Court To Decide If Obesity Is Impairment

I came across this in the National Law Review (January 21, 2019) issue and want to share.

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is set to decide whether obesity is an impairment in and of itself under the ADAAA. The American Disability Act Amendments Act of 2008.

As it stands now courts federal and state have held that obesity is a ‘physical characteristic that had to stem from an underlying physiological disorder to be considered an impairment under the ADA’.

A lower court found that obesity didn’t, on its own, qualify as impairment, and dismissed an employee who functioned as a bus driver.

Organizations including AARP are supporting the employee’s case that has as of this posting no schedule for Oral Argument and there is no timetable for a decision

Stay tuned!



The Brain -Use it or Lose It!

Every day even in your routine you should strive to maintain mental flexibility and brain fitness. Autopilot kicks in when we go thru our routine of brushing teeth getting dressed leaving the house -all predictable tasks.

Just like physical exercise for muscles, you lose it if you do not do it, memory loss with age can occur when not stimulated with mental exercise. Brain muscles need to be flexed, so perform different activities exercise your brain meeting new people talking on new topics

A set of brain exercises (created by Lawrence Katz, Ph.D., a neurobiology professor at Duke University Medical School in Durham, N.C.), ‘neurobics‘ challenge our brains abilities. “Presenting the brain with nonroutine or unexpected experiences using combinations of your physical senses—vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing—keeps your thinking and perception active and growing,” -Dr. Katz.

Like creating and laying down a new track in the brain’s wiring allows for a quicker brain.

Brain exercises can be quick and simple. Having someone clean your area, or find something you misplaced robs you of the brain’s benefits of that task. Even using the mouse with your non-dominant hand!

Below are common actions that alone may not stave off dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but will ‘exercise’ your brain

These are a few suggestions, as easy brain exercises no matter your age: (from ‘Veterans Today’)

  • Use your non-dominant hand to write, brush your teeth, eat or dial the phone.
  • Wear earplugs when doing simple, routine tasks to strengthen your other senses.
  • When using the elevator, learn the Braille numbers.
  • Eat lunch with someone you don’t normally spend time with.
  • Take a different route to work.
  • Learn basic sign language.
  • Engage in a brain-challenging game like Sudoku or a crossword puzzle.



Message From Doc Handal

DocHandal shares symptoms, diagnosis and treatment essentials. The what if, what to do descriptions can save you from a preventable disease chronic disease.

Health is always on our minds. I have learned so much over the years from my patients. I continue to be a physician with a passion for sharing knowledge and experiences. Some are rules that will make you realize that our bodies speak to us – we must listen! There are lessons you should not have to learn the hard way. There are rules that unless followed your body will revolt.

The information on my website builds while respecting the individual’s intelligence to pay attention and recognize their bodies’ need.

Sleep and Safe Driving

Data from the National Sleep Foundation show 60% of US adults have driven while drowsy and around 33% have actually fallen asleep at the wheel.

Being awake is NOT the same as being alert!

Everyone knows the lack of sleep affects brain function, it, therefore, follows driving with minimal sleep will increase crash risk. Published in Sleep, researchers have quantified the relationship sleep deprivation and car crash risk. The following was concluded:

  • Less than 4 hours of sleep is like driving intoxicated (BAC .12g/dL). In the US, driving with a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher is illegal.
  • Less than 4 hours of sleep increases crash risk 15.1 fold
  • Less than 5 hours of sleep increases crash risk 2.1
  • Driving for 3 hours or longer without a break was also found to be at increased risk.
  • Shift changes (disruption in the body’s internal clock) combined with sleep deprivation, increase one’s risk of  a crash


You may not always need a cup of coffee you may just need a nap.

Milk Allergy

The most common food allergy for US children under 5 is milk! A prevalence of 1.9%, which is important to know! Of concern, I would say yes, so many foodstuffs contain milk or milk byproduct.

Milk is strongly encouraged in the first 8 years of life in our culture so it is important to know if a child develops or has a milk allergy. Allergy can start out with colic or eczema and go to a full-blown allergic anaphylactic reaction with the airway closing off from swelling.

Some parents and doctors do not recognize the subtle beginnings in a child. While it can be ‘outgrown’ in some it is not but rather escalates.

Testing for IgE to alert to food allergies in even teen children having issues with milk products is a simple blood test.

Only 1 in 4 children with this allergy carries an epinephrine pen. Goes to ounce prevention -these individuals should carry epinephrine pens!


Carbohydrate Intake and Mortality

According to The Lancet Public Health, your odds of dying are higher if you switch carbohydrates for animal-derived fat or protein but longevity odds increased with the switch to plant-based protein.

Those who get 50-55% of their daily energy from carbohydrate saw a low risk of mortality.

A ‘U’ shaped curve was identified indicating that too little or too much carbohydrate affected mortality negatively. If less than 40% or more than 70% of your daily energy comes from carbohydrates in your diet you are at risk.

The study followed over 432,000 US adults age 45-64 over 25 years.

Bottom Line – measure, check not too much or too little and live longer and healthier.

Learn CPR at Airport

courtesy of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc.

Thanks to CPR kiosks at some airports you can in 4 minutes learn ‘Hands-only CPR’.

After evaluating different ways of teaching CPR: a kiosk session with a manikin, a class with a facilitator and a video-only session it was realized a 4 min session is as effective as a 30 min. CPR class.


You should look for these free kiosks in over 30 high traffic airports next flight.

Every year, more than 359,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital and more than 20 percent occur in public places like airports, casinos, and sporting facilities.

Sadly 90 percent of people who have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die before medical help arrives – that’s where we all come in as ‘bystanders’, performing Hands only chest compressions can make a difference.

One kiosk alone at Dallas Terminal C, gate 7 has trained over 25,000 people!



Flu Truths

Yes, flu season (Influenza) started already but it peaks from after Thanksgiving to March, so please have a read.

Need to heed the following, if you do not want the join the roughly 5 million Americans who get the flu. You definitely do not want to be the one of the 49,000 that dies for it and complications from it!

I act as if everyone I meet could have the flu. Why well before you ‘come down’ with most illness including the ‘flu’ you are contagious spreading that is ‘shedding’ in medical speaks. Even more concerning after you ‘come down’ -have it – you are shedding the ‘flu’ virus for days -actually up to a week.

A bit of clarification so we are all on the same page:

a ‘stomach flu’ that is nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea along with cramps- IS NOT the flu for which you should have gotten a ‘shot’ for. Different viruses families and maybe even a bacteria like Salmonella cause ‘stomach flu = gastroenteritis.

There are 3 families of influenza virus:

Type A – infects other animals – birds, pigs horses

Type B – infects humans

Type C – a mild virus minimal or no symptoms

(Do not equate this type C with type C Hepatitis virus)


Be smart always but especially flu season

Weight Yourself To Lose Weight

NEWS:  More you check your weight more you lose, but are you surprised?

Frequent and regular checking your weight can increase your awareness of habits and how actions affect your body weight.

“You are what you eat’! Self-monitoring frequently prompts you to change behaviors and can increase odds of weight loss and control.

Daily weighing may help with weight loss goals according to study authors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. They studied over 1000 adults (avg. age 47)and found that those weighed themselves daily lost weight while those who did so only weekly did not. Note smartphone apps monitored the wi-fi or Bluetooth enabled scales.

Please be smart weight yourself daily at the same time, as a heavy meal under or overhydration or even bowel movements will cause a few pounds swing.