Mixing Fact With Fiction - Alzheimer's Ads

Pharmaceutical advertisements target our emotions with intent to instill worry, anxiety, fear, dread to convince us that something is amiss. brain farts

Be wary of those who diagnose a condition then offer themselves as the solution.

Among my favorite pharma adverts is the proclaimation:

  1. the brain changes as we age

Question: What changes? 

  • Increased Wisdom?
  • Learned Patience?
  • Acquired Knowledge?
  • Decreased Buying Habits? 
  •  

The question implies that it's age itself that connects alzheimer's + dementia + age.

Logic follows to inform that change is negative and reminds of the risk for brain disease
 

Alzheimer's, the bogeyman for forgetful grandmas and oldsters everywhere

Yes, Alzheimer's is a bad, very bad disease and I want a cure...
 

but...Save My Sanity!

The best change to the aging brain is that it develops a resistance to the absorption of BS, becomes a cranky, outspoken, spendthift more serious about voting than the average, idealistic twenty-something.

There's no cure necessary for the vast majority of the blue hair crowd
 

Let's Get Critical, Use the Noodle

Modern synergetic advertising employs a potpourri of psychological, manipulative language, sounds and images that tickle the interest and distract parts of the brain which usually partake in suspension of disbelief. 
Magicians sleight of hand, Hide the Pea
.

Advertisers Use Language to Convey Trust

Currently, more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's.

Facts

  • It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • About 13% of Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's
  • Half of those over age 85 will develop Alzheimer's - or related dementia.

Health analysts estimate that in just five years the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will jump to 7.7 million and by 2050 the number is projected to more than double to 16 million.
 

They ask the Question: Why is this disease growing so rapidly? 

Their answer: Simply put, our population is "graying" and our citizens are living much longer than any previous generation.
In fact, the fastest growing segment of our population is the over 80 age group, and the odds of becoming demented for the very elderly are much higher.
 

The Set Up
 

It's up to You to Learn the Finer Art of Statistics Delivery.
 

Examine the language
Flip statistics upside down
Unmix metaphores and mismatched numerics. 

  • One part of the brain processes words.  Five million instead of 5 million or 5M
  • One part of the brain processes numbers: 13% (5.2 million)
  • Another part of the brain processes logic
  • Another part processes math equations
  • Another part of the brain deals with the kids, paying the bills, cleaning the house, just wanting to relax, fix the car...watch the show...
  • And yet another processes disbelief or trust
  • And another one wants to know what to do with Mom or Dad when they exceed their welcome.

 

Advertised Current Statistics:

(The truthy part.)

 

  1. Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's
  2. About 13% (5.2 million) Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's
  3. Half of people over age 85 (5.5 million) will develop Alzheimer's - or related dementia

Existing Facts:
  1. The 100% population of America - currently 323.95 million.
  2. Five million equates to .015% of the American population.
  3. Which means 99.984% of Americans have no risk for Alzheimer's

 Advertised Projected Statistics:

  1. In five years the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will jump to 7.7 million

 Not Advertised Projected Facts:

  1. In five years (2022) the population of the US wi be approximately 345 million
  2. 7.7 million accounts for .0226% of the American population.
  3. Which means in five years 99.974% Americans will still have no risk for Alzheimer's

 Advertised Projected Statistics:

  1. By 2050 the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will jump to 16 million.

 Not Advertised Projected Facts:

  1. United Nations projects by the year 2050 the U.S. population will approximate 402 million
  2. 16 million Americans will have alzheimer's .04% of the population (assuming no cure is found between now and then)
  3. Which means 99.96% of Americans will still have no risk for Alzheimer's

Statistics may be 100% accurate and delivered wrapped in a package of complete, unadulterated BS complete with pretty bow ribbons on top.


As for the rest of the above advertisment claims ...

Why is this disease growing so rapidly?

  •  

Please Define Rapidly

  • Population is "graying" as citizens are living much longer than any previous generation.
  • Fastest growing segment of our population is the over 80 age group, odds of becoming demented for the very elderly are much higher.
  • By about .015% higher...

All of which means...In 2050, 99.96% of Americans will still have no risk for Alzheimer's.

Don't worry, be happy