Bruce Willis’ family took to social media to reveal that the actor had been diagnosed with aphasia. The actor’s wife, Emma Heming, later shared a new message to thank his fans.
“Your love, support, compassion, prayers really help,” she wrote. “I’m grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” Heming; Demi Moore, his ex-wife; and his daughters Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn said on Instagram.
“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. 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. As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up and together we plan to do just that,” the blended family concluded.
Dr. Peter Pressman, a behavioral neurologist and assistant professor of neurology on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, shared with HOLA! USA more details about Willis’ cognitive disease.
Anything that injures the parts of the brain that produce and understand language can cause aphasia. The most common cause is stroke. Other possible causes include traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, tumors, some infections, and more.
It depends on the cause and severity of the aphasia and the availability of appropriate treatment and therapies. Many people with aphasia can make full recoveries, but others cannot. I think it is important that people with aphasia realize there is hope for improvement and that they can access the care they need.
About one in 250 people are estimated to have aphasia in the United States.
Yes. Specific parts of the left half of the brain are responsible for language in most people. If just those parts are injured, aphasia may be the only problem that a person experiences. Aphasia can sometimes accompany other symptoms such as right arm weakness or clumsiness.
Usually, yes, but it requires a thoughtful approach. First, not all aphasias are the same. Some impact only someone’s ability to understand others, and some impact only the ability to express yourself with language. Communication strategies should take the type of aphasia into account. Second, other parts of communication, such as tone of voice, facial expression, gesture, musicality, and more, may be preserved in aphasia and allow for other means of communication.
Not necessarily; though someone with aphasia may not do well on intelligence tests if they do not understand the questions being asked, the brain damage that causes aphasia may spare other critical aspects of cognition, such as memory, attention, social skills, and the ability to find your way around. There are people with aphasia who may still be able to build a house or engage in other technical work despite being unable to speak or write.
I’m not certain that any two cases of aphasia are precisely alike. Medically, at the very least, you can think of aphasia as having three primary forms: expressive, receptive, and global. Most neurologists are familiar with at least eight forms of aphasia, and specialists (aphasiologists) even more.
I recommend speech therapy to all patients with aphasia to improve the symptoms and explore less frustrating communication and coping methods. Working with friends and family members to teach communication strategies can also be helpful.