Chris Hemsworth to take a break after learning he has higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth plans to take a break from the entertainment industry after discovering that he has a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease.
Hemsworth, best known for playing the superhero Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), told Vanity Fair magazine that he learnt about his “biggest fear” while working on National Geographic’s Limitless (2022), a docu-series about finding ways to combat ageing and enhance longevity.
For one episode, the 39-year-old actor went for blood tests and was expecting to learn the results and to discover ways to improve his health, all on camera.
However, Dr Peter Attia, the longevity doctor overseeing much of the show, called the show producer and asked to speak to Hemsworth before filming that episode.
It was then the actor learnt in the brief phone conversation that his genetic makeup includes two copies of the gene APOE4, one each from his parents, which is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“I had a bunch of questions, but no one answered them. I wish I’d had a more intense follow-up with it because I didn’t really know what to think,” Hemsworth told Vanity Fair. “I was like, ‘Am I supposed to be worried? Is this concerning?’”
The actor said it was unsettling even though it was not a hard diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
“Most of us, we like to avoid speaking about death in the hope that we’ll somehow avoid it. We all have this belief that we’ll figure it out,” he said.
Hemsworth said one plus point of the information is that he can take measures to counter it.
“If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life,” he said.
“When you have preposition to cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, anything - it’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”
Hemsworth, who recently starred in the MCU movie Thor: Love And Thunder (2022), said the revelation made him want to spend more time with his family.
He is married to Spanish actress Elsa Pataky, 46. The couple have three children together - daughter India Rose, 10, and twin boys, Sasha and Tristan, eight.
“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off. And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do,” Hemsworth said.
“I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.”