Actor Bruce Willis Diagnosed With Frontotemporal Dementia: What Is It?

"FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” his family said, in a statement.

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'Die Hard' Actor Bruce Willis (67) has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his family announced in a statement on Thursday, 16 January. 

The statement read, “While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis. FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone.”


What they said: Last spring, after an aphasia diagnosis, the actor had stepped away from his career to focus on his health. But, his family stated,

“Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD). Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces.”

What is Frontotemporal Dementia:

FTD is “a group of brain disorders,” the association says, which is a result of the brain’s frontal or temporal lobes degenerating.

As the actor’s family suggested, a patient suffering from FTD might struggle with communication, but there might also be changes in:

  • Their everyday behaviour

  • Their cognitive abilities

  • Their personality, in general, too


Diagnosis and Treatment: Since there’s no one marker for FTD, the diagnosis takes place on a case-to-case basis, depending on the symptoms of the patients.

The causes aren’t clear too, although genetics might be one of them.

And while there’s no cure yet, patients suffering from FTD are often treated through occupational and speech therapy. They are advised to follow routines and are prescribed medicines based on their symptoms as well.

Willis’ family, through the statement posted on the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration’s website, said that they “hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research.”

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Topics:  Health   Dementia   Bruce Willis 

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