Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer’s Story

2004
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Ann Hedreen
Directed by Ann Hedreen and Rustin Thompson
VHS, color, 62 min.
Adult
Aging, Health Sciences


Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 9/9/2005

Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease, and no one would argue that fact. Quick Brown Fox is one daughter’s video journal of her mother’s descent into memory loss. Home movies, 1950s medical films, interviews and photos of her family are interwoven with the science of Alzheimers and today’s politics regarding stem cell research. The tragedy that surrounds the decline of Hedreen’s mother is the tragedy that befalls any family with a member stricken with this disease. Family photos and films show the changes Hedreen’s mother evidenced prior to her diagnosis. Hedreen’s mother was a beautiful, highly intelligent woman, until Alzheimer’s robbed her of her memories. One of the early symptoms of the disease is repeating the same story or phrase over and over again.

Hedreen explored possible causes and potential cures for this disease that affects more than 18 million people worldwide. She even volunteers herself as a research subject and undergoes the memory test that is given in order to make a diagnosis, revealing the stress that such tests can cause the subject. A startling possibility for Alzheimers lies in the possible connection between Parkinson’s disease and environmental factors. Hedreen’s mother grew up in Butte, Montana, which suffers from poisonous mining wastes. An abnormal preponderance of fatal diseases proliferates among inhabitants of Butte.

Alzheimers affects more women than men, and robs a person of approximately 15-20 years of their life. With a projected 14 million Americans estimated to contract Alzheimers by the middle of this century, greater understanding and scientific research of this disease are essential. Currently, this disease has a low priority in Congress.

Technical aspects are quite good throughout. Original music and some Finnish folk songs create a haunting backdrop for this poignant documentary. Almost any video collection would benefit from the addition of this film. Anyone with a family member or friend suffering from this disease will find this informative, and those wanting to know more about Alzheimers will not be disappointed. This is an informative, thought provoking video which will linger long in any viewer’s mind. Highly recommended