and the northern Italian region of Lombardy. “Italy is in torment,” he sings. “Sardinia has also been affected but not like Lombardia, which remains in our thoughts.”
Then he stares straight at the camera and earnestly sings: “Baballoti, get away from here. You will not win.”
Another song circulating is an example of Sardinia’s traditional cantu a tenòre style, which UNESCO designated an intangible cultural heritage. It imitates a type of rhythmic song that accompanies village dances and features four male voices singing a cappella in Sardinian-inflected Italian and low, guttural voices. The lead singer-songwriter is Sardinian comic and cabaret singer Giuseppe Masia, and his tone is both cheeky and deadly serious.
The song documents the 13,300 Italian northerners who fled to their second homes in Sardinia over the last two weeks, right before the borders of Veneto and Lombardy were cordoned off and declared “red zones.” Thirteen thousand is a number equivalent to all the visitors who come to Sardinia during the Italian vacation months of July and August.
The recent influx has, understandably, been the source of much consternation among Sardinians, who see these “northerners” as the main vectors for the virus.
Masia sings in a strident, nasal voice, with the three accompanying voices pulsating underneath his: “Coronavirus: When you can’t find a face mask anywhere (they were all purchased by Aunt Gavina) / and the people give you dirty looks when you breathe in public.” The song ends with Masia threatening, in a melodramatic style, to shoot any “Milanesi” (people from Milan and elsewhere in the north) he meets on the street.
The situation represents a bizarre reversal of a centuries-old dynamic in which poor southerners, including Sardinians, move to northern Italy for work. (Unemployment in Sardinia right now is over 30 percent.) Northerners have often treated southerners as “hicks,” or terroni (“people of the earth”). They have viewed them as symbolic vectors for poverty and lack of education, and as literal vectors for disease.
And in a perhaps unprecedented moment of reversal, this disease has hit communities of privilege first—in Italy but also elsewhere—and socially marginalized communities last.
On one hand, wealthy northerners recently arrived in Sardinia on ferries with their cars packed full of food, ready to hole up in their beach houses, and either unaware of their privilege or unconcerned that they might bring the disease to an island long perceived by mainlanders as remote and desolate. The Sardi (Sardinians) feel taken advantage of and exploited.
On the other hand, in their quickness to judge their northern neighbors, some Sardi are repeating the exact behavior visited upon them while living on the “continente.”
So, COVID-19 has created a moment of truth, when the tables are finally turned.
But many of these northerners are also Sardinians who live, study, and work in Milan and other industrial centers, send valuable stipends back home, and have claims to family, villages, and homes in Sardinia. So, the people Masia threatens to harm might be members of his extended family.
In a time when the enemy can potentially be anyone, the novel coronavirus is both dividing and dissolving our distinctions between “us” and “them.”
Italy is a place where there is no word for privacy. In Italian, people have to borrow the English word “privacy.” The constant kisses, touches, exclamations, and opinions can at times be overwhelming for newcomers.
But I have never longed for the sense of social overwhelm and intense human contact that I associate with Sardinia like I have during this quarantine.
On March 13, I took part in a #flashmobsonoro. Each participant was supposed to play songs from our balcony for 15 minutes, then post the video to Facebook.
I live in an underground apartment with no windows, so I performed from my doorway, with my dog at my feet. I played four original songs, three country songs in a mix of Sardinian and English, and one folk song in Norwegian. As my Sardinian language teacher taught me, in the chorus I sang:
“Nois tenimos sas istorias nostras / Lassat totu fora s’ajanna / Ca custu sero nudatteru nos importat / Finzas chi sa manu tua istringet sa mia” (We all have our stories / Leave your troubles at the door / Because tonight nothing else matters / Long as my hand is in yours)
It was a breath of fresh air to play live music and to know others were doing the same, somewhere around the corner, across the island, or on the continent. When I finished my set, I looked up at a group of people who gathered to listen, the lit sign of the closed shop behind them glowing above their heads like a halo.
“Grazie,” I heard someone say. I couldn’t see who was speaking, so looked up to a fourth floor balcony. A man in his early 20s waved at me. “Grazie,” he said again. We made eye contact. “De nudda,” I responded in Sardinian. You’re welcome.
Special thanks to ethnomusicologists Marco Lutzu, Diego Pani, Ignazio Cadeddu, and Bastianu Pilosu for their assistance in the translation and interpretation of the songs discussed; to musician Antonio Pani for permission to share his song “Su Baballoti”; and to Radio Limbara for their permission to reprint their meme here. Gratzias!
* Editor’s note: On the advice of the U.S. State Department, the author had to temporarily leave Italy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have followed you for years and purchase your tapes. Met you in Ann Arbor at the food co- op. Is it true Cyanocobalamin b12 ( which you recommend for us as vegans) turns into cyanide and the best b12 to take is hydroxycobalamin? Per Raymond Francis MIT scientist. That’s what his website shows anyway. His comments were it is man made , not natural, and not well utilized. What is absorbed is turn into cyanide. Could you please clarify, help.
Let me guess: Mr. Francis sells hydroxycobalamin supplements?
It’s like the whole coral calcium scam. Calcium is cheap as chalk–in fact it is chalk! So how are you going to bilk people out of lots of money? You sell some sort of special calcium. Same with B12 supplements.
B12 is so cheap to produce that supplement manufacturers try to come up with all sorts of fancy ways to “add value” to products so they can charge $30 a bottle. Unless you’re a smoker, have kidney failure, or base your diet around cassava root, cyanocobalamin should be fine. That’s what I take!
