OUR Premiere Issue
In good hands Dr. Jeanne Wei heads RIOA
One of the greatest joys I have as a geriatrician is the pleasure I get from watching the majority of my patients stay functionally independent, actively engaged in life’s activities and in healthy condition. Of course, it would be wonderful if I could claim partial credit for my patients’ overall healthy aging, but in fact, it is the patients who truly deserve all of the credit. Although I might suggest healthful habits and lifestyle changes from which they can benefit, it is the seniors themselves who are responsible for implementing these suggestions. Most of the time, our health status depends on the choices we make, i.e., exercising, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, getting sufficient rest and so on. As a doctor I could advise you about how to be healthy, but only you can take the necessary steps to be healthy. It saddens me when people make bad choices that impact negatively on their overall health. I remember a patient who once said, “I would have taken better care of myself if I had known I would live this long.” With the demographic changes that are occurring in Arkansas and across America, it is very likely that you “are going to live a long life.” It is up to you to choose to live a healthy life, one that can help you to maintain independence well into your 90s and beyond. This magazine focuses on living a long and vigorous life. Choose for yourself – whether to “age less” or to become “ageless.” You will make a winning choice with either!
AgeLess FALL 2009
Editor Marsha Hines Art Director Laurie Shell Photographer Johnpaul Jones Director of Special Programs Linda Sue Sanders Production Manager Angi McDaniel Director Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D. Chancellor University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Dan Rahn, M.D. Vice Chancellor of Communications & Marketing Pat Torvestad Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications & Marketing Leslie Taylor Assistant Vice Chancellor of Communications & Marketing Tim Irby AgeLess is published quarterly for the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging by the Office of Communications & Marketing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St. #890, Little Rock, AR 72205-7199; phone (501) 686-5686; Fax (501) 686-6020.
Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging Chair, Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics
Aging Well, Living Better
6 10 Inside
IS GERATRICS THE “NEW” PEDIATRICS
HER OTHER NECKLACE IS A STETHOSCOPE
LOVE AND LONGEVITY
YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS LADY
Similarities exist between young and old.
Busy geriatrician relaxes by making jewelry.
Better health can be life-changing.
Cover photo by Johnpaul Jones Styling by Cozetta Jones
Marie Spitzberg is everyone’s neighbor.
For at least 50 years, the name Roger Bost was synonymous with children’s health care in Arkansas. As the eighth board-certified pediatrician in Arkansas in the 1950s, Dr. Bost pioneered in the practice of pediatrics in Fort Smith, and later served as interim chairman of pediatrics at UAMS and executive director at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “When I started in
today than any other medical specialty, and like pediatrics, it is developing around the needs of the people. Infants need specialized care in their development and similarly, older adults need a different type of care as they come to the final stage of their lives.” Like pediatrics, geriatrics was once an unheard-of specialty. Older adults were taken to the family physician that had cared for them most of their adult lives. But medical care doesn’t come from a cookie cutter. As with children, many medical conditions in older adults do not respond to treatments that work well with young or middle-age adults. Dr. Bost serves as an “of counsel” member of the Reynolds Community Advisory Board. His wisdom about the future of geriatrics is invaluable. If the doctor who helped to develop the pediatrics specialty in Arkansas chooses to get his health care from a geriatrician, is there any better endorsement? v
Is Geriatrics the “New”
Pediatrics? pediatrics,” he recalled, “it was a whole new concept. Many people did not realize that children need this unique kind of care.” Today Dr. Bost, a 1945 graduate of the UAMS College of Medicine, relies on another up-and-coming medical specialty for his care—geriatrics. At 87 years of age, he and his wife both see geriatricians at the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic for their primary health care. “Geriatrics could be the new pediatrics,” he said. “It has more potential
Aging Well, Living Better
Dr. Bost sees many commonalities between pediatrics and geriatrics:
Dr. Bost with his former pediatric patient Robert Hines.
