While working on his new docuseries, National Geographic’s Limitless with Chris Hemsworth, the 39-year-old actor had genetic testing and discovered that he has a greater than average chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
People’s recent article, entitled “Chris Hemsworth Learned He Has a Greater Chance of Getting Alzheimer’s Disease: ‘It Was Pretty Shocking’,” says the series features Hemsworth pushing his body’s limits to beat stress, maximize performance and fight back aging. In the fifth episode, “Memory,” a physician informs that star that he has two copies of the gene APOE4. This gene is linked to an increased risk of the disease, the actor revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“They took all my bloodwork and did a bunch of tests, and the plan was to on-camera tell me all the results and then talk about how you can improve this and that,” Hemsworth told the outlet.
“And Peter Attia, who is the longevity doctor in that episode, and overseeing a lot of the show, called [show creator] Darren [Aronofsky] and said, ‘I don’t want to tell him this on camera. We need to have an off-side conversation and see if he even wants this to be in the show.’ It was pretty shocking because he called me up and he told me.”
The tests showed that the star of Thor and Extraction is eight to 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s in the future.
“The show, which initially was an exploration of longevity and, of course, should be fun, became even more relevant and important for me, even more poignant than I ever thought it would be,” Hemsworth told Vanity Fair. “It was a really good catalyst to dive into everything I needed to be doing in either the prevention front or the management front or however you want to classify it. It’s not a pre-deterministic gene, but it is a strong indication.”
Hemsworth’s grandfather also has Alzheimer’s, so learning about his own genes wasn’t a total surprise.
“My concern was I just didn’t want to manipulate it and overdramatize it and make it into some sort of hokey grab at empathy, or whatever, for entertainment,” said Hemsworth, who shares twin sons Sasha and Tristan, 8, and daughter India, 10, with wife Elsa Pataky. “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation.”
Hemsworth took it as an opportunity to make positive changes. His recent health news only reinforced the importance of keeping it up.
“If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life. When you have predisposition to cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, anything—it’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”
Reference: People (Nov. 17, 2022) “Chris Hemsworth Learned He Has a Greater Chance of Getting Alzheimer’s Disease: ‘It Was Pretty Shocking’”