The judges were impressed by Burling’s use of a single case study about the life and death of an Alzheimer's patient to explore the current scientific understanding of the disease and its human impact. Andrew Revkin of The New York Times called Burling’s story “a superb route into a harrowing subject” that illuminates aspects of science “with rare clarity.” Guy Gugliotta, a freelance science writer who was formerly with The Washington Post, said Burling’s story elegantly juxtaposed “the science of the disease with the consequences, not only for the patient but for the patient’s family.”
"I am thrilled to receive this award from AAAS," Burling said. "I wanted to write about what dementia does to the brain, but worried that readers would find the science too difficult at times unless I found a way to make the story very personal." Her story on the Rev. Bob Moore, who died in December 2005, combined science and biography in a gripping fashion.