30 years of Achievement in Health Research

  • In 1976...

    Although German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer first described a brain disease with abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) as early as 1901, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was still virtually unknown in 1976.

    “Medical textbooks rarely dedicated more than one paragraph to describing it back then,” says Dr. Peter St....

  • In 1976...

    On average, women with breast cancer in 1976 had only a 45% to 50% chance of survival over the next 5 years. Now, individual patients have an impressive 80% to 85% chance of an actual cure, according to Dr. Mark Clemens, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

    Three decades ago, only two forms of breast cancer were recognized:...

  • In 1976...

    Compared to today, what was known about colon cancer in 1976 is almost as stark as the contrast between night and day. “Given what we know now, I’d say our knowledge in the 1970s was relatively primitive, as were our treatments,” said Dr. Malcolm Moore, head of medical oncology at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital.

    The story of screening, diagnosis...

  • In 1976…

    The median age of survival for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) was 22.6 years – a tremendous improvement from just a decade earlier when children with CF usually did not live to attend elementary school.

    “During the 1970s, we began advising CF patients to eat high-fat, high-calorie diets and to take enzymes to aid in digestion,” says Dr. Yves...

  • In 1976…

    Having been attributed to everything from bile imbalances by the ancient Greeks, to a lack of meaning in one’s life by 20th century Freudian psychoanalytics, the term “Major Depressive Disorder” was officially in circulation by 1976. The ‘new’ moniker described a cluster of symptoms for which numerous biological, psychological and social causes and treatments...

  • In 1976…

    In the 1970s, diabetes was a chronic disease that affected a small portion of Canada’s population. People with diabetes had poorly controlled disease and limited treatment options.

    A small number of medications kept Type 2 diabetes in check, and people with Type 1 diabetes had to use syringes to inject their insulin. The quality of insulin wasn’t as...

  • In 1976…

    The cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a common, severe form of muscle-wasting disease, was not understood 30 years ago. Young boys diagnosed with DMD, which affects one in 3,500, were fated to gradually lose the ability to walk and to die before they reached their mid-20s. DMD was first described in the 1860s by French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne,...

  • In 1976...

    While perhaps difficult to believe from a contemporary perspective, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the virus that causes it, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), were unheard of in 1976.

    “In order to diagnose HIV we had to have a virus,” explains Dr. Mark Wainberg, Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre and former President of the...

  • In 1976...

    Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), were thought to be autoimmune diseases. The fact that a genetic component existed was only recognized in the mid-1970s, and the influence of both genetics and environment in IBD was not understood until about 20 years ago.

    The different forms of IBD were...

  • In 1976…

    Thirty years ago, a number of the basics were understood about childhood leukemia. The various forms of the disease were recognized and some of the key treatments to treat it were already in use. But, up until the early 1970s, overall cure rates and survival among children with leukemia were ‘abysmal’, according to Dr. David Mitchell, assistant professor of...

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