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'Die Hard' Actor Bruce Willis To Retire From Films Due To Aphasia: What Is It?

'Die Hard' actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with Aphasia, a brain disorder caused by brain damage that makes communication difficult. It leads to problems with speaking, reading and writing. 

Bruce Willis attends a movie premiere in New York.
Bruce Willis attends a movie premiere in New York. AP

American actor Bruce Willis has announced a retirement from his Hollywood career after being diagnosed with Aphasia, a brain disease that is "impacting his cognitive abilities." It is a brain disorder caused by brain damage that makes communication difficult. It leads to problems with speaking, reading and writing. 

The disease of the ‘Die Hard’ actor was announced by his family in a statement on Wednesday. “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. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” Bruce’s wife Demi Moore said through a social media post. She further added, “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.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Demi Moore (@demimoore)

According to a John Hopkins scientist, Aphasia can affect an actor’s skills and pose to be a huge challenge depending upon its severity. 

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia generally occurs after a stroke or head injury, but it can also happen over time from a slow-growing brain tumour or degenerative damage. The severity of the aphasia depends on a number of conditions, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage.

For most people, Aphasia affects the left portion of the brain. Aphasia may co-occur with speech disorders, such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which also result from brain damage.

Most people, who acquire Aphasia are middle-aged or older. However, anyone can acquire it including children. 

About 1 million people in the United States currently have aphasia, and nearly 180,000 Americans acquire it each year, according to the National Aphasia Association.

Types of Aphasia

Aphasia can be broadly classified into two categories -- fluent and nonfluent, and there are several types within these groups. 

The most common type of fluent aphasia is Wernicke's aphasia and the most common type of nonfluent aphasia is Broca's aphasia. 

Another type of aphasia among others is, global aphasia, which results from damage to extensive portions of the language areas of the brain. 

How is Aphasia treated?

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 the use of electronic devices. While individual therapy sessions focus on the needs of people, a group session in a small set helps in ways to communicate better in a public place. 

Increasingly, patients with aphasia participate in activities, such as book clubs, technology groups, and art and drama clubs.

According to reports and research, "virtual" speech pathologists provide patients with the flexibility and convenience of getting therapy in their homes through a computer. 

Aphasia does not affect intelligence, according to AP, adding that some people improve dramatically in a few months. Others may need to find other ways to communicate. Speech and language therapy can help.

Researchers are looking into new types of speech therapy and noninvasive methods such as a procedure that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate brain cells.

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