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Roger Collier | CMAJ | Jan. 20, 2017

  • Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories signed bilateral health-funding deals with the federal government, joining Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. The premiers of the provinces that haven’t signed deals reiterated their commitment to brokering a national agreement.
  • The Wapekeka First Nation will receive federal suicide-prevention funding, following the deaths by suicide of two preteen girls in early January. But leaders from the northern Ontario community said they requested the funding in July after learning of a suicide pact among several children.
  • A third of adults diagnosed with asthma by physicians within the past five years did not in fact have an active form of the disease, found a Canadian study of randomly selected adults published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers estimate that in 20% of those cases the disease had gone into remission and the rest were misdiagnoses.
  • Canadians in the 15-24 age range have the highest rates of mood and anxiety disorders; about 11% had depression in their lifetimes and 7% within the past year, according to a new Statistics Canada report based on a 2012 survey. Of those with depression, 61% had sought professional help during their lifetimes.
  • A growing number of hospitals in Canada are doing away with restricted visiting hours for family members of patients, reported the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. According to the foundation, research indicates that increased family presence reduces medication errors, readmissions and lengths of stay, among other benefits.

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  • The illicit-drug overdose crisis in Canada should be declared a national public-health emergency by the federal government, according to British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake. But Federal Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott said the crisis, though a public health threat, does not meet the requirements set in the federal Emergencies Act.
  • Two medical marijuana producers issued recalls for products found to have traces of banned pesticides. Organigram and Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc. had sold marijuana containing two prohibited chemicals, bifenazate and myclobutanil.
  • The executive committee of the Ontario Medical Association should be removed for poor leadership, according to 25 members of the association’s elected council, reported The Globe and Mail. The group is seeking to ouster the entire leadership team for contributing to “an environment where physicians are routinely marginalized, disrespected, insulted and ignored by the current government.”
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Quebec and half of smokers will die from the habit, according to the Quebec Council of Tobacco and Health. A week-long anti-smoking campaign is underway in the province, which has an estimated 1.4 million smokers.
  • Alberta is experiencing a spike in severe viral respiratory infections, according to Alberta Health Services. As of Jan. 14, there have been more than 2000 confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, compared to about 1300 in all of 2015.


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