Whether you are rich or poor, famous or not, we can all be affected by illness. Athletes, politicians, actors, singers, etc.: illness does not discriminate. Today, we will address the neurological and mental disorders suffered by some celebrities.
1. Bruce Willis – Aphasia
Aphasia is caused by damage to one or more areas of the brain that has to do with language, according to the US National Institutes of Health. Affected are the abilities to speak, understand others, read and write. Aphasia can affect people mildly where they occasionally have difficulty finding a specific word to severely where they completely lose the ability to communicate.
Aphasia affects about 2 million people in the U.S. and 250,000 people in U.K. with people of all ages groups having the possibility of being affected although more likely in middle aged to older people.
Aphasia is most often caused by stroke, however any disease of damage to the areas of the brain that control language could cause it. There are various classifications of Aphasia each affecting things like speech repetition, naming, auditory comprehension and language fluency.
Aphasia has traditionally been described as a language deficit, but recent studies show that other deficits in cognitive areas such as attention, memory, executive functions and learning can occur at the same time.
2. Brad Pitt suffers from prosopagnosia
Brad Pitt suffers from a neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, as he admittedin 2013 during an interview with Esquire magazine. This condition, also known as face blindness or facial agnosia, is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces, in some cases even one’s own.
This disorder apparently causes the actor social discomfort. “So many people hate me because they think I’m disrespecting them. I took one year where I just said, this year I’m just going to cop to it and say to people, ‘Where did we meet?’ But it just got worse. People were more offended. You get this thing, like,‘You’re being egotistical. You’re being conceited.’ But it’s a mystery to me, I can’t grasp a face.”
3. Ronald Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s diseaseis the most common type of dementia. This type of dementia usually starts slowly, first affecting the parts of the brain responsible for memory, thinking, and language. Over time, these symptoms worsen up to the point of patients with Alzheimer’s failing to recognize their closest relatives and experiencing problems in basic activities of daily living such as dressing or grooming. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, five years after leaving office, although, according to his son Ron in the book “My Father at 100: A Memoir,” he showed signs of the condition while in the White House. He died in 2004.
4. Michael J. Fox – Parkinson’s disease
The beloved actor known for his roles in television and movies was diagnosed with early on-set Parkinson’s disease in his early 30’s. After years of denial in dealing with the diagnosis, he finally became a voice for those affected by Parkinson’s and started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research which has raised millions to help fund research into Parkinson’s.
5. Catherine Zeta Jones – bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by mood fluctuations between extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). Catherine Zeta Jones suffers from this illness.“This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help,” said the actress in a statement.
6. Lil Wayne – Epilepsy
The grammy-winning rapper revealed in 2013 that he has epilepsy and is prone to seizures: “Like, this isn’t my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh seizure. I’ve had a bunch of seizures, y’all just never hear about them,” said Lil Wayne in an interview.
Epilepsy is a central nervous system where abnormal brain activity can can seizures, strange sensations or even loss of awareness.
7. Playing basketball at the highest level with multiple sclerosis: Chris Wright
Point guard Chris Wright became first NBA player everto play with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease caused by an unknown virus or antigen. The body’s immune system attacks its own myelin—a substance that wraps around nerve fibers and permits the transmission of nerve impulses at an adequaterate—which results in poor communication between neurons, causingnumerous symptoms: visionproblems, balance problems, speech problems, tremors in the hands, muscle weakness in the arms or legs, and loss of muscle strength. Cognitive impairments in memory, encoding and retrieval of information, and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression are also common.
8. Frankie Muniz – Transient ischemic attacks
Frankie Muniz, best known for playing the title character in the early 2000’s series, Malcom in the Middle has suffered various transient ischemic attacks, otherwise known as mini strokes. It is thought that these temporary brain blocks or clots are the result of a number concussions Frankie suffered in the past due to sport injuries or accidents during his car racing career.
9. Muhammad Ali – Parkinson’s disease
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali had the most difficult battle outside the ring. Ali fought Parkinson’s disease for 32 years. Parkinson’s involves the progressive death of neurons in the region of the brain called the substantia nigra and more specifically, in one of its two parts, the pars compacta. The death of cells results in diminished dopamine synthesis, which leads to a dysfunction in the regulation of the main brain structures involved in controlling movement.
The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include generalized slowness of movement, gradual loss of spontaneous movement, resting tremor, and rigidity (stiffness). Other symptoms such as impaired balance and altered postural reflexes can also occur, causing people with Parkinson’s to fall easily. Other frequently associated symptoms include the presence of cognitive impairment, which affects memory, attention and processing speed.
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984. “At first, there were times when I could push all thoughts of the disease out of my mind. Later, when the physical symptoms could not be ignored, there were periods of frustration and depression,” said the boxing legend. However, Ali stood up to the disease and became an example to many people with it. The fighter died from a respiratory complication associated with the disease in 2016.
10. Jamie-Lynn Sigler – Multiple Sclerosis
Jamie-Lynn Sigler is probably best known for playing Meadow Soprano on The Sopranos from 1999-2007. A lesser known fact about this current podcast host is that she also was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in her early 20’s.
MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system with disruptions in the signals that communicate between the brain and the body. It affects two to three times as many as women as it does men and common syptoms include fatigue, numbness, stiffness and possible visual problems.
11. Robin Williams – Lewy Body Dementia
Robin Williams’ suicide in 2014 shocked the world and left millions of fans of all ages saddened by the news. Though previously diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, at that time, few knew that he was suffering with an extreme case of Lewy Body Dementia.
Its name comes from protein deposits called Lewy bodies that develop in nerve cells in the the regions of the brain that have to do with thinking, memory and motor control. Although Robin’s was a severe case, most people with Lewy body have progressive decline in mental abilities.
Symptoms include visual hallucinations, movement disorders, poor regulation of body funcions (such as blood pressure, pulse, sweating, etc), cognitive problems, difficulty in sleeping, problems with attention, despression and loss of motivation.