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Ted Turner Opens Up About Having Lewy Body Dementia

Seen here in 2015, Ted Turner spoke on <em>CBS Sunday Morning </em>about his diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.
Kamil Zihnioglu
Seen here in 2015, Ted Turner spoke on CBS Sunday Morning about his diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.

On Sunday's CBS Sunday Morning, Ted Koppel reminisced about the many profiles of media giant Ted Turner that have aired on the network, beginning all the way back in the 1970s, when he hadn't started CNN but had bought Atlanta's baseball and basketball teams. Now, about to turn 80, Turner told Koppel about his diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.

He acknowledged that in addition to memory difficulties, it causes exhaustion. In fact, as he noted with a tinge of humor, he wasn't able to bring the name of the disease to mind even as he was talking about how it affected him. Turner is still active, however: He was seen not only practicing yoga but continuing to wander his immense Montana ranch on horseback.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Lewy body dementia is caused by protein deposits in the brain — named "Lewy bodies" after the neurologist who discovered them. The deposits cause changes in brain chemistry that disrupt thinking and behavior as well as movement. The disease also reportedly affected actor Robin Williams prior to his death in 2014.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.