Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Channel 4 news report on Alzheimer's

Communicating science and unpalatable subjects is something that we often have to undertake in farming. So I am always on the look out to see how journalists communicate tough stories. Once such report was run on Channel 4 News last night. It was about a community of people in Columbia. Many of this isolated community has inherited a gene for early onset Alzheimer's.

In an attempt to better understand, test and treat the disease (before onset and after it is established) this community is going to be engaged in a long term research project.

The report explored all sorts of moral, ethical and emotional issues such as who carries the gene, how will it manifest itself, the impact on families, communities as well as how the research will be conducted. One of the 'no go' areas that was handled really well was that the researchers have established and are studying a 'brain bank' of donated brains from deceased sufferers. There was footage of these brains being dissected and examined... all for science. What was even explained was one of the doctors was examining the brain of a patient he knew.

I thought the report was spot on in reasoning the scientific need with human tragedy. Well done Tom Clarke - very eloquently delivered. See: http://www.channel4.com/news/the-remote-hope-for-preventing-alzheimers

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