According to a statement released by his family, Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that is “impacting his cognitive ability.”
According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia, which causes varied degrees of difficulty in speech and language comprehension, affects more than 2 million Americans. The syndrome is most commonly caused by a stroke or a brain injury, although it can also develop over time as a result of brain tumors or chronic neurological disease.
There are numerous forms of aphasia, which are divided into two categories: fluent and nonfluent. Damage to the temporal lobe causes fluent aphasia, which can lead to Wernicke’s aphasia, which causes a person to have problems comprehending speech or talk in “long, full sentences with no sense,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Broca’s aphasia is a kind of nonfluent aphasia that can impair communication and lead a person to talk in short phrases or smaller words while having a greater knowledge of speech. Nonfluent aphasia is more likely in people with frontal lobe injury.
However, there are several types of aphasia, each with its own set of symptoms.
“Nearly all patients with aphasia have word-finding difficulties – that is, coming up with the correct name of persons, places, things, or events,” the Cleveland Clinic notes.
Patients with aphasia as a result of a brain damage may be able to regain some language and cognitive functions on their own, however this is not always the case. Speech and language therapy-focused rehabilitation programs can benefit even more.
According to the National Institutes of Health, drug treatments are also being investigated as a “experimental approach” to therapy.
“Some studies are testing whether drugs that affect the chemical neurotransmitters in the brain can be used in combination with speech-language therapy to improve recovery of various language functions,” the agency writes.
Bruce Willis’ family, including his wife, ex-wife and five daughters, had released a statement on Instagram announcing his diagnosis on Wednesday.
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him,” the statement read, in part.
Further details of Willis’ diagnosis and health issues were not disclosed.
Willis, 67, had appeared in more than a dozen movies since 2020, with several still in post-production.
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