While being busy filming his docuseries Limitless, actor Chris Hemsworth, 39, undergone genetic tests which revealed he had two copies of the gene APOE4, one from each of his parents, which according to a study from the National Institute of Aging represents “strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease.”
A 2021 study conducted by the National Institute of Health stated that only 2 to 3 percent of people have both copies of the gene, like in Hemsworth’s case. “[T]he plan was to on-camera tell me all the results and then talk about how you can improve this and that,” Hemsworth shared in an interview with Vanity Fair published November 18. “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.’” The actor was told that the results revealed he was “eight to ten times” more likely to get the disease.
Another proof of the high risk is the fact that Hemsworth’s grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” he said. “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 kids, be with my wife.”
This was yet another eye-opener that his hectic working schedule prevented him from spending more time with his family, daughter Indiana, 10, his twin sons Tristan and Sasha, 8, and wife Elsa Pataky.
“Doing an episode on death and facing your own mortality made me go, ‘Oh God, I’m not ready to go yet’,” he said. “Then you start talking about kids and family and going, ‘Oh my God, they’re getting older, they’re growing up and I keep slapping another movie on top of another movie.’ Before you know it, they’re 18 and they’ve moved out of house, and I missed the window.”
Hemsworth revealed that he was offered a version of the episode where they didn’t talk about the test results, but he said no and insisted on keeping it in the final version.
“I thought, ‘No, look, if this is a motivator for people to take better care of themselves and also understand that there are steps you can take—then fantastic.’ 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.”
Now that he is taking some time off of work doesn’t mean he resigned or quit his career. On the contrary, he’s just taking time to spend more time with his family and prioritize what is most important to him. At the same time, he hopes those who read his interview and see the episode would be encouraged to do just the same.
“You don’t know when your time’s up, you don’t know what tomorrow holds,” he said. “Whether or not any of this information helps you live longer, it’s about living better right now. Whatever you do right now to benefit your future self is having a huge benefit in your current self.”
We are sending our love and prayers to Chris and his family.
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