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Health Highlights: May 20, 2010

Many Women Avoid Follow-Up Eye Care: CDCWHO Targets Beer, Liquor Ads Aimed at Youths WalMart's Miley Cyrus Jewelry Contains Cadmium: Report

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Many Women Avoid Follow-Up Eye Care: CDC

Women are more likely to have vision loss than men, but many women fail to schedule recommended visits with eye doctors, according to the May 20 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC assessed the use of professional eye care among women over 40 years old who reported they had been diagnosed with a major eye disease, such as glaucoma. The researchers used data for 19 states from the 2006-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

They found that 21 percent of women with diabetic retinopathy, 12 percent of the glaucoma patients, and 8 percent of those with age-related macular degeneration did not see an eye-care professional during the recommended follow-up period. Close to half said they were deterred by the cost or lack of insurance, while about a quarter said they saw no reason for a visit.


WHO Targets Beer, Liquor Ads Aimed at Youths

Beer and liquor companies that market alcohol to underage drinkers on social media networks such as Facebook are coming under fire from the World Health Organization.

Warning that alcohol is being "marketed through increasingly sophisticated advertising and promotion techniques," the WHO endorsed a strategy Thursday opposing advertising aimed at youths and encouraging taxes on alcoholic beverages, the Associated Press reported.

The online presence of liquor makers and brewers is booming, the report noted. Absolut vodka and Smirnoff Ice have nearly 500,000 Facebook fans each, and Heineken boasts 400,000 users who "like" the beer, the AP said.

Each year, alcohol causes 2.5 million deaths worldwide, including 320,000 deaths of people under the age of 30, WHO says. A 21-year-old man died in France last week at a booze bash publicized on Facebook and attended by 10,000 young people.

While not a legislative document, the WHO report will alert the powerful liquor industry that countries are ready to collaborate on developing tougher international laws, the AP said.

The Global Alcohol Producers Group, which represents Heineken, Anheuser-Busch and others, called WHO's effort an "important and constructive step forward in helping address alcohol issues around the world."


WalMart's Miley Cyrus Jewelry Contains Cadmium: Report

Walmart's Miley Cyrus bracelets and necklaces contain high levels of the toxic metal cadmium, tests performed for the Associated Press revealed.

Testing of 61 samples from the Miley Cyrus collection and a line of bracelet charms found that 59 pieces contained between 5 percent and 10 percent cadmium by weight, the news agency said.

The chain, which was notified of the test results in February, last month said that it has begun requiring suppliers to prove that little cadmium is in their products or Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would reject them, the AP said. Testing products already in stores would not be feasible, Wal-Mart reportedly stated.

The Miley Cyrus pieces are aimed at "juniors," Wal-Mart told the AP.

Health concerns arise when kids put the jewelry in their mouths. Cadmium, a carcinogen, has been linked to kidney failure and bone softening, and some research suggests it may interfere with brain development in young children.

The importer of the bracelet charms, Cousin Corp. of America, said one of the Chinese factories it relies on has stopped using cadmium. "Our intention as a company is to never willingly cause harm to a child," Roy Gudgeon, vice president of merchandise at Florida-based Cousin, told the AP.

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