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Brad Pitt Discloses Medical Condition That He’s Ashamed About

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool

Brad Pitt is one of the world's most influential and wealthiest actors. It's Brad f-ing Pitt, man. The Oscar winner has a diverse range of work that spans decades. The man has done almost every genre. You name it—he's tried his hand at drama, science fiction, action, horror, comedy, and thrillers. 

His breakout started in the 1990s with "Thelma and Louise," which starred Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in the lead roles. Then came "A River Runs Through It," "Legends of the Fall," "Interview with a Vampire," and "Se7en."  

He's searched the world, finding a cure for a zombie pandemic in "World War Z." He was Danny Ocean's right-hand man. He played a crazed environmentalist in "12 Monkeys." He tried finding a way to beat the elite of the MLB in "Moneyball." He fought Nazis as a tank commander in "Fury" and scalped them in "Inglorious Basterds." He's also played a dull-witted trainer that gets in way over his head with tragic results in "Burn After Reading." He has done it all. 

Pitt's role as a producer is just as prolific, with films like "Eat, Pray, Love," "The Departed," and the "Kick-Ass" films. He's also getting older. He plans to step away from acting when he turns 60. He's also dealing with health issues. No, he didn't start drinking again, but he is experiencing a form of blindness. He can't recognize faces, which he admits is a source of shame. 

In an interview with GQ, he said that this affliction might give him a reputation of being distant, aloof, and self-interested. He hasn't been officially diagnosed, but facial blindness is a real disorder (via CBS News): 

The 58-year-old actor, who has never been formally diagnosed with the condition, has said in the past that he struggles to remember and recognize faces, and that has made him seem aloof, he told GQ. He said he's ashamed of it and said he wants to meet another person who can relate.

Prosopagnosia affects people in varying ways. Some people can't recognize familiar faces – even their own family members, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Others can't distinguish unknown faces. Some can't distinguish how a face is different from an object.

The disorder can be caused by several things – a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or certain neurodegenerative diseases. But it can also be a congenital disorder, present at birth, and it appears to run in families. That means, it is likely to be the result of a genetic mutation or deletion. 

[…]

As for treatment, people with prosopagnosia should work to develop "compensatory strategies" to recognize people. Many people with the condition use other signifiers, like a person's voice, to identify them. However, nothing is as effective as recognizing a face, and the condition can be social crippling, NINDS says.

[…]

In a 2017 interview with The Carousel, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he has prosopagnosia. "Strange hair, certain clothings, a voice that I can recognize," he said. "A lot of people have this but you never know as it never know unless it shows up as an outstanding thing."

Pitt is not alone. Recently, Bruce Willis was forced into retirement after he was diagnosed with aphasia, which is a cognitive disorder that robs someone of their ability to communicate. Willis' condition is evident in the last string of films he did which are nowhere near the caliber of productions that made him a star. He's not featured much, and much of the dialogue is simple as his mental faculties rapidly deteriorated. It's not the end of the world for these actors or anyone with these conditions, but sadly, there's no cure. 

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