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Health Highlights: Feb. 8, 2013

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

Schoolgirl Shot by Taliban Released From Hospital

Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, was released from a British hospital Friday. She was targeted because she was a vocal critic of the group's opposition to girls' education.

She was airlifted to Britain after the Oct. 9 attack and since then has undergone skull reconstruction and received a cochlear implant to restore her hearing. Malala was released for a few weeks in January but was re-admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to undergo the latest surgeries, the Associated Press reported.

Malala will continue her rehabilitation at her family's temporary home in Birmingham. She and her family are expected to remain in the U.K. for some time. Her father has a job at the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham.

Before her latest round of operations, Malala released a video statement in which she said she was "getting better, day by day," and would continue to speak out about girls' education, the AP reported.

"I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated," Malala said in the video. She spoke clearly but the left side of her face appeared rigid.

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Several States Considering Assisted Suicide Bills

Bills to make physician-assisted suicide legal are being considered in a number of states as the issue becomes more prominent due to the growing number of baby boomers facing end-of-life issues.

Proponents say there is strong public support for permitting doctors to prescribe medications to enable terminally ill people who are mentally competent to end their lives, the Associated Press reported.

A number of groups, including the national organization Compassion & Choice, have been working to promote right-to-die laws.

The states considering bills legalizing assisted suicide are Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont. In addition, bills related to the issue are under consideration in Arizona, Montana, New Hampshire and New York, the AP reported.

Right-to-die laws were passed in Oregon and Washington after voter referendums.

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Fewer Girls Undergoing Female Genital Mutilation: Report

Fewer girls in Africa and the Middle East are undergoing female genital mutilation, according to new data released by the United Nations.

In 29 countries in those regions, 36 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 had been subjected to the procedure, compared with about 53 percent of women ages 45 to 49, BBC News reported.

Female genital mutilation typically involves removing the clitoris. It can lead to bleeding, infections and childbirth problems. Last year, 1,775 communities in Africa publicly declared their commitment to end the practice.

The new figures show that it is possible to end female genital mutilation, Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director, said in a statement, BBC News reported. He said that female genital mutilation is "deeply wrong" and that "we can and must end it to help millions of girls and women lead healthier lives."

The data was released on the international day calling for an end to female genital mutilation.

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