It is estimated that around 60 million people worldwide are living with dementia . Bruce Willis is one of them: As the actor’s family announced in mid-February, the 67-year-old suffers from a comparatively rare frontotemporal dementia (FTD). “Though it hurts, we’re relieved to finally have a definitive diagnosis,” wife Emma Heming-Willis and ex-wife Demi Moore wrote in identical posts on Instagram on February 16, 2023. Willis had already retired from acting in 2022 after being diagnosed with a speech disorder. Doctors also speak of aphasia.
Since frontotemporal dementia manifests itself differently than other forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, it is often more difficult to recognize. It is often initially confused with mental disorders such as depression or burnout. The neurologist Carlo Wilke , as an assistant doctor, is in charge of an outpatient clinic for frontotemporal and early-onset dementia at the University Hospital in Tübingen and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). “Spektrum.de” spoke to him about the causes of the disease, diagnostic options and chances of recovery.
»Spektrum.de«: Bruce Willis has been suffering from a speech disorder for a long time. Now his doctors have diagnosed a rare form of rapidly progressing dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or FTD for short. What can you deduce from his previous symptoms about the course of the disease?