Health Buzz: Calorie Counts in NYC and Other Health News

Recent news on Alzheimer's, bad grades for healthcare, and victims of domestic violence can be men.

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NYC Restaurants Post Calorie Information

Chain restaurants in New York City on Friday began posting calorie information on prominently located menu boards, the Associated Press reports. Burger King and McDonald's were among the list of chains that posted the new menu boards, which include calorie details previously available online and on tray liners. Legal action had delayed enforcement of the calorie-posting rule, which went into effect in May. Since Saturday, any chains affected by the rule will face fines of up to $2,000 per store if they fail to post calorie information.

In May, Katherine Hobson explored six ways restaurants can market good health.

Mixed News on Alzheimer’s Disease

A special issue of The Lancet devoted to dementia offers both promising and disappointing news on Alzheimer's disease. In one study published in the journal, a medication called Dimebon, previously used as an antihistamine, significantly improved Alzheimer's symptoms in a group of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. But in a second study of 80 patients, a once promising experimental vaccine did not prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

In 2004, Nancy Shute detailed scientists' efforts to halt Alzheimers disease. U.S. News reported earlier this year that belly fat is linked to dementia risk. Read more about dementia and Alzheimer's at the U.S. News Brain & Behavior Center.

More Bad Grades for U.S. Healthcare

A performance score card released last week by the Commonwealth Fund found several areas of U.S. healthcare in need of improvement, Michelle Andrews reports. Access to care, for example, earned a score of 58 out of 100 in 2008, nearly 10 points lower than when the first national score card was released in 2006. That's in part because last year, 42 percent of adults—some 75 million people—were either uninsured or underinsured, the report found, compared with 35 percent in 2003. Overall, the country scored a 65, down slightly from 67 in 2006, based on indicators in five areas: healthcare outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity.

In January, Andrews reported that the United States is not so good at preventing premature death.

Men Are Victims of Domestic Violence, Too

The spate of recent knife crime in Great Britain had On Men columnist Adam Voiland wondering about similar U.S. stats. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, knives were used in 14 percent of the homicides that occurred in 2005 (the most recent year for which data were posted). Handguns were used in about 55 percent. No surprises there.

But an online search for information about knife violence would keep turning up sites about domestic violence against men. This post from the website, for example, kept appearing, making the case that domestic violence against men—which not infrequently involves knives—is often overlooked. About 835,000 men are physically assaulted or raped by their intimate partners each year, according to a study published in 2007 and authored by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number could quite possibly be even larger, since it's thought that many men don't report domestic abuse.

In April, Deborah Kotz explained that domestic violence is linked to poor health years later.

—January W. Payne