Health Highlights: March 22, 2008

When older adults are looking for a new vehicle, they should consider features such as a thicker steering wheel, wide-angle mirrors, large dashboard controls, and six-way adjustable seats, according to the AAA (American Automobile Association) and the Florida National Older Driver Research and Training Center.

The Smart Features for Mature Drivers program recommendations -- meant to address the physical, visual and cognitive changes that affect older drivers -- were announced Friday at the New York International Auto Show.

A recent AAA survey found that 43 percent of drivers over age 55 have at least one of nine common age-related driving difficulties, such as reduced range of motion, arthritic joints, diminished fine motor skills, and trouble with night vision and recovery from glare.

"There are ways to counteract the difficulties brought on by age-related changes so that seniors can maintain their safe driving abilities. One of these is through proper use of particular vehicle features," Dennis McCarthy, co-director of the National Older Driver Research and Training Center and a research assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Public Health, said in a prepared statement.

Other recommendations include keyless entry and ignition and the purchase of four-door models, because the doors require less strength to open and close than those on two-door models.


Toys Recalled for Lead Paint Danger

Two more recalls of Chinese-made toys that violate the U.S. lead paint standard have been announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

One recall involves about 198,000 toy puzzle vehicle sets distributed by Merchant Media Corp. of Framingham, Mass., and sold exclusively by QVC. The 16-piece Puzzle Track Play (also known as Battery Operated Puzzle Vehicle sets) have QVC item number T16876 printed on the exterior of the brown box packaging.

The sets should be taken away from children and returned to QVC for a full refund. For more information contact QVC at 1-800-367-9444, the CPSC said.

The second recall involves about 13,000 Camouflage Easter Egg treat containers and Easter Spinning Egg Tops imported by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. of Oklahoma City, Okla., and sold at Hobby Lobby stores nationwide.

The recalled containers, sold in packages of eight, are white, brown and green camouflage colors and have Item # 1031 printed on the front of the packaging. The UPC code number 43078 01031 is printed on the back of the packaging.

The Easter Spinning Egg Tops were sold in packages of a single egg and a rip cord. Item # 1054 is printed on the front of the packaging and the UPC code number 43078 01054 is printed on the back of the packaging.

The camouflage egg containers sold for about $2.50 and the spinning egg tops sold for about $2. Consumers should take these toys away from children and contact Hobby Lobby to receive a $3 exchange card.


Health Canada Issues Advisory About Carbamazepine

Reports of serious skin reactions in people of Asian ancestry have prompted Health Canada to issue an advisory about the drug carbamazepine, commonly used to treat epilepsy, mania, bipolar disorder and the facial disorder trigeminal neuralgia, CBC News reported.

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