Alzheimer’s media coverage is growing, but it’s mostly too general

I snapped out of my Saturday morning sluggishness this past weekend when I picked up the latest issue of Time. Staring out from the magazine’s cover was an image of an attractive older woman, half of her face a blur, over which bold black letters simply pronounced: “Alzheimer’s.”

Like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease is one of those hot button topics that incite fear and anxiety in just about everyone. And as baby boomers hurtle toward senior citizenship, that level of fear and anxiety will skyrocket as our nation faces a crisis of caregiving along with the anticipated spike in cases.

The mainstream media recently has paid more attention to this growing scourge. But are they covering it correctly, and deeply enough? The Time article presented the latest statistics on the scope of disease and research findings, together with the requisite personal accounts, but failed, I believe, to create a call to action. Time, like The New York Times, in another recent article on the subject, missed a more compelling angle that Jean Carper expertly analyzed in her article, “What’s Going on with Alzheimer’s Coverage in the Media?” which appeared on September 3 at The Huffington Post. Carper drills down to examine the conflict among Alzheimer’s researchers and organizations over last spring’s findings by the National Institutes of Health that there was not enough reliable evidence to recommend ways to prevent the disease and that more research was needed.

The growing coverage of Alzheimer’s disease by the mainstream media is encouraging. I look forward to deeper and more analytical coverage like Carper’s.

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