There is an Alzheimer’s Disease Blog by Dr Andrew Rosenzweig at the About.com website. As this is part of a larger website, there is a standardised format to the blog. Thus there is a light grey background. The articles lie in the central pane which has a white background and there are adverts above the title pane. The author’s photograph features in the title pane. The articles are titled, dated and comment enabled with social media sharing capabilities. The articles contain hypertext links and typically run to a few paragraphs in length. In order to navigate the blog the reader must click on the ‘archives’ link and then the ‘next’ hypertext link at the bottom of the page. This presents the reader with a summary list of several chronologically ordered articles and the reader must click on one of these to expand the article or else navigate further back to the next ‘older’ set of chronologically indexed articles. The reader thus needs to click on a large number of links to get back to the first page which is dated November 8th 2007. These early posts are by psychologist Carrie Hill. Now if we look at the first post its only 2 paragraphs long but what is interesting is that within those two paragraphs there are three hypertext links. There is a subtle point here which is that the hypertext links quickly take the reader to other articles and so like a number of other internet resources, the website acts as a hypertext linked encyclopedia.
In order to review the blog, I’ve selected a single post from each summary page of chronologically ordered articles and in so doing I may have missed some of the interesting posts. Additionally my sample set is influenced by selection bias as I tended to examine the articles with the most interesting titles. A lot of the sampled posts tend to focus on summarising research findings relevant to Alzheimer’s Disease. For instance there are posts on diabetes and cognition, an overview of the possible sirtuin link, research into the efficacy of AL-108, Luteolin, Flurizan and Caprospinol as well as the relationship between central auditory processing dysfunction and memory impairment. The articles are very brief and the style is clear and simple. As a result, even with sophisticated concepts and terminology the posts are very accessible for a general audience and so there is at once both a popular appeal to the articles and consequently a valuable role for the blog in public health through education.
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