Actor Bruce Willis' Battle with Frontotemporal Dementia
Actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, according to a statement released by his family on social media. The family revealed that Willis had previously been diagnosed with aphasia, which affects speech, but that his condition had since progressed.
Frontotemporal dementia is the most common form of dementia in people under 60 and is caused by toxic proteins building up in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This can lead to difficulties with language, behaviour and planning, as well as affecting cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia and no way to slow its progression.
The family expressed their gratitude for their support and hoped that media attention surrounding Willis' diagnosis would raise awareness of the disease. They highlighted that Willis had always used his voice to raise awareness of significant public and private issues. The statement was signed by members of Willis' family, including his wife, Emma Heming, his former wife, Demi Moore, and their three daughters.
The news has prompted an outpouring of support from fans and colleagues, with many taking to social media to share their thoughts and offer support to Willis and his family. Actor Brian Cox, who starred in the film Red with Willis, described him as "witty and a great performer" and expressed his sadness at the news. US journalist Maria Shriver, a campaigner for brain disorder patient care and research, thanked Willis and his family for shining a light on the disease and helping to raise awareness.
Frontotemporal dementia is a relatively rare form of dementia that affects people in midlife, whereas most other forms are found in old age. While there is no cure, research into treatments for frontotemporal dementia is ongoing. The hope is that disease awareness will increase funding and support for this vital work. Willis' family has called attention to this need, and his legacy may well include advancing research into treatments for this devastating disease.
What is frontotemporal dementia?
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a rare form of dementia that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for behaviour, personality, language, and decision-making. FTD is also known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and is caused by a build-up of toxic proteins in these regions, leading to brain cell death.
What are the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia?
The symptoms of FTD can vary depending on the subtype of the disease but generally include changes in behaviour, personality, and language. Other symptoms may include difficulty with decision-making and planning, emotional instability, loss of empathy, and impaired movement and muscle control.
Who is at risk of developing frontotemporal dementia?
FTD is most commonly diagnosed in people under 60, but can occur in people of any age. There is currently no known cause for FTD, but it is thought to be influenced by genetic and environmental factors.
Is there a cure for frontotemporal dementia?
There is currently no cure for FTD, and no treatments to slow or stop the progression of the disease. Treatment generally focuses on managing the symptoms and maintaining the quality of life.
What can be done to support someone with frontotemporal dementia?
Caregivers and loved ones of individuals with FTD can provide support by creating a safe and comfortable environment, assisting with daily activities, and offering emotional support. Joining a support group or seeking professional help from a healthcare provider can also be beneficial.
What is the prognosis for frontotemporal dementia?
The prognosis for FTD varies depending on the subtype of the disease, but on average, people live 8-10 years after diagnosis. Some people may live longer, while others may experience a more rapid disease progression.