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Sir.—Television has been used extensively for health education and health promotion, and there have been a number of studies that have looked at the impact of these health campaigns. In addition, there have been a variety of health-related portrayals, including daytime serials (eg, General Hospital) and prime-time series featuring medical professionals (eg, Quincy and Marcus Welby, MD). Although these latter programs often dealt with specific diseases, I am not aware of documentation of the role of such programs on subsequent case detection.
On April 23, 1986, the "docudrama" Alex: The Life of a Child, which portrays the story of a young girl with cystic fibrosis, was shown nationwide on ABC-TV. It is estimated that it was seen in 18.6 million households (36% of all televisions in use). To assess the impact of this program on subsequent cystic fibrosis case detection, three weeks following its showing a questionnaire was sent
ROSENSTEIN BJ. Television and Cystic Fibrosis Case Detection. Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(11):1093-1094. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140250019010