The announcement of the first National Alzheimer’s Plan sparked very heavy coverage in print and online news sources, with at least one story appearing on a national newspaper’s front page. In addition, the story led two of the major nightly broadcasts, with nearly 8 minutes of total coverage. Reporters highlighted positive reaction to the plan from lawmakers, scientists, and experts.
The CBS Evening News (5/15, lead story, 2:50, Pelley) reported, “Good evening, Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured but can it be prevented? Today the government announced a major study to test a prevention drug in just one family. Prevention is almost impossible to measure because scientists can never know which healthy people will develop the disease. But now they have found one family in which nearly everyone develops Alzheimer’s.”
NBC Nightly News (5/15, lead story, 3:15, Williams) reported, “Today the government announced the details of a national plan to confront the affliction that threatens to overwhelm the nation’s health and social services.” Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, was shown saying: “The breakthroughs leading to treatments have been slow in coming. We’ve yet to harness the right formula for drug development. And clinical trial results continue to be disappointing.”
ABC World News (5/15, story 3, 2:20, Sawyer) reported, “A race to save generations now has a deadline — 2025. And the government will spend millions to test treatments.” Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health: “We’ve learned more about this disease in the last couple of years than probably ever before. Now the goal is to take that and translate it into interventions.”
The AP (5/16) reports that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday announced the first National Alzheimer’s Plan that, among other things, includes a new website for families seeking information about dementia and places to get help in their communities. Sebelius said, “What we know is a lot more needs to be done and it needs to be done right now, because people with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones and caregivers need help right now.” National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins “told a meeting of the world’s top Alzheimer’s scientists — gathered to decide the top priorities to help meet that ambitious goal of better treatments, perhaps even ways to stall the disease, by 2025.” For example, the NIH “will spend an extra $50 million on Alzheimer’s research this year, and among the new studies of possible therapies is a nasal spray that sends insulin straight to the brain.”
— “Obama administration unveils timeline to improve Alzheimer’s care,”Associated Press, Detroit Free Press, May 15, 2012.