How Much Sleep?

Recent research suggests we totally rethink our ‘proper’ sleep times. Listen Up to DocHandal’s latest podcast there is surprising information, including more is not always better!

ER Visitors

Health care settings are not social venues; this is especially true for an emergency room (ER).

Recently a dear friend’s elderly mother was rushed to the ER with high blood pressure 220/120 from her cardiologist’s office where she had been undergoing a heart stress test. I drove to the ER when I heard as a ‘physician’ friend to advocate on her behalf, something no family member could do. After all, as an ER doc talking to her ER doc flow may be different.

What this post focuses on is who and when is it appropriate to ‘visit’ a patient who is in the ER.

Anyone having a medical crisis does not need to be entertained, distracted or be ‘putting’ out to whoever wants to visit. We go to the ER for quick medical attention, not anyone else’s attention. Quiet rest and interaction with those who can help are important. Medical staff can focus on the patient not walk around and repeat the status to a parade of ‘visitors’.

If you do not have a doctor friend I suggest one person should be agreed upon to be the designated spokesperson to the staff as well as on the patient’s behalf.

Please limit ‘company’ for ER patients. The designated visitor can contact those interested with the patient’s status wither they are reached by phone or out in the waiting area.

Considering this can help both the patient and staff.


Blockchain Technology and Drugs

Quite a few of us 7 in 10 Americans take prescription drugs. Ten percent of these prescribed are tainted and unsafe. The counterfeit drug industry amounts to $217 billion worldwide. No surprise given over a dozen hands change before you pick up your prescription.

In recent weeks antihypertensive Valsartan (antihypertensive) generic was found to have a carcinogen contaminate. A few days later the FDA announced a recall of thyroid tablets (levothyroxine and liothyronine)  for adulteration.

Everyone is familiar with the term ‘blockchain’ introduced with rising of cryptocurrency but this turbocharged accounting system is perfect for monitoring a drug supply chain. Blockchain software allows for an encrypted, record that stores all transactions data and monitors each access point. Blockchain means transparency, multiple computers can trace any product using blockchain.  Time is needed to fix all the fraud but security in the prescription drug supply chain is coming.

Meat Nitrates & Mania

Diets high in nitrates put one at a higher risk for experiencing a manic episode, according to new research. This was found for both subjects that had and did not have past psychiatric issues.

Three types of meat were found to significantly increase the odds of having a manic episode. The dry cured meat was implicated such as meat sticks and beef and turkey jerky. Eating cured meats prepared through dehydration, such as prosciutto and salami, were not associated with mania. Also observed was that undercooked fish or meat did not increase the risk of mania.

This is worth noting especially for those with psychiatric problems.


Bandage of the Future

The future in wound care is almost here! 

A bandage that wirelessly monitors healing, recognizing infection, and carries medication to release should there be a problem with healing.

“This is a way to deliver medicine more effectively,” Dr. Sameer R. Sonkusale and the Nano Lab at Tufts University team had their results in the July 6 Journal – Small.

Part disposable, part reusable this bandage still in lab testing responds to adjusting the temperature to trigger antibiotic release. A ‘drug’ antibiotic patch is capable of destroying growing wound bacteria.

Fewer bandage changes (they can be painful) and less frequent medical office visits a win-win for patients and medical staff.

Next, the bandage goes from the lab to the animals before applying to us.

This study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and others.



The number 1 mood disorder in the US is depression also it is no. 1 cause for missing work, cause for suicide. Specialists believe only 50% of people respond to medication, unsure whether it is the many side effects or long-term compliance.

Our bodies produce many chemicals that can effect our nervous system and even our mental state. Depression is long been attributed and found conclusively to be caused by a decrease of a naturally produced neural transmitter chemical – ‘acetyl-L-carnitine. Recognized in the past that this over the counter substance, an amino acid, has an anti-aging effect. Stanford Univ. researchers found low levels of this substance in people diagnosed with depression. Published July 30th in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences‘ an animal study showed improvement when given this supplement

Recognizing Stress

Stress is well worth noting. When anyone is stressed or even approaching a stress level it is time to be concerned. Once a person reaches a  full-blown crisis, your intervention and safety are almost always out the window. A professional is now necessary. Let Doc Handal, in this podcast, share a few easy to pick up tells of mounting stress in yourself and others. Stress effects more than our social world it goes to altering the state of our health.


New Drugs for Alzheimer’s

Published in July issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, research suggests that the inexpensive, old and common medication – aspirin can protect the brain from dementia.

There are approx. 5.7 million Americans living with dementia. Alzheimer’s is one of the worst forms of dementia, which affects 1 in 10 folks over 65. Few drugs exist and those approved show limited to poor effect. The medical premise is that amyloid protein clumps settle in the brain as plaques.

Studies in mice showed aspirin reduced the risk of plaques. The more needed research will follow to arrive at ‘low dose’ for humans.

On July 6th,  pharmaceutical company Biogen stock went up 19% as a result of announcing that experimental drug, BAN2401 which did nothing in 800 patients after 1 year but showed some improvement after 18 months. It will take time to be available as further study is needed.

Curious timing, I think!



News in Health Research

Video Game addiction is now an officially mental Health Disorder !

The World Health Organization made this determination public so as this mental health disorder be recognized and diagnosed as a disease.

Officially describes the addiction to digital and video gaming as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” that becomes so extensive that it “takes precedence over other life interests. Sounds like an addiction to me!


Your Heart & Lead Exposure

Cardiologists do not recognize a low-level lead exposure as an important risk factor for heart disease and death from it.


Age & Exercise

Older adults (average age 73) who exercise one hour 3 times a week had improved cognitive function wither their brain had or did not have signs of decreasing function. Exercise no matter the type mind-body, aerobic, yoga, tai-chi, strength training is critical for good health no matter your age.


‘Precision Dietetics’

Researchers from Texas say your genes may determine to wither or not a specific diet will work. One diet does not fit all! Testing mice (have the similar genetic makeup to human) they used 4 different diets. The American (high in fats and refined carbs), Mediterranean, Japanese, and the ketogenic diet -each had varying results even the same diet in different mice. So is it ‘all in your GENES’?