Bruce Willis has frontotemporal dementia: What are the symptoms of FTD?

FTD is a category of dementia that specifically affects the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes and most commonly strikes those younger than 60

Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his family said Thursday. (Sydney Alford/Alamy)
9 min

Actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a rare type of dementia, his family announced Thursday. The disease, also known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration, has no treatment or cure.

Willis’s family said in March that he had been diagnosed with aphasia, a communication disorder, and was retiring. In their announcement Thursday, Willis’s family said his “condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia.”

“While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” said their statement posted on the website for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. “FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone.”

We asked neurologists questions about the condition, its causes, symptoms, impact and risks, and here are their answers.

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