In middle school, George Clooney developed Bell's palsy, a debilitating condition that partially paralyzes the face. The malady went away within a year.  

The question is: What is exactly "Bell's palsy?"

"Bell’s palsy" is a condition where the nerve that moves the muscles of the face becomes inflamed and swollen.  The swelling causes pressure on the nerve and prevents it from working.  There are many assumptions for the causes of Bell’s palsy, but the most accepted cause is that it is a secondary result of a herpes simplex virus.

As for the diagnosis of the disease, Bell’s palsy is only diagnosed if the doctor cannot identify another cause of sudden facial paralysis.  Some of the causes of facial paralysis may be serious, including cancer, so it is important that all patients with new facial paralysis be examined by a qualified physician, ENT, neurologist or facial plastic surgeon that specializes in facial paralysis.

People typically notice facial paralysis while brushing their teeth. This can be a terrifying experience, but you should have in mind that most people will fully recover.

It has to be noted that Bell’s palsy is relatively uncommon, as it affects approximately 40,000 people in the United States per year.  Both men and women have an equal chance of having Bell’s palsy.  It is more rare in patients under 15 and more common in people older than 60.

George Clooney revealed to the Daily Mirror in 2003 about the period that he was affected with Bell's palsy: "That was the worst time of my life. You know how cruel kids can be. I was mocked and taunted, but the experience made me stronger."

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