An Alberta woman recently won a lawsuit against the government of Alberta for wrongful sterilization that took place when she was a 14-year-old ward at the Provincial Training School for Mental Defectives. It was the first time the province has been held accountable for actions taken under the Sexual Sterilization Act, a 1927 law that promoted the theory of eugenics and led to the sterilization of more than 2800 people. It has since been repealed. A physician who served on the province's Eugenics Board said the decisions were based on the best scientific advice and medical techniques available at the time. Today, she added, eugenics is being practised in a different way through prenatal diagnosis and therapeutic abortion.
Canada has one of the world's lowest rates of tuberculosis infection, but that doesn't mean the disease poses no threat here. TB represents a growing problem in prisons and among Canadians of native and Asian descent. Patients with active TB can be misdiagnosed because few physicians ever see the disease and because the bacillus can infect organs other than the lungs. Frequent screening of at-risk populations and a rigorous course of antibiotics for those who are infected are recommended.
There was much more to this summer's international AIDS conference in Vancouver than reports by researchers. Richard Cairney says the $15-million conference attracted a mix of activists, demonstrators, physicians and business representatives, and they coexisted somewhat uneasily.
An Alberta researcher has developed tests that determine whether a senior citizen with cognitive impairment is fit to drive. The issue is important to the medical profession because these drivers sometimes cause accidents and physicians often have to decide whether they should still be allowed to get behind the wheel.