Infants and small children are more susceptible to infections because they have limited, temporary immunity from their mother at birth. Similarly, older adults are susceptible to infections because they often lack the antibodies to fight them. Infants and children often experience side effects from all medications, and the same is true for older adults. Children have their own set of emotional issues just as older adults have a specific set of problems, such as grief or depression. Proper nutrition is extremely critical for both groups. Geriatricians watch for unexplained weight loss and pediatricians are interested in continued weight gain. Both nutritional concerns are important.
Dr. Ann Riggs (right) makes jewlery with her friend Leta Peterson (center), and mother Janet Riggs.
Her other necklace is a
A stethoscope is Dr. Ann T. Riggs’ most important piece of jewelry during the day, but when the vice chair of clinical programs leaves clinic, and by the time she visits the last nursing home patient on her list, her best stress-reliever is crafting exquisite pieces of jewelry. With the precise skill of a surgeon, the auburn-haired geriatrician designs one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Janet Riggs introduced her daughter Ann to “beading” after best friend Maria Mayo Donovan got her hooked on the hobby years ago in Rochester, Minn. When Janet and Larry Riggs, retired Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, settled in Little Rock, the pastime became a peaceful diversion and a regular mother/daughter activity. Friend Leta Peterson, a pain clinic nurse at Reynolds Institute, joined the activity and soon it became a self-sustaining business/hobby. “We have joked about our bead business and we call it the ‘sweat shop’,” Dr. Riggs said laughing. “I’m definitely keeping my day job.” 6
Dr. Riggs says her artistic talent comes from her mother’s side of the genetic tree and her love of medicine comes from her father’s. “Mother is an artist with a creative mind, and my father is an analytical doctor who also happens to love creative things,” she explained. “They are perfect examples of active retirees. Dad recently joined Aging Well, Living Better
the Reynolds Institute Advisory Board and is excited about being part of the upcoming building project. Mother sees a geriatrician in the Thomas and Lyon Clinic, or as she calls it ‘the Geri center,’ and my husband Dr. Don Bodenner is also on the geriatrics faculty. At times, going to work seems like attending a family reunion!” v
What began as a hobby has evolved into a selfsustaining business/ hobby that she still enjoys with her mother, Janet Riggs.
Aging Well, Living Better
Vote of Confidence of specially-trained geriatricians is In the UAMS auditorium needed to provide unique care that older dedicated in his honor, Fred Smith, patients will require.” Donald W. Reynolds Foundation The crowd came to its feet cheering Chairman, delighted a large crowd of UAMS family and community supporters when Smith announced the construction by announcing a $30.4 million gift to the of a one block-long pedestrian bridge Reynolds Institute on Aging, the second connecting Reynolds Institute to the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & largest ever received at UAMS. Neurosciences Institute. With this gift, the Named to recognize former Reynolds Foundation Reynolds Foundation has now given more board member John than $80 million to We are so Schlereth, the bridge will UAMS projects. grateful to provide the only covered “We are so grateful the Reynolds access from Reynolds to the Reynolds Institute to the new UAMS Foundation,” said Foundation.” Medical Center. The route Jeanne Wei, director, will take walkers through Donald W. Reynolds the Stephens Institute, Institute on Aging and to the third level of the parking deck, chair, Donald W. Reynolds Department into the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer of Geriatrics. “With this four-story Institute, and then on to the hospital addition to our current structure, hallways. “It is still a long, healthy hike,” our program will be poised to expand an excited employee remarked, “but now existing educational programs, increase the lengthy walk is climate-controlled research activity and broaden existing and covered! Our patients and visitors clinical programs. To put it simply, this means we will help persons 65 years old will love this addition.” The Reynolds Foundation has and older to age well and live better. “This gift also enhances our ability to challenged the Institute to raise recruit physicians who want to specialize 5 percent of the total gift ($5.6 million) for program support to qualify for the in geriatrics,” she continued. “There is funding. Fundraising plans are already no greater issue facing medicine today underway. Completion of the additional than the dramatic demographic shift four floors is expected in 2012. v that is already occurring. The expertise
