Hollywood heavyweight Bruce Willis has called time on his acting career following his diagnosis with aphasia. The actor’s family, including his wife Emma Heming-Willis and ex-wife Demi Moore, announced his condition on Instagram on Wednesday. Aphasia is “impacting his cognitive abilities”, the statement said.
“With much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” his family wrote in a joint statement.
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.”
What is aphasia?
Aphasia is when a person has difficulty with their language or speech.
It’s usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain (for example, after a stroke).
What causes aphasia?
The Mayo Clinic explains: “The most common cause of aphasia is brain damage resulting from a stroke — the blockage or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.”
According to the health body, loss of blood to the brain leads to brain cell death or damage in areas that control language.
It continues: “Brain damage caused by a severe head injury, a tumour, an infection or a degenerative process also can cause aphasia.
“In these cases, the aphasia usually occurs with other types of cognitive problems, such as memory problems or confusion.”
Research has shown that language and communication abilities can continue to improve for many years and are sometimes accompanied by new activity in brain tissue near the damaged area.
Some of the factors that may influence the amount of improvement include the cause of the brain injury, the area of the brain that was damaged and its extent, and the age and health of the individual.
According to the NIDCD, aphasia therapy aims to improve a person’s ability to communicate by helping him or her to use remaining language abilities, restore language abilities as much as possible, and learn other ways of communicating, such as gestures, pictures, or use of electronic devices.
“Individual therapy focuses on the specific needs of the person, while group therapy offers the opportunity to use new communication skills in a small-group setting.”