Ten million Chinese families are engaged in a struggle aganist Alzheimer’s

Country/area: China

Organisation: Guyudata-Tencent News

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 21/09/2021

Credit: Xiankui Su,Hao Hao,Jingyi Zhang,Jing Tan,Zhuoyi Weng


Xiankui Su is a data journalist and researcher at Tencent News, and has been committed to the creation of in-depth data news in the health field. Hao Hao and Jingyi Zhang are senior editors of Tencent News. Their work has won the Best Data News Award in the China Data Content Competition. Jing Tan and Zhuoyi Weng are visualization designers.

Project description:

Alzheimer’s disease  (AD) is a common but easily overlooked and misunderstood disease in China. The article describes the current understanding of AD in China including its prevalence, cost burden, awareness and treatment, and reveals the struggles Chinese family caregivers experienced and the difficulty how they adapt to life under the effect of AD.

Impact reached:

The article received more than 200,000 readings and over 20,000 interactions on the Tencent News App,one of the most popular news app in China. Tens of thousands of patients’ family members commented their similar experiences and sympathy and offered personal experience on how to take care of AD patients. Topics #Multi-picture presents the real life of Alzheimer’s family# #Every year more than 200,000 elderly people are lost due to Alzheimer’s disease# derived from the articles have received more than one million views on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website. Hundreds of well-known authors and media have participated in discussion.

Techniques/technologies used:

The main technical tools are Python, Adobe Illustator, Excel, Huike News Database, Google Scholar, and CNKI Literature Database. Excel is used for basic data analysis. Python is used to mine data and analyze the co-occurrence network of the lost Alzheimer’s patients. Adobe Illustator is used to visualize. Google Scholar, CNKI, Huike News database are used to search Alzheimer’s related literature and reports.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Most of the news reports on AD in China focus on the condition of the patient. It is a relatively rare to pay attention to the living conditions of the patients’ family members. The most difficult part of this article is the lack of references, the difficulty of sample selection and cleaning. The author took nearly two months to conduct interviews to family members of patients to understand their real life conditions and determine the direction of the article on this basis. Under the special cultural background of China, this article is dedicated to presenting the marginalized groups of neglected diseases with data news to make the report more credible.

What can others learn from this project?

As far as the content of the article is concerned, other reporters can learn to find a fresh perspective when reporting a common topic. Marginalized group on public issues, such as the family members of patients suffering from AD in the report, are often overlooked in reports but they are also crucial. As far as the presentation of articles is concerned, the combination of multiple individual stories and data analysis to report on public issues is a worthy way to learn from. This combination is currently not common in Chinese media reports.

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