Love Longevity 10
Aging Well, Living Better
few changes in his daily habits, he Soon after celebrating his had the possibility, maybe even the 80th birthday, Philip Jonsson started probability, to live to the age of 100 or feeling a little O-L-D. Slowing down was unheard of in this talented businessman’s older. This good news nourished his desire for better health and put him lifestyle. For many years, he had been on a new path. Increased activity, an active member of business and civic exercise, a better diet and improved communities in Arkansas and Texas, sleep habits resulted in a working in the petroleum surprising rejuvenation. exploration and production After his health and industry and running ...and two attitude renewal, his financial institutions. hours later, future took on bright new Currently, he is the directions. He rekindled president and board chair of she had an earlier friendship with Signal Media Corporation, changed the Dianne Yost, who had which owns and operates way I lived, enjoyed a very successful radio stations in Arkansas management career with and includes Signal and added Saks Fifth Avenue and Media Publishing, which life to my Neiman Marcus in Dallas, specializes in innovative years.” Beverly Hills and Palm classroom materials for the Beach. The couple had public school system. known each other for But even with all his years, but careers, business and charitable distance and fate never allowed their activities, Jonsson had begun to settle mutual interest to blossom into its into an all-too-comfortable sedentary “happily ever after phase.” existence. He knew better, after all he served on the Reynolds Institute on Aging While no medical research suggests that improved health is the secret to Advisory Board, saw a geriatrician in the finding true and lasting love, maybe Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic, and you should ask Jonsson what he thinks. had been told to stay active, eat right, After 42 years as a bachelor, Philip etc., but his motivation wasn’t there. married Diane this year on Valentine’s Noticing some slight changes in Day in a beautiful ceremony attended Jonsson’s overall health, Dr. Jeanne Wei, by many friends and family. She director, Reynolds Institute on Aging, relocated from Florida and recently invited her friend to stop by the office became a member of the Reynolds for a visit. “She asked lots of questions and counseled me on my health practices Institute Community Advisory Board. and outlook,” he recalled, “and two hours Sedentary and O-L-D no longer describe Philip Jonsson’s lifestyle, he later, she had changed the way I lived, plans to live to be 100, thanks to his and added life to my years.” encouraging visit with Dr. Wei. v Dr. Wei told Jonsson that with a
Aging Well, Living Better
If you live in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood near UAMS, maybe you have attended one of her “know your neighbors” front porch watermelon festivals. If you exercise in the Ottenheimer Fitness Center at Reynolds Institute, you recognize her as that “incredible 90-year old woman who works out just about every day.” And if you are Paul or Irving Spitzberg, you know her simply as “Mom.” The “Spitzberg boys” recognized that their mother, Marie, instilled an unwavering set of values with her guidance and personal example. She advocated for many groups including school integration, feeding the hungry and promoting the FALL 2009
rights of older Americans. Marie Spitzberg is truly a woman who stands up for what she believes. Marie sets a high standard for aging well and living better. She limits her driving and enjoys the convenience she finds at Reynolds Institute on Aging. Not only is she concerned about maintaining her physical independence and uses the fitness center regularly, she also sees a geriatrician in the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Center and attends educational offerings. She could be the spokesperson for healthy aging! “I hope and continue to believe that we can all live peaceful and full lives in our world,” Marie said, “but in order to do so, we must tackle
issues like aging with complete information and civic action.” It is no wonder that many of us are envious of her incredible energy, passion and empathy. Marie Spitzberg is the real thing. v
The Marie Award
In 2004, sons Paul and Irving established “The Marie Award.” This year The Honorable David Pryor received the award for his untiring work to safeguard the rights and welfare of older Americans.
