After two decades of acting, Chris Hemsworth has revealed that he will be taking a professional break, after learning that he has a much higher than average chance of developing Alzheimer ‘s disease in the future.
The Australian actor, partner of Elsa Pataky, has become aware of both parents’ inheritance of this gene while filming a new National Geographic docuseries for Disney+, ‘Limitless’, which explores the impacts of time and age. Throughout the series, Hemsworth has undergone multiple genetic tests to see what the future holds for him.
In episode five, the actor who plays ‘Thor’ was filmed when his doctor told him that he was eight to ten times more likely to develop the disease. “His makeup includes two copies of the ApoE4 gene, one from his mother and one from his father,” said Peter Attia, the docuseries’ neurology physician.
Subsequent to this, in a recent interview with the American magazine ‘Vanity Fair’, Hemsworth emphasized that he has not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, however, he told the magazine that the double appearance of the gene places him in a category of much higher risk of being affected by a brain disorder.
“My concern was that I just didn’t want to manipulate what was being seen, or over-dramatize it and turn it into some kind of empathetic nonsense, or whatever, to entertain,” he said. “It’s not like they gave me my withdrawal,” she added.
When asked about his movie continuity, Hemsworth said yes, but he’s going to “recharge now.” “I’m just not going to be so focused on the future,” he said in the interview. “I don’t mean it in an apathetic way, but there is a stillness in my thinking, especially now,” the actor added.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common irreversible dementia brain disorder that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die, slowly destroying memory and thinking skills, according to the US National Institute on Aging (NIA ).
In addition, the report of the Spanish Society of Neurology on World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21) warns that each year some 40,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s are diagnosed in Spain. According to Healthdirect, it affects 1 in 10 Australians over the age of 65.
What is the ApoE4 gene?
There are some genes that can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. ApoE4, or the apolipoprotein E gene, is the strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease. Having one or two copies of this gene in the DNA increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, according to the NIA.
During his life and to a greater extent with age, neurons must be remodeled and repaired to maintain synaptodendritic connections , ApoE4 is found in different cells of the central nervous system (CNS).
Instead, the apoE2 and 3 forms are more effective in normal cell maintenance and repair than apoE4 due to their different characteristics.
The ApoE4 gene is more toxic to neurons, producing neurodegenerative changes and the appearance of tangle-like neurofibrillary structures that cause further deterioration and the appearance of neuronal diseases.
About 25 percent of people carry one copy of ApoE4. Only 2 to 3 percent of the world’s population carries two copies, making Hemsworth an outlier. However, even if a person has two copies of the gene, this does not mean that they will definitely develop Alzheimer’s disease.
How is it diagnosed?
Currently, there is no single test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, according to the MayorClinic. Diagnosis is made after careful clinical consultation.
After eliminating other causes, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made and although there is no particular cure, drug advances can help stabilize the sufferer.
The Alzheimer Catalunya Foundation says that there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and that no treatment can stop the progress of the condition.
However, medications can help stabilize or slow the decline in memory and thinking ability. Medications may be prescribed for secondary symptoms, such as agitation or depression, or to improve sleep.