When Margie Donlon was an undergraduate, she made a documentary about her grandmother. “I was filming her in her daily life and noticed howmuch TV she watches. I realized, ‘This is her only window on the rest of the world,’” says Donlon.

Donlon ultimately left filmmaking to study public health at Yale and medicine at the University of Rochester. But a question stayed with her: How does all that TV affect older people, who watch more television than any other age group? Her research,...


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