After a BBC self-styled “top story” today said “transmittable Alzheimer’s concept raised”, new speculation by international dementia expert Professor June Andrews is causing further equally plausible alarm. In a statement which is probably strong enough to be potentially reported as a “hunch” by the BBC’s health and news team, Prof Andrews suggests that the BBC causes dementia. Research shows that as many as 800,000 people in the UK who have dementia “may have relied on the BBC for facts or reasoned analysis”. It is too soon to say if these people were all unwise and there is no advice from the Department of Health about whether the BBC is dangerous to brain health.
Prof Andrews says, “We’ve seen signs of this phenomenon in low cost reporting but it is disturbing to find viral reporting of speculation in such an established organ.” In response to close questioning she added “I’m personally recommending that my own family and in particular vulnerable older people stop reading and watching BBC news even though there is no proof that it has any effect”.
She quotes the BBC report today that raises then dismisses anxiety over the fact that up to eight of the people who died with CJD, a known cause of dementia, had some dementia related stuff in their brains. Apparently this means that we should not worry about having surgery for anything. The news story carries reassurance from the Government that the statement or “hunch” is of no relevance to anything health related.
What Prof Andrews says about the BBC is complete speculation and not really news, but we needed a story, so though we don’t think it carries a lot of weight and she says it’s just speculation, we thought we’d use it to cause further confusion about what people can or cannot do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease. And to be fair to the BBC, the CJD story was on the front page of the Times.