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What is aphasia?

More than 200,000 people in the US diagnosed each year
Robert Voogt, Argye Elizabeth Hillis
Posted at 2:50 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 14:50:26-04

When actor Bruce Willis' family announced Wednesday he was "stepping back" from acting due to his diagnosis of aphasia, the condition quickly became the most searched term on Google.

So, what is aphasia?

According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia is a condition that typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury that robs you of the ability to communicate.

The main treatment for aphasia is speech and language therapy.

A person with aphasia has to relearn and practice language skills and must learn other ways to communicate.

The condition is common, with more than 200,000 new cases each year in the US.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a person with aphasia may speak in short or incomplete sentences, speak in sentences that don't make sense, not understand other people's conversation, speak unrecognizable words, write sentences that don't make sense, and substitute one word for another or one sound for another.

On Wednesday, Demi Moore announced on Instagram that her ex-husband Bruce Willis had been diagnosed with the condition and would be stepping away from acting.

"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," Moore said. "As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."

"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," it continued. "As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up,’ and together we plan to do just that."