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Friday, February 13, 2009

Terry Pratchett - Living with Alzheimer's

Even if you've never bought a Discworld novel in your life, it's hard not to be won over by fantasy author Terry Pratchett's honesty and wit here as he talks of his experience of a rare form of Alzheimer's. "I was enraged," he says about being diagnosed. "I wanted to make Alzheimer's sorry it had caught me." The programme follows him living with the variant of the disease called Posterior Cortical Atrophy and his efforts to help find a cure by donating a chunk of his wealth (he's sold more than 50 million books) to research. Signs of the condition's effects are hard to miss. At a fan convention, there's the poignant sight of him stumbling as he tries to read from his latest novel, reduced to muttering that "a shadow keeps falling over the page". But mostly there's an upbeat cussedness to him. Although he puts his faith in "cold hard science", he also tries out a Heath Robinson infrared helmet whose benefits are so far unproven. It's a fascinating, touching journey.

Part 1

In the first part Terry confronts living with his uncertain future and facing a world ultimately without words. Following Terry's progress through his first year with Alzheimer's, this programme explores some cutting-edge science and weird treatments to reveal what it is like to be diagnosed with this terrifying illness.

Broadcast on:
BBC Two, 9:00pm Wednesday 4th February 2009


Part 2

Terry Pratchett wants Alzheimer's to be sorry that it ever caught him. In the second part Terry confronts his future living with the disease. He travels to America to witness first-hand how they are coping with the 'tsunami of Alzheimer's', and meets the unlikely doctor who stumbled across a controversial new treatment that he claims produces remarkable results in minutes.



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