Health & Medicine | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    1890 Flu Pandemic in Canada

    The 1889–90 flu, sometimes called the Russian or Asiatic flu, has been described as the first global influenza pandemic. It spread along modern transportation routes, especially railway networks. Canada experienced outbreaks across the country. While this pandemic was less deadly than the next major flu in 1918, its survivors may have been at greater risk than others during the 1918 pandemic.

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  • Article

    1918 Spanish Flu in Canada

    The most damaging pandemic of influenza — for Canada and the world — was an H1N1 virus that appeared during the First World War. Despite its unknown geographic origins, it is commonly called the Spanish flu. In 1918–19, it killed between 20 and 100 million people, including some 50,000 Canadians.

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  • Article


    Illnesses that this infection can produce include a transient disease, developing within several months of exposure. It is characterized by rash, fever, malaise, joint pains and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes).

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  • Article


    The alarmingly increasing frequency of allergies, affecting over 20% of the population in developed countries, has led to the establishment of a new branch of medicine, that of allergology, which is conceptually closely related to immunology.

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  • Macleans

    Alzheimer's Battle

    At first, the effects are almost imperceptible: a man or woman cannot find keys or forgets the name of a loved one. As Alzheimer's disease continues to destroy nerve cells in the brain, the incidents become more frequent - and more troubling.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on March 13, 2000

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  • Macleans

    Alzheimer's Gene Found

    Frances Hodge was only 47 when Alzheimer's disease began to destroy her brain. The first symptoms appeared in 1975, when her memory began to fail. By the early 1980s, she could no longer talk, and in 1986 she entered a nursing home, where she remained until her death four months ago.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on July 10, 1995

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  • Article

    Anorexia Nervosa

    Anorexia nervosa, misnamed "anorexia" ("loss of appetite"), is a disease that has been on medical records since 1689.

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  • Article

    Antibiotic Resistance in Canada

    Antibiotic (or antimicrobial) resistance developed with the wide distribution of antibiotic medications in the 20th century. Resistance occurs when the medication is no longer capable of killing or preventing the reproduction of bacteria. A major global health challenge, antibiotic resistance makes treating diseases more difficult and expensive, and it results in fewer antibiotics that are effective in managing infectious diseases. Rates of antibiotic-resistant infections are rising in Canada. In hospital settings, infections that resist multiple drugs are also becoming more common. In 2019, an expert panel of the Council of Canadian Academies estimated that resistant infections contributed to more than 14,000 deaths in Canada the previous year. Canadian health agencies, medical professionals and industries are active in multiple efforts to combat this problem. 

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  • Article


    The word "arthritis "comes from the Greek arthron"joint" and itis "inflammation".

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  • Article

    Arthritis Society

    The Arthritis Society is the only registered nonprofit agency in Canada devoted solely to funding and promoting arthritis research, patient care and public education. The Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society, as the society was called until 1977, was founded on 14 October 1947.

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  • Macleans

    Artificial Heart Developed

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on January 25, 1999. Partner content is not updated. Before the end of this year, Ottawa heart surgeon Dr. Wilbert Keon hopes to open the chest of a patient whose heart has reached a state of "terminal failure" and install a shiny plastic-encased object a little larger than a man’s fist.

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  • Macleans

    Artificial Mini-Hearts Developed

    Medicine's holy grail might be whirring away at a lab outside San Francisco, Calif. where, in rows of containers, tiny rotary pumps relentlessly speed a clear liquid solution through a tube.

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  • Article

    Assisted Suicide in Canada

    Assisted suicide is the intentional termination of one’s life, assisted by someone who provides the means or knowledge, or both. (See also Suicide.) Between 1892 and 2016, assisted suicide was illegal in Canada under section 241(b) of the Criminal Code. In 2015, after decades of various legal challenges, the Supreme Court of Canada decided unanimously to allow physician-assisted suicide. In June 2016, the federal government passed the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Act, which established the eligibility criteria and procedural safeguards for medically assisted suicide. In March 2021, new legislation was passed that expanded eligibility for MAID. This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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  • Article


    Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs that is marked by recurring episodes of airway obstruction. It is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions affecting Canadians. Asthma often begins in childhood, but initial onset can occur at any age.

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  • Article

    Avian Influenza in Canada

    Avian influenza, commonly known as “bird flu”, is a contagious viral disease that can affect several species of birds used in food production (e.g., chickens, turkeys), as well as pet birds, wild birds and some mammals (see Poultry Farming). The viruses responsible for the disease can be classified into two categories: high pathogenicity or low pathogenicity. The highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype of the avian influenza virus is transmissible to humans. In Canada, cases of avian influenza must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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