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Books, Journals, New Media
January 5, 2005


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(1):101-106. doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.102

If you ask elderly patients which disease frightens them the most, chances are Alzheimer dementia will be mentioned almost as often as cancer, stroke, and blindness. Alzheimer disease is a shadowy affliction that dismantles memory and obliterates hope. It affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans. Nearly half the residents of nursing home facilities have a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease or a related dementia. One survey suggests that as many as 10% of Americans have a family member suffering from Alzheimer disease.¹ Despite the magnitude of this illness, novels about Alzheimer disease are a tough sell. Even the physician-author of This Room Is Yours wonders, “Who wants to read downer fiction about a disease not fully understood?” He provides his own bleak answer: “No one.” Obviously his publisher has a different opinion.

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