This may be the most important video that I have ever made. It’s filled with big, bold ideas and that is exactly what is required in this time of global climate crisis. I know it’s easy to feel powerless as we watch the earth warm and the polar ice caps melt. But there’s actually a great deal that can be done to avert the impending environmental disasters that we all see looming in front of us. Old thinking got us into this problem and new ‘out of the box’ thinking is required to get us out, and to create a world of health and stability.
This video offers some of that bold thinking in the hopes that it will give a glimpse to what is possible. Since a vision of what is possible is the first step in making any bold societal change happen. _______________
ABOUT DR. KLAPER
Dr. Michael Klaper is an experienced physician, an internationally-recognized teacher and sought-after speaker on diet and health. He resolutely believes that proper nutrition — through a whole-food, plant-based diet — and a balanced lifestyle are essential for health.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Klaper nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, exercise or other lifestyle program.
To avoid getting sick, most of the focus so far has been on preventing exposure to the coronavirus, which, of course, is very important—staying at home, social distancing, hand washing, gloves, masks, disinfecting, etc.
But very little has been written about the other half of the equation: how to enhance your immune system so that if you are exposed, you can reduce the chances of getting sick—or at least mitigate the intensity of the disease and thus reduce the death rate.
The four aspects of our lifestyle medicine program—eat well, move more, stress less, love more—have been proven to reverse a wide variety of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, early-stage prostate cancer, and hypertension. They also enhance immune function.
Here are some relevant studies:
1. Love More:
Spreading fear and loathing about the coronavirus may, ironically, increase the risk of getting sick. Fear can be self-fulfilling to the extent that it does suppress immune function and makes someone more likely to get the very disease they’re most afraid of.
Also, staying at home and social distancing help prevent transmission of the virus, but feeling lonely can be harmful to your health. Study after study have shown that people who are lonely and isolated are 3-10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely of virtually all causes when compared to those who have a strong sense of love and community.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to enhance our immune function to help protect us. While it’s important to stay at home, wash your hands, disinfect, etc., it’s also wise to spend more time socializing with family members who are living with you as well using video or just audio technologies like Zoom or the phone to virtually spend time with friends and family in other places.
For example, Sheldon Cohen did a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which he dripped rhinovirus (which causes the common cold) in the noses of volunteers. (I don’t know how he persuaded people to volunteer and got this approved by the human studies committee….) All of them became infected, but not everyone developed the signs and symptoms of a cold.
Those that had only 1-3 social ties—defined as a phone call or visit from a friend every two weeks—were 4.2 times more likely to develop a cold than those with 6 or more social ties during that time. (Now, just visit friends virtually rather than in person.) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/417085
2. Stress Less:
In an earlier study, Cohen dripped five types of respiratory viruses (rhinovirus type 2, 9, or 14, respiratory syncytial virus, or coronavirus type 229E, a less deadly form than the current coronavirus) into volunteers. The rates of both respiratory infection and clinical colds increased significantly in a dose-response manner with increases in the degree of psychological stress. Infection rates ranged from approximately 74 percent to approximately 90 percent, according to levels of psychological stress, and the incidence of clinical colds ranged from approximately 27 percent to 47 percent.
In other words, stress suppressed their immune function. Because of this, the more stressed they felt, the more likely they were to get infected and sick. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199108293250903
And in a more recent study, he found that those who he infected with rhinoviruses who had positive emotions such as happy, pleased, and relaxed had a 2.9 times lower risk of developing a cold than those who did not in a dose-response fashion.
In contrast, when you’re depressed, your immune system is depressed as well. In a different study by Margaret Chesney and others, men who were HIV positive (i.e., all had evidence of being infected with the HIV virus) and were depressed were significantly more likely to develop AIDS and die from it than those who were not depressed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8885823
So, I put all of this together to say that it does make very good sense to be mindful of reducing risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus by staying at home, social distancing, hand washing, gloves, masks, disinfecting, etc.) without becoming afraid or depressed. And to spend more time virtually in loving relationships with friends and family; eating well; moving more; and stressing less.
In short, enhancing our immune system can help us to be less “influenced” by the influenza virus.
Finding meaning in situations, especially bad ones, also helps enhance our immune system. With all the tragedy of the coronavirus, is there anything meaningful that comes from it?
First, for those of us who work too much, being at home and being told not to go to work or to travel gives everyone a valid rationale to spend more time with our friends and family, both in-person with those you live with and also virtually with others. No FOMO if everything is cancelled. You don’t have to give an excuse at work to stay home.
Also, having a common enemy can help heal some of the wounds that divide our country. These are profoundly human issues that affect everyone in all states, both red and blue.
It reminds me a little of the classic science fiction movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which an intelligent alien comes to Earth to warn everyone of the importance of living peacefully. He caused all mechanical and electrical machines to stop for an hour to get everyone’s attention. Our world this week is also stopping—for much more than an hour—and it’s getting everyone’s attention as well.
And, finally, having so much less traffic and manufacturing is also giving the Earth a chance to breathe and heal, at least temporarily. A literal breather.
Dr. Michael Klaper is a friend, a philosopher, and a humanitarian. Today, he returns to the podcast for the third time to talk about the coronavirus and to answer your health questions. In this ever-changing landscape, we are dedicated to providing you with a compass—pointing you towards facts, science, and the world’s most well-trusted medical authorities on health and nutrition.
In addition to talking through the origins of the COVID-19 virus, as well as tips on how you can maximize your health and minimize risk, Dr. Klaper also provides HOPE!
In fact, as he says, there is room for magic in this “pandemic of possibilities.” Hopefully, we will all emerge with a renewed sense of awareness and appreciation for our planet, our animals, and each other.