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Article

Medical Records

When a patient receives medical treatment or other health care, there is normally a legal and ethical obligation on the health-care provider (as well as the health-care facility, such as a hospital) to keep a detailed written record of the patient's treatment.

Article

Women and Health

If life expectancy is any indication of health, Canadian women are, on average, much healthier than they were 70 years ago. The life expectancy of female babies born in 1921 was 61 while female babies born today are expected to live to age 82.

Article

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the manipulation of the spinal column as a means of curing disease. The word comes from the Greek chiro ("hands") and practic ("to practice"). The theory of chiropractic originated with D.D. Palmer, who was born in Port Perry (Ontario) in 1845.

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Death

For centuries the law has accepted the cessation of heartbeat and respiration as the determination of death, but now the heart can be removed, the breathing stopped and blood pumped by machines without preventing the individual's resumption of lucid consciousness.

Macleans

Mice Cloned

It was a humble setting for an epochal scientific breakthrough - a nondescript two-storey building tucked away on the sprawling University of Hawaii campus overlooking Honolulu's Waikiki district.

Macleans

The Spread of SARS

IT WAS NOT what health-care officials had hoped for, to say the least. Only a week earlier, one of Health Canada's leading authorities on infectious diseases had speculated that SARS - severe acute respiratory syndrome - might actually be "easy to control.

Macleans

West Nile Virus Precautions

THEY'LL SOON be here, riding the warm currents of summer: MOSQUITOES armed with the latest bioweapon - the West Nile VIRUS. Short of building a concrete bunker or setting up an unhealthy fog of repellent spray, there are ways of safeguarding the pasty flesh of Canuckus winterus.

Article

Medicinal Crops

About a third of the world's estimated 400 000 species of higher or vascular plants have probably been used for medicinal purposes by indigenous societies, generally in a raw or minimally processed form.

Article

Gerontology

Gerontology is the scientific study of AGING and its consequences including psychological, biological, and social changes confronting individuals, the social and economic issues created by growing numbers of older people in a population, and the opportunities older age brings with it.

Article

Tommy Douglas and Eugenics

Tommy Douglas — the father of socialized medicine in Canada and one of the country’s most beloved figures — once supported eugenic policies. In 1933, he received a Master of Arts in sociology from McMaster University for his thesis, “The Problems of the Subnormal Family.” In the thesis, Douglas recommended several eugenic policies, including the sterilization of “mental defectives and those incurably diseased.” His ideas were not unique, as two Canadian provinces (and 32 American states) passed sexual-sterilization legislation in the 1920s and 1930s. However, by the time Douglas became premier of Saskatchewan in 1944, he had abandoned his support for eugenic policies. When Douglas received two reports that recommended legalizing sexual sterilization in the province, he rejected the idea.

Article

Sterilization of Indigenous Women in Canada

The practice of sterilization arose out of the eugenics movement and has a long, often hidden history in Canada. Sterilization legislation in Alberta (1928–72) and British Columbia (1933–73) attempted to limit the reproduction of “unfit” persons, and increasingly targeted Indigenous women. Coerced sterilization of Indigenous women took place both within and outside existing legislation, and in federally operated Indian hospitals. The practice has continued into the 21st century. Approximately 100 Indigenous women have alleged that they were pressured to consent to sterilization between the 1970s and 2018, often while in the vulnerable state of pregnancy or childbirth.

Article

Wildlife Preserve

A wildlife preserve is an area of land or water set aside from at least some forms of development or recreational use, particularly from industrial use, hunting and motorized recreation, to protect wildlife and their habitats.

Article

Smallpox in Canada

Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by the variola virus. The disease arrived in what is now Canada with French settlers in the early 17th century. Indigenous people had no immunity to smallpox, resulting in devastating infection and death rates. In 1768, arm-to-arm inoculation became more widely practised in North America. By 1800, advances in vaccination helped control the spread of smallpox. Public health efforts also reduced rates of infection. In the 20th century, Canadian scientists helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox. Eradication was achieved in 1979, but virus stocks still exist for research and safety reasons.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

Article

Influenza (Flu) in Canada

Influenza, often referred to as the flu, is a common, contagious respiratory illness. There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D. While influenza A, B and C viruses can infect humans, influenza D is believed to primarily affect animals such as cattle and pigs. Influenza C is rare in comparison to influenza A and B, which are the main sources of the “seasonal flu,” or the viruses that circulate in Canada and other countries each winter. Influenza A is also the source of flu pandemics. Canada has experienced five influenza pandemics since the late 19th century, in 1890, 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. In Canada, influenza causes an estimated 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year.

Article

Cholera in Canada

Cholera first reached Canada in 1832, brought by immigrants from Britain. Epidemics occurred in 1832, 1834, 1849, 1851, 1852 and 1854. There were cases in Halifax in 1881. The epidemics killed at least 20 000 people in Canada.

Article

H1N1 Flu of 2009 in Canada

From April to December 2009, Canada experienced an outbreak of influenza A (H1N1). The virus began in North America and spread to many other countries in a global pandemic. This new type of flu differed from the typical seasonal flu, and its effects were more severe. Worldwide, more than 18,000 people are confirmed to have died of H1N1, including 428 Canadians. Estimates based on statistical models have put global deaths much higher. Totals may have been in the hundreds of thousands. The H1N1 pandemic tested Canada’s improvements to its public health system after the SARS outbreak of 2003. On the whole, it revealed a more efficient, coordinated response.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.