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UAB News

  • Lace up for Blazer Fun Run/Walk
    Join UAB Employee Wellness for the annual Blazer Fun Run on Sept. 19.

    Join UAB Employee Wellness for the annual Blazer Fun Run Sept. 19.The fifth annual Blazer Fun Run/Walk, set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, offers faculty, staff, students and alumni the opportunity to get physically fit and learn about all the health resources, services and benefits available at UAB. Participants can walk, jog or run the 2-mile course, which begins near the Bell Building parking lot, followed by a post-walk event on the UAB Campus Green.

    The event, hosted by UAB Employee Wellness, will culminate with a celebration on the UAB Campus Green featuring live music, family games and other activities. Individuals who want to participate can register as part of a team, which will represent departments throughout UAB. The UAB team with the most participation will be awarded a prize from UAB Employee Wellness.

    To find out more information or to register online, visit the official Blazer Fun Run/Walk page

  • Kasman takes first place at International Keyboard Institute and Festival
    UAB junior Aleksandra Kasman outplayed 33 talented pianists to win first place at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival.

    Out of a talented international pool of 33 pianists, University of Alabama at Birmingham junior Aleksandra Kasman took the top prize at the 2015 International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City on Aug. 2.

    Kasman is a music major in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music and a member of the UAB Honors College’sUniversity Honors Program. She studies piano with her father, UAB professor and artist-in-residence Yakov Kasman.

    The International Keyboard Institute and Festival is a summer piano festival that offers two weeks of concerts, masterclasses and lectures, and is open to student participants as well as the public. Students from around the world are given the opportunity to study with faculty and artists, participate in masterclasses, and attend concerts and lectures given by some of the world’s best-known pianists and scholars.

    Kasman was accepted into this highly competitive event as a Piano Arts North American Competition scholarship winner. Participants who attend the festival for two weeks are eligible to compete for $10,000 in the Dorothy MacKenzie Artist Recognition Scholarship Awards. The MacKenzie Awards support and recognize the artistic endeavors of participants in the festival and encourage excellence and dedication. 

    The rigorous, four-day competition is held in three rounds, with a total of one hour and 20 minutes of playing, or a full concert program. Kasman was named one of four finalists out of 33 participants and went on to win first place.

    “The International Keyboard Institute and Festival gave me the opportunity to make valuable connections with other participants from all over the world,” Kasman said. “It was an honor to learn from professors of the highest caliber and some of the biggest names in piano, including festival founder and director Jerome Rose.”

    Kasman’s goal for the next two years is to compete in even bigger competitions and move on to graduate school after completing her studies at UAB.

    “I hope to go on to obtain master’s and doctoral degrees,” Kasman said. “The great thing about music is that there are so many things you can do: performing, teaching, masterclasses, workshops, recording. I have entertained the thought of possibly going into music administration. I am also interested in conducting.”

  • Tips on insomnia, snooze buttons, hot baths, putting phones away and more
    Tips from a UAB sleep physician on ways to help fall asleep and wake up refreshed.

    Have trouble sleeping or waking up? You are not alone. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates 30-35 percent of adults complain of insomnia. It is common in groups such as older adults, women, people under stress, and people with certain medical and mental health problems.

    Amy Amara, M.D., Ph.D., a neurologist and sleep medicine physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says there are a host of factors that can disrupt sleep; but she also offers some suggestions that can help you catch those elusive Z’s.

    Amara, who sees patients at the UAB’s Sleep/Wake Disorders Center, says the bottom line to waking up refreshed is to get enough hours of sleep. Easier said than done.

    “Cooler environments are helpful for promoting sleep,” Amara said. “A hot bath just before bedtime may be helpful because the body temperature decreases quickly after getting out of the tub, thus promoting sleep. The best sleep environment is cool, dark and quiet.”

    For some sleep issues, a visit to a sleep medicine physician is valuable. Sleep professionals can help individuals understand their body’s preferred sleep time and needs. Tools such as sleep diaries can be helpful. Sleep physicians can also help with more complicated issues such as circadian rhythm disorders.

    Amara also recommends a consistent exercise program, which helps make sleep less fragmented and promotes alertness during the daytime. A regular program is important, because a single day of vigorous exercise can sometimes disrupt sleep that night. The type of exercise is less important — find something you like to do, and stick with it.

    If you are consistently waking up groggy, or hitting the snooze button many times, Amara says going to bed earlier can help; but be sure to optimize your ability to sleep by reserving your sleeping space for just sleep. No TV, no reading, and no electronics in or near the bed. Your smartphone can wait until you get up.

    For some sleep issues, a visit to a sleep medicine physician is valuable. Sleep professionals can help individuals understand their body’s preferred sleep time and needs. Tools such as sleep diaries can be helpful. Sleep physicians can also help with more complicated issues such as circadian rhythm disorders.

    “Light is definitely an alerting signal to help you wake up, but the timing of light exposure is very dependent upon the individual,” Amara said. “If the light is given at the wrong time, it can actually end up making it harder for you to wake up or can shift the circadian rhythm in the wrong direction. A sleep medicine doctor can assist in providing a plan to shift the rhythm in the right direction.” 

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