May 30, 1956

LIB

Claude Sartoris Richardson

Liberal

Mr. Claude Richardson (St. Lawrence-St. George):

If I may, on a question of privilege I certainly deny any laughter.

Topic:   MR. HANNA REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE THIS DAY
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PC

Thomas Miller Bell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bell:

We are narrowing it down,

anyway.

Topic:   MR. HANNA REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE THIS DAY
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

At this moment we should not take the time of the house to try to identify who has or has not at a certain moment of our proceedings been laughing. Has the leader of the house announced the business?

Topic:   MR. HANNA REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE THIS DAY
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I did, sir. I said that this debate would be continued.

Topic:   MR. HANNA REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE THIS DAY
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At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. 4492



Question


ANSWER TO QUESTION


The following answer, deposited with the Clerk of the house, is printed in the official report of debates pursuant to standing order 39:


HEALTH AND WELFARE

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

LIB

Mr. Huffman

Liberal

What has the Department of National Health and Welfare done in the field of scientific research during the past year?

Answer by: Hon. Paul Marlin (Minister of

National Health and Welfare):

The scientific research program of the Department of National Health and Welfare for 1955-56 involved a total of $2,500,000. Of this $570,000 was made available for intramural medical research, $205,000 for socioeconomic research in health and welfare, $1,620,000 for grants under the national health program in aid of medical research and $105,000 for cancer research sponsored by the national cancer institute of Canada.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
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INTRAMURAL PROGRAM


The intramural program encompasses those investigations carried on by the various technical and scientific units of the department and in general is aimed at devising new or improved methods of performing the service functions of these units. It refers particularly to detection and assay work, e.g., that associated with the administration of the Food and Drugs Act, and studies of new techniques such as in the control of biological products or the investigation of occupational hazards. Additionally however it may be aimed at gaining new knowledge of public health importance or related to urgent national health problems of a nature not ordinarily undertaken by a single province, university or research institution, concerning which the department may be looked to for leadership and guidance. Allocations for the intramural research program totalling $570,000 were distributed as follows: civil aviation medicine division $2,500; dental health division $18,000; epidemiology division $31,000; food and drug directorate $112,000; laboratory of hygiene $257,000; nutrition division $35,000; occupational health division $114,200. Throughout the intramural program there is an almost inseparable relationship of research to service function and this makes it difficult to define precisely the proportion of the cost which can properly be designated as research expenditure. In many instances the research is a by-product of the service function. Highlights of the intramural program will illustrate this relationship. Civil Aviation Medicine In civil aviation medicine, for example, the principal study involves the practicability of audiometric screening in so far as hearing requirements of airline transport and commercial pilots are concerned. This is aimed at establishing audiometric records to determine hearing deterioration as a result of flight duties and investigating effects of continued exposure to noise in civil aviation pilots. Additionally presently effective standards in hearing are being evaluated. Information obtained from these studies will be used in formulating new standards to be applied in assessing fitness for civil aviation licences. Dental Health In the field of dental health, investigations are centred chiefly around water fluoridation and topical fluoride therapy. Continuing studies on the dental effects of water fluoridation, studies on the effectiveness and safety of fluoride compounds and the simplification of techniques of administration of topically applied preventive agents, as well as the effectiveness of such applications, make up the main lines of investigation in this field. Epidemiology In the area of epidemiology, an extension of air pollution studies will involve the observation of the