Bruce Willis: Hollywood actor diagnosed with dementia - what is frontotemporal dementia?

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The actor’s family has confirmed that he has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in a post on social media

Actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with dementia, his family has confirmed.

The A-list actor, who is famed for his roles in ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’, was diagnosed with aphasia almost one year ago. However, his family confirmed that this condition has progressed, with Willis now being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

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In a statement posted to his daughter Rumer’s Instagram page, they said: “Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis. In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.

“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, 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. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”

On 20 March, Willis was seen for the first time since his diagnosis was made public in a birthday video posted to the Twitter page of his ex-wife Demi Moore. The actor, who was celebrating his 68th birthday, could be seen alongside his family celebrating and blowing out birthday cake candles.

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In the tweet, Moore said: "Happy birthday, BW! So glad we could celebrate you today. Love you and love our family. Thank you to everyone for the love and warm wishes - we all feel them."

Willis retired from acting in 2022 after his initial aphasia diagnosis. His final appearance onscreen will be seen in the upcoming film ‘Assassin’.

What is frontotemporal dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia is a condition which affects behaviour and language in those diagnosed. Compared to other forms of dementia, this condition affects both the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

According to the NHS, frontotemporal dementia tends to develop slightly earlier than other kinds of dementia. Other types tend to develop from 65-years-old onwards, whereas frontotemporal dementia is usually diagnosed from around 45-years-old to 65-years-old.

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Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia includes personality changes, issues with language and speaking and memory problems. Those diagnosed with the condition may also experience physical problems such as muscle stiffness or weakness.

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