The recording of the National Geographic documentary Limitless has changed the life of Chris Hemsworth (Melbourne, 39 years old). The Australian actor has a lot to thank for his new documentary series, which focuses on exploring the potential of the human body and how it affects the passage of time. The Thor star underwent a series of genetic tests to see — through his DNA — what the future held for him. And he found out. Doctors found two copies of the APOE4 gene, one from his mother and one from his father, whose studies have linked an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. And he has decided not to hide it from the public and talk about it in interviews to raise awareness about the importance of having medical checkups.

Limitless shows the performer pushing his body to the limit to overcome stress, maximize performance and fight aging. It is not until the fifth episode, Memory, when a doctor explains to her what they have found in her DNA. “They did blood tests and a lot of tests. The idea was to explain the results to me in front of the camera and talk about how it could be improved”, explains the actor in an interview with Vanity Fair. “Petter Attia, who is the doctor and who oversees a lot of the show, called [the show’s creator] Darren Aronofsky and said, ‘I don’t want to say this on camera. We need to have an offside conversation to find out if he wants this on the show.’ It was pretty shocking,” Hemsworth recounts.

Tests revealed that the Marvel star has an eight to 10-plus chance of developing the disease in the future. One in four people has a single copy of the gene, but not even 3% of the population has both, according to a 2021 study by the National Institutes of Health. “The show, which was initially about longevity, would have to have been fun, and it became very important to me”, he continues explaining in the interview. Taking advantage of the diagnosis, the doctor explained the procedure to follow and what he needed to do to prevent and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

 Although the opinion took the actor by surprise, his grandfather was diagnosed with the disease in an advanced stage, so he already knew the risk of being a carrier of the gene. “He speaks Dutch, mixes languages ​​and then makes up new words,” Hemsworth explains. He did not want at any time to make a show of the diagnosis and took it with another life lesson: “I did not want to manipulate it, over-dramatize it or turn it into an attempt at empathy on the part of others.” In fact, the interpreter was offered to broadcast the episode without talking about the disease: “This can be a motivation for people to take better care of themselves and for them to understand that there are steps they can take to prevent it.”

Since 2010, Hemsworth has been married to the Spanish actress Elsa Pataky, with whom he has three children: India Rose (10 years old) and the twins Sasha and Tristan (8). The interpreter has not told them anything: “I don’t think they can understand it. It’s not like they gave me a death date and it was in a few months. It is not that situation, fortunately. Someday I’m sure we’ll discuss it so they can get tested.” In an interview for the television program Good Morning America, he also acknowledged that his “greatest fear” is forgetting about his family: “The idea that I will not be able to remember the life that I have experienced, my wife or my children… is Probably my biggest fear.”

“The idea that I won’t be able to remember the life I’ve experienced or my wife, my kids, this is probably my biggest fear.”Chris Hemsworth discovers he has a risk of developing Alzheimer’s eight to 10 times higher than the general population while filming his.

 Since the episode was taped, Hemsworth has been completely focused on his health. “I am grateful that I have a whole arsenal of tools to better prepare and prevent bad things from happening. The benefit of preventive steps is that it affects the rest of your life”, underlines the actor. The Hollywood star acknowledges that he has already gotten used to those closest to him making jokes about the diagnosis. “I feel like my memory is getting worse. It will be a placebo effect… or it’s happening!… It’s my excuse now”, he joked in the interview in Vanity Fair.

He is not the first public figure to be given a negative diagnosis as a result of a television program. In September, actor Ryan Reynolds was discovered to have a polyp while filming his first colonoscopy as part of a challenge to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer. An act that, as he explained, saved his life.