Ted Turner has Lewy body dementia, a progressive brain disorder, the CNN founder tells Ted Koppel in an interview to be broadcast this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning.
"It's a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer's. It's similar to that. But not nearly as bad. Alzheimer's is fatal," Turner, 79, tells Koppel in an excerpt of the interview released Friday by CBS News. "Thank goodness I don't have that. But, I also have got, let's — the one that's — I can't remember the name of it."
After a pause, according to CBS, Turner said, "Dementia. I can't remember what my disease is."
Turner, who was interviewed on his ranch in Bozeman, Mont., reported his symptoms to be forgetfulness and fatigue. But as CBS News notes, he has been "known for going through euphoric highs and dark lows, which were initially diagnosed as symptoms of manic depression. Turner says that was a misdiagnosis."
Lewy body was a plot point in the 2011-12 Starz drama Boss, in which Kelsey Grammer starred as a fictional Chicago mayor who was trying to hide his diagnosis while experiencing symptoms that included hallucinations. The actor also participated in a public-service campaign for the Lewy Body Dementia Association to promote awareness of a condition that's believed to affect some 1.3 million Americans.
According to the LBDA, "Lewy body dementia is an umbrella term for dementia associated with the presence of Lewy bodies (abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein) in the brain." Symptoms vary, and are treatable, according to the LBDA.
Other topics of Sunday's interview include Turner talking about the current state of his former network — he thinks "they're stickin' with politics a little too much" — and the idea Turner once had to run for president.