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WTVM Editorial 4/7/22: Brain Research Needs Support

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 3:57 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Not many people ever heard of Aphasia…until one day last week when it was reported that actor Bruce Willis would suddenly retire from acting to battle the brain disease.

As is often the case, it’s only after a famous person comes down with a mysterious illness, that we become aware of it…as we did when Robin Williams committed suicide after suffering from another brain disease, known as Lewy’s Body Dementia.

The disease called Aphasia that now afflicts Bruce Willis is similar to, but not the same as Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

We don’t yet know the severity of Aphasia that Bruce Willis is experiencing, but Aphasia causes difficulty in speech, communication, and sometimes comprehension.

Aphasia does not always lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, but it can. The main difference is that Alzheimer’s patients cannot access memories, including people they used to recognize. Alzheimer’s patients can’t remember simple tasks of living, like how to hold a fork or spoon.

Aphasia patients can hold a fork and feed themselves. They have no memory problems but Aphasia makes the brain unable to deal with speech and the meaning of words.

Bruce Willis’ diagnosis is a sad reminder of the fragility of life and how everything can change in an instant.

Whether it’s Aphasia, Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, the breakdown of the brain creates devastating consequences for the patient and their families.

But there is always hope.

The Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter ,has an easy and fun way to support the battle against cruel brain diseases.

They call it Dancing Stars of Columbus, and just like the network TV show, local celebrities partner with professionals to dance competitively and raise money.

Our own anchor Barbara Gauthier is one of this year’s Dancing Stars and she’s practicing very hard!

You can help her raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association at wtvm.com where we have a link to the Dancing Stars donation page.

We hope you’ll donate to Barbara or another fundraiser because research to treat brain disease is urgent and it costs money.

But if everyone pitches in, researchers will someday make a breakthrough that will make all of this old news.

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