Bruce Willis has ended his Hollywood career after being diagnosed with a rare condition that affects the ability to speak and write.
“We wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has some health issues and was recently diagnosed with aphasia which is affecting his cognitive abilities,” his family said in a joint statement Instagram. “As a result, and with much deliberation, Bruce is stepping down from the career that has meant so much to him.”
What is aphasia?
Aphasia is characterized by speech or language difficulties and “is usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain (e.g. after a stroke)”, according to the NHS Website.
The condition affects people of all ages, but is most common in people over the age of 65. Willis is 67 years old.
“In some cases” aphasia can lead to anxiety, depression and isolation, the health service said.
In a 2017 article for The guard, mother of two, Helen Harris, described her slow recovery from aphasia following brain surgery. “While most people are patient and understanding, some are not,” said Harris, who died of a brain tumor in 2020 at the age of 47.
Aphasia is estimated to affect more than 350,000 people in the UK.
In the USA, In all, about two million people have the communication disorder that National Aphasia Association reported and about 180,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
The NHS explained that people with aphasia “often have problems with the four main ways people understand and use language”: reading, listening, speaking and typing or writing. But “although aphasia affects a person’s ability to communicate, it does not affect their intelligence”.
For an actor, however, aphasia could present a major challenge, said Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientist Brenda Rapp.
“You can imagine how frustrating it is when you can’t find words, when you can’t put words together into sentences, when you can’t get your mouth to produce the sounds you want to produce,” Rapp said in Paris news agency AFP.
Aphasia is usually caused by a stroke, a serious head injury, a brain tumor, or progressive neurological conditions such as dementia.
“It’s not clear what led to Willis’s diagnosis” Sky news reported.
The recommended treatment for aphasia is usually speech therapy and speech therapy.
“Most people with aphasia need many hours of speech and language therapy,” the NHS said. But most “recover to some extent and some recover fully”.
Sometimes the aphasia gets better without treatment.
The researchers are also studying ‘new types of speech therapy and non-invasive methods such as a procedure that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate brain cells’. Al Jazeera reported.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/science-health/956272/what-is-aphasia-and-what-does-diagnosis-mean-for-bruce-willis What is aphasia – and what does diagnosis mean for Bruce Willis?