• Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

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What is frontotemporal dementia? Bruce Willis’ diagnosis, explained

What is frontotemporal dementia? Bruce Willis' diagnosis, explained
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In an Instagram post Thursday, Bruce Willis’ family revealed he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

The actor’s family shared this was an updated, more specific diagnosis from his spring 2022 diagnosis of aphasia, a condition that affects a patient’s ability to understand language and communicate.

“Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” an extended post on the website of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration reads.

Frontotemporal dementia, also known as FTD, is used to describe a group of brain disorders that affect the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, according to the Mayo Clinic. These parts of the brain are associated with personality, behavior and language.

“Some people with frontotemporal dementia have dramatic changes in their personalities and become socially inappropriate, impulsive or emotionally indifferent, while others lose the ability to use language properly,” Mayo Clinic says.

Johns Hopkins adds FTD affects men and women equally, and that symptoms typically start between the ages of 40 and 65. 

It is the cause of about 10% to 20% of dementia cases, Mayo Clinic explains. 

In March, Willis’ family announced the actor’s previous diagnosis, which caused him to step away from his career at the age of 67.

“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” Willis’ family said in a statement at the time. “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.” 

Willis is best known for his starring role as John McClane in the “Die Hard” action franchise. He has appeared in dozens of films over a more than 40-year career, including “12 Monkeys,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Pulp Fiction,” as well as the popular 1980s TV series “Moonlighting.” 

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