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Chris Hemsworth has opened up about his discovery that he has a higher-than-average chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that progressively causes memory loss. Per Vanity Fairthe 39-year-old actor took genetic tests for Limitless, a docuseries that explores how to age slower. The results showed that he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, which has been linked to an increased risk of developing a degenerative brain disorder. According to a 2021 study, just 2 to 3% of people have both copies of the gene. “[T]he plan was to on-camera tell me all the results and then talk about how you can improve this and that,” Hemsworth told Vanity Fair. And Peter Attia, who is the longevity doctor in that episode, and overseeing much 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.’” Hemsworth said he was told that the information meant he was “eight to 10 times” more likely to get the disease.
The Thor: Love and Thunder star, whose grandfather has Alzheimer’s, said the episode forced him to think about his own mortality and the way that he had been “slapping another movie on top of another movie.” “It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” he reflected. And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. Now when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the children, be with my wife.” According to Deadline, the actor has already finished shooting for his next roles in Extraction2 and the Mad Max spin-off Furiosa.
Still, Hemsworth emphasized that he doesn’t want to “manipulate” or “overdramatize” what he learned, noting that he has received a “cause of concern,” not a hard diagnosis. In fact, he said he decided to leave his health revelation in the episode so that other people could learn — like he did — that there are preventative steps that can be taken to combat Alzheimer’s. “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation and this is what it is—and it’s up in a few months,” he said. “It’s not quite that situation, thankfully.”