Bruce Willis' family has announced that the actor has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. This comes a year after his family reported that Willis would be stepping away from acting due to aphasia, a brain disorder that affects language.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a type of dementia that affects the regions of the brain in the front and sides. Aphasia is just one of the possible symptoms of FTD, which is caused by damage to the brain's neurons. People with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop it, and it is rare, occurring most often between the ages of 45 and 65. Other symptoms of FTD include emotional problems, physical difficulties such as trouble walking, and communication problems.
Although there is no treatment to slow or stop the disease, there are interventions available to help manage symptoms. Some patients may receive antidepressants or drugs for Parkinson's, and many work with speech therapists and physical therapists to try to improve movement and manage communication difficulties. People with the condition are at an increased risk for complications from falls, injuries, and infections, and the average life expectancy after symptoms emerge is seven to 13 years.