Genetic Testing Revealed Chris Hemsworth's Alzheimer's Risk and Here's What He Can Tell You

Genetic Testing Revealed Chris Hemsworth’s Alzheimer’s Risk and Here’s What He Can Tell You

Chris Hemsworth revealed shocking news to his fans this month, saying he was taking a break after discovering he was at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Thor the actor learned the news after taking a genetic test while filming his new Disney+ documentary series Unlimited.

In an interview with vanity lounge, Hemsworth says the test confirmed his “greatest fear” when it comes to neurodegenerative disease.

Through the test, the actor discovered that he had two copies of the APOE4 gene, one from each parent.

While 25% of people carry one copy of APOE4, only 2-3% carry two copies, according to a 2021 study from the National Institutes of Health. This genetic makeup is considered “the strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease”.

The 39-year-old actor says vanity lounge that he considers the results a “blessing” as he can now work on managing his risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Following the news from Hemsworth, we went looking for information on genetic testing and what the experts have to say about doing it.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s disease as “a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior”.

The organization says it is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

There are a number of warning signs when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer Society.

Some of these symptoms include memory loss affecting daily life, difficulty performing familiar tasks, difficulty finding simple words when speaking, and personality changes.

Dr. Constantine Lyketsos, Elizabeth Plank Althouse Professor at Johns Hopkins, says it’s important to understand that not all memory problems are an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

A person in their 40s who has memory problems most likely has them from stress, lack of sleep, or possibly from using substances like alcohol more than the brain can tolerate, said Lyketsos.

“If you’re talking about an 80-year-old, memory changes that start to affect day-to-day functioning, getting lost, having trouble managing medication, driving issues, those are all things that, among other , should lead to a doctor’s evaluation,” the doctor told Narcity.

Can Alzheimer’s disease be detected by genetic testing?

Lyketsos says genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease is done with a simple blood test, which is similar to testing done for heritage sites like 23andMe and Ancestry DNA.

The test will determine the version of a person’s APOE gene.

However, Lyketsos also points out that test results cannot predict with certainty whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

As previously reported, Hemsworth has two copies of the APOE4 gene, called the “risk factor gene” because it increases the risk of developing the disease, according to the US National Institute on Aging.

“Having two copies is even riskier for a possibly slightly younger age of onset,” said Lyketsos, who did not address Hemsworth. “But there are people who (have two copies) in their 90s who don’t get the disease, so again it’s not deterministic, it’s more of a probabilistic increase in risk.”

Should you get tested for this Alzheimer’s gene?

Although the tests can be simple, Lyketsos says he wouldn’t recommend it to everyone for two reasons.

“First of all, deterministic genes are very, very, very rare, so the chances of you carrying them are almost zero,” he told Narcity. “Second, if you test the [APOE4]like I said, it’s not 100% anyway.

“So given that you’re not going to do anything differently, if you know you have two copies, you should already be doing all the right things to prevent dementia.”

The only time he would do the test is when there is a question about a current diagnosis.

How to avoid getting Alzheimer’s disease?

Although research is still ongoing, the Alzheimer’s Association says there is strong evidence that shows people can reduce their risk by making lifestyle changes.

Harvard Medical School recommends 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise three to four days a week.

It is also advisable to follow a Mediterranean diet, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and poultry.

Getting between seven and eight hours of sleep is also important.

Lyketsos says managing diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking are also simple things that can reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s.

“There is also what we call mental and social engagement: […] socially and mentally being part of the church, being part of other community groups, interacting with friends,” Lyketsos pointed out in his interview.

At what age does Alzheimer’s disease begin?

Age is the main factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is rare and usually occurs between the ages of 30 and your mid-60s.

Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is the more common of the two, with people most often showing symptoms in their mid-60s or later.

“It’s very rare before age 60-65 and by the time you hit 85 or older you have about a one in three chance of getting it,” Lyketsos said.

#Genetic #Testing #Revealed #Chris #Hemsworths #Alzheimers #Risk #Heres

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *