New Study Mimics the Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease to Increase Public Awareness

February 9, 2014
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Today, more than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the country. No doubt, Alzheimer’s is a huge deal for the people it touches.

Today, more than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the country. No doubt, Alzheimer’s is a huge deal for the people it touches.

AlzheimersAwareness-FacebookThis unfortunate condition affecting memory, cognition and behavior can be impossible to fathom for those who haven’t experienced it first-hand. Speaking with someone in his or her habitual environment and then witnessing that person forget the very conversation that elapsed just a few minutes ago can not only be frustrating for the person afflicted, but also for loved-ones—perhaps even more so.

As a way to get more people involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer Netherlands Education and Advocacy Group recently worked with a team of image specialists to create a simulation. They edited pictures of unsuspecting people to create photo albums of fake events, posting them on their Facebook pages and then tagging the images to make it appear as if these individuals had been present at some real-time festivity.

The campaign commenced with the advocacy group posting images of re-contextualized celebrities and other public personalities. It then opened the postings up to the public, allowing anyone to contribute to the experiment by uploading photos of their friends and placing them in montages of imaginary events, making sure to tag them.

While at first this exercise raised some eyebrows and elicited confusion, it ultimately served its purpose, showing first-hand how it felt to experience confusion in the face of a forgotten social outing, ballgame or soirée, therein highlighting the importance of finding a cure for this debilitating, personality-erasing sickness.

This European project is just another way that technology and social media are coming together in the name of a vital healthcare initiative.

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