Aphasia is a condition that affects your ability to communicate. It can affect your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language.
Bruce Willis' decision to end his acting career of more than four decades after a recent aphasia diagnosis has put a spotlight on the somewhat rare disorder. Aphasia describes a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate verbally or through writing. It affects an estimated 2 million people in the U.S., and nearly 180,000 acquire it every year, according to the National Aphasia Association.
Willis' daughter Rumer Willis posted Wednesday on Instagram that the condition has affected her father's "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," the post said. Rumer Willis' mother, the actor Demi Moore, also shared the statement.
The most common cause of aphasia is brain damage from a stroke. It can also arise as a result of a head injury, a brain tumor, an infection or a degenerative disease like Alzheimer's. Willis' family did not offer details about the cause of his aphasia. Willis, an Emmy-winning actor and the star of hit movies like "Die Hard" and "The Sixth Sense," turned 67 this month.
Boxer said some forms of aphasia can be treated and reversed if the cause is caught early. A stroke patient suffering from aphasia might regain the ability to speak, Boxer said. But the National Aphasia Association said complete recovery is unlikely if symptoms remain two or three months after a stroke.
According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia often occurs after a stroke or a head injury, and “can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written”.