effects of air pollutants on a more sensitive population, i.e., persons with cardiac and respiratory disabilities. Continuing studies in infectious diseases will involve the further evaluation of the poliomyelitis vaccination program, as well as the measurement of the protective effect of B.C.G. vaccination against tuberculosis. In addition epidemiologic studies of accidents are being broadened. Food and Drugs In the food and drug directorate research projects are conducted in different sections of the laboratory services with the object of providing modern and exact methods of identifying and assaying food and drug products with the highest degree of precision consistent with economy of time, material and effort. Other projects are carried out to provide the directorate with basic knowledge on the action and effects of various constituents on food and drugs for the protection of public health and the prevention of fraud. Numerous basic disciplines are involved in these studies, including pharmacology, physiology, food and organic chemistry, animal pathology and biometrics. These cover a wide variety of individual investigations including toxic residues in foods and beverages, the assay of various drug products and the stability of therapeutic materials. Laboratory of Hygiene Research in the laboratory of hygiene embraces a broad range of subjects in the fields of bacteriology, biologies control, clinical chemistry, biochemistry, virology and the zoonoses. Staphylococcal infections, coliform bacteria and the salmonella organisms receive particular attention in the bacteriology laboratory. Assay techniques and immunization studies are prominent in the biologies control section, while serodiagnosis and the treponema pallidum immobilization test are under intensive consideration in the clinical chemistry laboratory. Tissue culture, which is so important in the production of poliomyelitis vaccine, and the cultivation of various types of tissues through the development of synthetic media are the principal interests of the biochemistry section, while in virus research the development of safety and potency tests for vaccines against poliomyelitis and new methods for producing stable viral antigens for diagnostic laboratory procedures head the list of research projects. The zoonoses section concentrates its attention upon animal, tick and insect borne diseases, particularly with respect to incidence, serological tests and disease vectors. Nutrition In the nutrition division research involves the evaluation of nutritional status in Canada, health effects of specified foods, increasing the nutritive value of foods served in quantity and the continuation of the project on Canadian average weights and heights. In the preparation of a table of food values, collection of new data is continued in an effort to keep pace with the appearance of new foods offered to consumers. The consideration of chemical additives to foods becomes of increasing importance as food technology develops new products. Occupational Health The research activities of the occupational health division are extremely varied relating chiefly to waste products in industry and injurious and toxic materials which may be encountered. Under the radiation services studies in radioactivity and low level radiochemical research form an important segment of the program with the supervision of radioisotopes and the development of the film monitoring service receiving particular attention. This division also provides a consultant service to federal and provincial agencies on air pollution problems. Research and Statistics The research and statistics division carries on a program of analysis and evaluation of 67509-2851 Question basic information on health and welfare matters, with special reference to their social and economic aspects, prepares reports as required and generally acts in an advisory capacity to senior officers of the department. Research and Statistics Its work is done in close co-operation with other divisions of the department and close liaison is maintained with organizations in Canada and abroad engaged in work of interest to the department. The division took an active part in the planning leading to the recent federal-provincial hospital insurance talks and is engaged in planning and carrying out research in such varied fields as health care, rehabilitation of the disabled, disability pensions and child welfare in addition to studies on health and welfare manpower problems, welfare services, income security and the extent of illness in Canada. In the past the division has taken a prominent part in research leading to the introduction of old age security, old age assistance, disability allowances and the national health program, and in connection with the development of rehabilitation services as well as a variety of other projects with which the department has been concerned.


NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM


The extramural research program consists of grants-in-aid of a wide variety of studies in the health field conducted in universities, hospitals and other research institutions from funds provided under the national health program. This began in 1948 with an amount of $100,000 initially in the public health research grant. Each succeeding year this was increased by a like sum up to a maximum of slightly over $500,000 at which level it now stands. Additionally, allocations from other health grants have been made in support of medical research centred generally in the field for which the grant is specifically designated. During 1955-56 funds devoted to medical research under the national health program grants amounted to almost $1,620,000. The largest single amount was $577,000 under the mental health grant. $505,000 was made available for public health research, $325,000 for research under the general public health grant, $100,000 for tuberculosis control, $70,000 for child and maternal health, and $42,000 under the crippled children's grant. It is not possible to define clearly individual areas of study because of the general overlapping which occurs and the consequent difficulty in categorizing projects. For example, some studies which may be designated



Question as primarily biochemical in content may also have a definite relationship to cardiology or to psychiatry. In broad general categories, however, according to the field of medicine, investigations which could be described as clinical accounted for about 40 per cent of the total funds or some $650,000. In this group those in the fields of cardiology, neurology, geriatrics and internal medicine covered about one-half, while psychiatric and psychological research took up the remainder. Basic studies such as those in biochemistry, pharmacology and therapeutics, pathology and physiology involved more than 23 per cent or $350,000 in allocations and studies in the general field of bacteriology, including virology, B.C.G. and the tubercle bacillus, made up better than 16 per cent of the total or $260,000. Those related to the birth period, infants and children totalled $110,000, while research on administrative aspects, medical economics and epidemiology about equalled that involving the special senses, approximately $50,000. A re-grouping of these studies according to general fields of interest as related to leading causes of mortality and morbidity, shows that of the total program a little more than one-third of the funds or $548,000 are provided in support of research in mental diseases and related topics with an additional amount of $53,000 being made available for studies in neurology. A total of $184,000 has been allocated for studies in tuberculosis, both clinical and bacteriological, including the preventive aspects with B.C.G. vaccine. Research in diseases of the heart and arteries has been assisted in the amount of $172,000, with an additional $111,000 for the purchase of special equipment for cardiovascular centres in Montreal and Toronto. Virus diseases, including poliomyelitis and influenza studies, received support in the amount of $138,000, research in arthritis and rheumatism -some $94,000, conditions affecting the newborn-$79,000 and obstetrical studies an additional $31,000. In respect to diseases of the eye, a total of $68,000 has been provided for clinical services and research, and $22,000 for similar activities in dentistry. Studies in the field of hypersensitivity have been supported with a total of some $47,000, while investigations in administrative aspects of public health, including nursing and environmental hygiene have been allocated in excess of $40,000. To indicate more accurately the accomplishments of the reasearch program, it is necessary to examine the individual research studies and to evaluate these in the light of their achievements in the reduction of mortality and in the alleviation of ill-health and disability. Mental Health Research With a total of 46 individual projects, mental health research covered such studies as fundamental laboratory investigations of fractions of the blood and other body fluids which might be accountable for mental illness, comprehensive exploration of a variety of clinical problems, related to mental illness, and field surveys of social situations and the investigations of children relating to hereditary and environmental factors involved in the development of mental disorders. Also included were psychological studies involving behaviour patterns, motivation and other related factors. The study and improvement of apparatus used in the diagnosis of mental illness, special drugs and advanced surgical procedures which have demonstrated benefit in therapy have received intensive study. In the field of neurology, there were a variety of studies dealing with cellular structure, neurophysiology and biochemical activities in the brain. The metabolism of the brain was given particular attention as was the effect of pharmacologically active substances on this vital tissue. Heart Research As the leading cause of mortality, accounting for one-third of all deaths, disease affecting the heart and blood vessels received most intensive attention in terms of research expenditures and the provision of special equipment. Two cardiac centres have been now established in Montreal and in Toronto with assistance under the national health program. The institute of cardiology at Maisonneuve hospital in the short period of its existence has already distinguished itself and is achieving wide recognition for its activities in the treatment of cardiac conditions and for its research effort. Under the able direction of Dr. Paul David and with such prominent surgeons and research workers as Dr. E. D. Gagnon and Dr. Arthur M. Vineberg associated with it, rapid strides are being made in experimental heart surgery, dealing particularly with coronary artery disease, valvular defects and follow-up studies in patients having received the benefit of such treatment. Dr. Jacques Genest who directs the clinical research department at the Hotel-Dieu Hospital is conducting a study which offers great promise in the solution of problems associated with high blood pressure, while at McGill University in addition to Dr. Vineberg, Drs. Ronald Christie and D. R. Webster have combined their efforts and interest's in the development of -a centre for cardiovascular and respiratory research. * ;> 4495



