Health Highlights: May 1, 2008

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

More People Fainting After Vaccinations

Since 2005, there's been a rise in reports of people in the United States fainting after receiving vaccinations, according the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The increase has occurred primarily among adolescent females and, in some cases, patients have suffered significant injuries.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration analyzed the data and identified 463 reports of post-vaccination fainting among people over age five between Jan. 1, 2005 and

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July 31, 2007, compared to 203 reports during 2002-2004.

In some 63.1 percent of the 463 reports during 2005--2007, fainting was associated with at least one of the following recently approved and recommended adolescent vaccines: MCV4, Tdap, and HPV.

The findings appear in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC.

The study authors said fainting-related injuries could be prevented if vaccine providers follow the recommended 15-minute post-vaccination observation and waiting period.


House Passes Genetic Anti-Discrimination Bill

A bill to protect people from discrimination based on their genetic information was approved by the House Thursday in a 414-1 vote. Last week, the Senate passed the legislation 95-0. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill would forbid companies from using genetic information to make hiring, firing or promotion decisions, and would prohibit insurers from using genetic information to set premiums or determine enrollment eligibility, the Associated Press reported.

The only member of Congress who voted against the bill was Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Proponents say the legislation will help ease people's fears about having genetic testing to determine if they're at increased risk for a wide range of hereditary diseases.


Pittsburgh Sootiest U.S. City: Report

Pittsburgh is the first city outside of California to be named the sootiest in the nation, but Los Angeles is still the all-around air pollution leader, says an American Lung Association annual report released Thursday.

Soot, or short-term particle pollution, is one of three air pollution categories looked at by the association. Los Angeles has long been the leader in soot and smog levels, but tough new pollution laws have led to a significant drop in L.A.'s soot levels.

"It's not that Pittsburgh has gotten worse, it's that Los Angeles has gotten better. If the trend continues, Pittsburgh will top two lists, and L.A. will only be leading the nation in ozone," Janice Nolen, the association's assistant vice president of national policy and advocacy, told the Associated Press.

The eight metropolitan areas with the worst overall air pollution were: Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia-Porterfield, and Hanford-Corcoran, all in California; Washington-Baltimore; St. Louis; and Birmingham, Ala.

Fargo, N.D. and Salina, Calif. had the cleanest air in areas evaluated, the AP reported.


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