While filming a documentary exploring the effects of time and age, beloved Australian actor Chris Hemsworth was informed by doctors that he was eight to 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Despite knowing he has two copies of the ApoE4 gene — the strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease — the 39-year-old remains optimistic, he said. Vanity Fair“I’m just not going to focus on the future – and what’s next?”
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If you think the anger of some fans over Liam Hemsworth replace Henry Cavill for The Witcher season four is big, just wait until we see the outpouring of support for his brother. While filming episode five of the National Geographic 2022 documentary Without limits, Chris Hemsworth was told he has a higher risk of developing dementia at a younger age, also known as Familial Alzheimer’s, which affects people in their 40s and 50s. As a result, Hemsworth announced plans to take an indefinite break from the acting world to spend more time with his family.
But don’t get discouraged. Hear what he told the tabloids: “My only concern is not wanting to lie and overdramatise”. Looking for “some kind of hokey catch on empathy, or whatever, for entertainment,” Hemsworth said.
“It’s not like I’ve been given up.”
A fate that has befallen many young actors over the years, including Michael J. Fox, who was forced to retire after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. However, Hemsworth said it was the trigger he needed “to take a break”.
“Doing an episode about death and facing your own death made me go: ‘Oh my God, I’m not ready,'” he said. “I want to sit and be in this place with a sense of calmness and gratitude. It really triggered something in me to want to take some time.
While he has yet to receive a definitive diagnosis, Hemsworth said he wasn’t too surprised by the revelation because his grandfather battled the same condition and said the show made it even more “sick” for him.
“The show, which was originally an exploration of longevity and, of course, should be fun, became more relevant and important to me, even more fun than I thought it would be,” Hemsworth said. “If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventive measures is that it affects the rest of your life… It’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It’s all the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.
While the news may seem surprising, given the number of exercise articles Hemsworth posts each year, ApoE4, or the apolipoprotein E gene, has nothing to do with fitness. According to information published by ABC from the US National Institute on Aging (NIA), 25 percent of people carry one copy of ApoE4, and only 2 to 3 percent have two copies.
“It’s not a pre-deterministic gene, but it’s a strong indication,” he said. “Ten years ago, I think it was more decisive.” Which hopefully means there’s a chance Hemsworth could live without developing dementia-like symptoms.
But when asked if he’s still excited about acting, Hemsworth replied, “I’m not passive, but more resigned to things. I don’t mean that in an apathetic way…But now there’s a quietness in my mind about all of this.
However, how long Hemsworth decides to stay away from Hollywood is clearly a personal choice and what he wants. If you’d like to learn more about Alzheimer’s, we’ve put together some FAQs below.
Alzheimer’s Disease FAQs
- What is Alzheimer’s Disease? – Alzheimer’s disease is a physical brain condition that shrinks the brain, killing cells, which slowly destroys memory and thinking ability. This is the most common irreversible form of dementia.
- How does Alzheimer’s affect the brain? – Alzheimer’s disease disrupts the brain’s neurons, affecting the way they work and communicate, depleting important brain chemicals and preventing the transport of messages in the brain.
- Are there different types of Alzheimer’s disease? – Yes, Alzheimer’s disease is categorized as sporadic or familial. Sporadic Alzheimer’s is the most common form and usually occurs after the age of 65. Familial Alzheimer’s, also known as hereditary Alzheimer’s or younger-onset dementia, is caused by a very rare genetic condition and causes dementia, usually in people in their 40s and 50s. – an.
- How many Australians have Alzheimer’s disease? – Up to 1 in 10 Australians over 65 and about 3 in 10 Australians over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease.
- What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? – Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease are memory loss and difficulty finding the right words for everyday life. However, since these symptoms are relatively common, it is recommended to visit a doctor to determine the cause of memory problems. Symptoms will also vary as the condition progresses and different areas of the brain are affected.
- How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed? – There is no single test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. However, doctors must perform a series of examinations and clinical consultations to rule out other causes before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made. These tests include a detailed medical history, physical examination, blood and urine tests, psychiatric assessment, neuropsychological tests (to assess memory and thinking ability) and brain scans.
For more information, visit the Dementia Australia website.
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