At the University of Toronto, a similar research and treatment centre has been formed under the eminent leadership of Dr. W. G. Bigelow and, in collaboration with his associates at the several teaching hospitals in Toronto, with Drs. John D. Keith and W. T. Mustard at the hospital for sick children, Dr. G. W. Manning at the University of Western Ontario and other prominent physicians associated with these institutions and Queen's and Ottawa universities a broad program of investigation is going forward in a variety of fields. More particularly coronary artery disease, valvular disorders, hypertension, rheumatic fever and congenital heart afflictions are receiving intensive consideration. Included also is the investigation of apparatus of a highly specialized nature for use in the diagnosis, evaluation and prognosis of cardiovascular disorders. In all, in the province of Ontario, $100,000 annually of national health grant funds are being provided to be combined with funds raised by the Ontario heart foundation for the advancement of research and scientific investigation in this field. In addition to the cardiac centres already established, interest is becoming aroused in the extension of similar facilities for treatment, training and research, ultimately to provide a country-wide development of strategically located centres to bring the benefits of these new therapeutic techniques to the Canadian people. By providing these facilities, the development of additional young surgeons in this field will be stimulated and further research advances encouraged which will, in turn, contribute progressively to the improvement of treatment procedures. On January 16, 1956, the Minister of National Health and Welfare convened a meeting of heart specialists and other authorities in Ottawa to consider the problem of heart disease in Canada and to devise means to deal with it. The conference was called at the behest of the Canadian Heart Association and with the full endorsation of the Canadian Medical Association. It was attended by professional and lay representatives of both heart and medical associations, the college of general practice of Canada, the Quebec heart society, the Ontario heart foundation, the B.C. heart foundation, the national research council and the Canadian life insurance officers association, as well as medical specialists prominent in this field. As a direct outcome of the meeting it was decided to proceed with the establishment of a Canadian heart foundation and a committee of eleven under the chairmanship of Prof. R. F. Farquharson of Toronto was designated to proceed with its establishment, including the granting of a federal charter. 30, 1956 Question Cancer Research Cancer research in Canada comes generally under the supervision of the national cancer institute. Financial support is derived from the national health program, the provinces and the Canadian cancer society. In total, in the nine years of its existence, over $900,000 have been provided for cancer research from the cancer control grant, with an equal amount being obtained from provincial sources. Research of a fundamental nature into the still unrevealed secrets of cancer causation and related problems formed the basis of the program, with fellowships being provided to develop and support research workers in this field. Tuberculosis Research While rapid and impressive strides have been made in all public health aspects of tuberculosis control, there yet remain many problems to be solved before this disease can be considered conquered. Particular attention was given to preventive measures involving the use of B.C.G. vaccine, research on the pathogenesis of the disease, exploration, of improved techniques for the isolation and culture of tubercle bacilli and the study of methods of treatment with special reference to chemotherapeutic drugs. Virus Research Virus research is another field which presents a multitude of challenging problems. Here emphasis was placed on studies in poliomyelitis and influenza. In the former disease, the dramatic advances of the past few years adequately testify to the value of the research effort expended, and it has been possible under the national health program to make contributions in the development and production of poliomyelitis vaccine and to improvement of measures employed for the determination of its safety and effectiveness. Particular reference might be made to the work being carried on by Dr. Andrew J. Rhodes, noted authority in this field, on the antigenic types of virus which are responsible for the occurrence of poliomyelitis in Canada, basic knowledge which is essential in preventive efforts. Both at the Connaught medical research laboratories in Toronto and the institute of microbiology and hygiene in Montreal intensive studies are going forward on the polio virus itself, the improvement of methods for its inactivation and the study of antigenic strains in human beings. A special laboratory diagnostic survey of neurotropic viruses in the Atlantic provinces is being carried on by Dr. C. E. van Rooyen at Dalhousie University.



Question Arthritis and Rheumatism Research Arthritis and rheumatism, the leading cause of physical incapacity and time lost from productive effort, received their share of research attention. The studies are of a fundamental nature relating to causation and the metabolic and biochemical changes which occur in the presence of arthritic involvement. In addition however the influence of hormones on the incidence and prevention of arthritis and specific clinical studies on the effects of A.C.T.H. and cortisone in various forms of the disease are the subject of exhaustive study. Other Research There was in addition a wide variety of topics each of which received merited attention. These included afflictions involving the eye and vision, studies in the field of dentistry, the investigation of phenomena associated with hypersensitivity, or allergic manifestations, and the alleviation of disorders related to pregnancy and the neonatal period. Administrative studies in the epidemiology of certain diseases, in environmental and occupational health, and in the practice of nursing also made up a group which promises most useful findings. Of particular importance at this time is the survey of general practice in Canada being carried on under the auspices of the college of general practice and the school of hygiene at the University of Toronto with the support of funds under the national health program. The outcome of this and related research should contribute invaluable knowledge in the extension and development of health care programs in Canada.



Thursday, May 31, 1956


May 30, 1956