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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

All about Alzheimer’s

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 20 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2062
  1. Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International and associate editor, BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}

    HBO takes on Alzheimer’s disease with masterful portraits of patients and their caregivers. But Douglas Kamerow asks if they are overpromising scientific progress

    Following in the footsteps of their wildly successful 2007 series on addiction (BMJ 2007;334:697), HBO have now taken on Alzheimer’s disease. With the goal of “bringing a new understanding” of the disease, HBO partnered with the US National Institutes of Health and several foundations to create a multimedia, cross platform blockbuster. Four documentary films are in continuous rotation on HBO’s many channels and are viewable without charge on their website. Fifteen supplementary mini-documentaries on specific aspects of Alzheimer’s disease are also being web streamed. DVDs of all of this are for sale, of course, as is a book based on the series. The project also includes a “robust” website, with lots of videos and links. And for social media fans who want to get in on the act, there is a Facebook wall where you can post your own tributes and thoughts for all to read and react to. It is an impressive package.

    Three of the documentaries …

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