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What is aphasia? What to know about condition after Bruce Willis diagnosis – NBC Chicago

The news that famous actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with aphasia has sent shockwaves through Hollywood and beyond, but it has also led to questions from those wondering exactly what it is. and what it means for Willis.

Aphasia is a condition that “robs you of the ability to communicate,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

“It may affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written,” reads the hospital group’s website.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, language impairment is “caused by damage to a specific area of ​​the brain that controls the expression and understanding of language.”

Although the disease can appear suddenly after events such as a stroke or a head injury, it can also appear gradually following events such as a brain tumor or an illness that causes brain damage .

“The severity of aphasia depends on a number of conditions, including the cause and extent of brain damage,” states the Mayo Clinic.

The condition is more common in middle-aged and older people, health experts said.

According to Willis’ family, his aphasia “impacted his cognitive abilities”, although they did not specify what could have caused his condition.

“Because of this and with great consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that meant so much to him,” his family wrote in a statement posted on social media. “This is a truly difficult time for our family and we very much appreciate your continued love, compassion and support.”

Willis had just celebrated his 67th birthday.

According to Johns Hopkins, while some people diagnosed with aphasia recover fully, many experience lingering effects.

“Treatments such as speech therapy can often help recover some speech and language function over time, but many people continue to have communication problems,” the health group said. “It can sometimes be difficult and frustrating for both the person with aphasia and their family members.”

The Mayo Clinic also reports that although some recovery is possible, “few people regain a full level of communication before the injury.”

“We are going through this as a strong family unit and we wanted to bring in his fans because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him,” Willis’ family wrote in their statement. “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”

NBC Chicago

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