Discworld author films his battle with Alzheimer's

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Terry Pratchett in 2005
Image: Jutta.

The Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett is to appear in a BBC documentary covering a year of his struggle with the brain disorder Alzheimer's disease.

Pratchett, 60, asked the BBC to spend a year documenting any decline in his condition and seeing him experiment with various supposed cures. One alleged cure involved firing infrared light at his brain via a helmet invented by a general practitioner doctor. Pratchett also examines the serious research into dementia and its cure.

The author has donated £500,000 to the Alzheimer's Research Trust and his campaigning has raised another £200,000. Pratchett has posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of the disease which affects vision, causes him to forget words and makes dressing confusing. He has written 36 Discworld novels amongst other works and was knighted in the 2009 New Years Honours.

Posterior cortical atrophy is also known as Benson's syndrome. It is the progressive shrinking of the back of the brain. It is a form of Alzheimer's disease, and the wider disease affects some 26.6 million people worldwide.

The documentary - Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimer's - will air on BBC Two on February 4 at 21:00.