vitamin D+calcium= strong bones “Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular?” Lucille Ball used these lines to sell Vitameatavegamin in her comedy show, but today maybe we should use the wording to promote vitamin D. It is a very important vitamin that many older adults lack. In fact, Americans age 50 and older are at an increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. More than 25 million people in the United States are at risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition most often associated with inadequate calcium intake. Without vitamin D in your body, calcium cannot be absorbed. You can drink gallons of milk to get the calcium, but without vitamin D, you might as 14
well be drinking water. As we age, our skin does not synthesize the vitamin as efficiently and our kidneys are less able to convert it to its active form. As many as half of older adults in the United States with hip fractures can blame it on insufficient vitamin D levels. Not only does the vitamin impact the health of your bones, it also has been associated with neuromuscular and immune function, muscular disorders and cancer risk. Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D; the average person needs 15 to 30 minutes of daily sunlight to maintain an adequate amount of the vitamin. Few of us are able
to get the basic amount of sunshine we need to produce vitamin D. UV radiation does not penetrate glass. Sunscreens higher than eight also block the UV rays and limit absorption. Only a simple blood test can determine the level of vitamin D in your body. If you are deficient, your doctor will most likely advise you to take up to 400 units of vitamin D daily. A once-a-month megadose of the vitamin was recently approved and works well for persons who have difficulty with a daily dose regimen. You must have enough of this important vitamin. Listen to Lucy and “join all the thousands of happy peppy people and get a big bottle of vitamin D….It’s so tasty too!”
Aging Well, Living Better
double specialty A geriatrician is a medical doctor who, after completing a residency in internal medicine or family practice, takes an extra year of training to learn about caring for older adults. If you do the math, geriatricians have at least 24 or 25 years of formal education!
Part of the Reynolds Institute’s mission is to train world-class geriatricians. This year we welcome the following doctors to our program: (seated l. to r.) Drs. Annie Khurana and Seema Siraj, (standing l. to r.) Drs. Akshai Janak, Harish Veeramachaneni and Kanthi Narra.
drive smarter Complete the AARP Driver Safety Program and you will save money on your auto insurance—it’s the law. Reynolds Institute on Aging hosts the AARP Driver Safety Program on the
second Saturday morning of each month. Taught by a talented AARP volunteer, the four-hour course (8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) is enjoyable and informative. Cost of the program is only $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Contact Marsha Hines at 501-526-6553 or HinesMarshaM@ uams.edu for information or to register.
Scientific researchers need compelling theories, laboratories dedicated to their projects, and most of all…funding. When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed earlier this summer releasing $75 million for research, scientists at Reynolds Institute saw a tremendous opportunity and literally burned the midnight oil to apply for the stimulus funding. Under the direction of Dr. Jeanne Wei, director, Reynolds Institute on Aging, 25 proposals were submitted within a two-month period, and to date, two of the proposals have received funding: “Transcription Regulation in The Aging Heart” to Dr. Jeanne Wei, $79,170 from NIH/NIA. “Sp1, Kappa-B-Enhancers and Transcription in Neurons” – summer student program to Dr. Steve Barger, $17,980. Obtaining funding for important medical studies is an ongoing challenge. “We are excited and optimistic about receiving additional ARRA funding,” Dr. Wei said. “This funding is a real shot in the arm for our research and provides some additional support that is critical to ongoing projects.”
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Art of Aging
Reynold’s Institute on Aging has a beautiful collection of artwork displayed throughout the building. AgeLess will feature individual pieces from the collection for you to enjoy. Winter Solace 2000, acrylic on canvas 48”x48” Al Allen captures the flavor of the South through his renditions of light and the play of shadows on windows and siding. This painting by Allen is so realistic that patients often do a double take when they see it in the waiting area. Born in 1925, Allen died last year at the age of 83. He had always been interested in painting. He received a degree in art from Louisiana State University. Additional works by Al Allen can be found in collections at the Arkansas Arts Center, The Brooks Museum, The Winthrop Rockefeller Collection and the Stephens’ Collection.
UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging magazine