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Health expert notes Bruce Willis’ FTD diagnosis often mistaken for ‘psychiatric illness’

Bruce Willis’ health condition explained by neurologist

December 11, 2023
Health expert offers insight into Bruce Willis FTD diagnosis
Health expert offers insight into Bruce Willis FTD diagnosis 

Bruce Willis’ frontotemporal dementia diagnosis has recently been explained by health expert.

A clinical neurologist, Professor Peter Garrard spoke to The Mirror and revealed how some of the symptoms of Bruce's illness could be mistaken for psychiatric illness.

Describing actor’s condition as “debilitating”, Peter revealed that FTD could lead to changes in language of behaviour.

“Language can become empty of content as knowledge of concepts (not only the words that represent things, but also the things themselves) degrades,” said the neurologist.

Health expert stated, “If the pathology affects other parts of the brain's language network, speech can become distorted and difficult to produce, with comprehension relatively preserved.”

Peter explained, “Behaviour changes occur along three main axes: social appropriateness or disinhibition, a decline in motivation, and obsessionality which increases, giving rise to novel interests, for example in a particular piece of music, food, time, a catch phrase, or sometimes religion.”

As far as speed of progression is concerned, expert mentioned, “Progression and worsening of the current difficulties are sadly to be expected. Sources close to [Bruce] have already reported him almost completely losing his ability to speak.”

Peter also talked about symptoms that are often difficult to detect, pointing out, “Symptoms are very subtle in the early stages and are often mistaken for psychiatric illness such as depression.”

“The disinhibited subtypes may start with changes in judgement, such as making risky investments or starting an extramarital affair, though in other cases disinhibition can simply start with the affected person being the 'life and soul of the party’,” he added.