Chris Hemsworth and the "Alzheimer's Gene" ApoE4. What you can do to reduce your risk for Alzheimers
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
On his new show ‘Limitless’, the famous Thor actor, Chris Hemsworth, discovered that he has inherited two copies of the ApoE4 gene. Something that only occurs in 2-3% of the population. Compared to the general population, this makes Chris 8-10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease.
The ApoE4 gene is a protein that helps carry cholesterol and fats in the bloodstream. While the exact ways in which this gene increases risk for developing Alzheimer's has not yet been concluded. According to work published in ‘frontiers in neuroscience’ by Husain and colleagues, “ApoE, present in the CNS and the periphery, represents a critical link between these two compartments and could influence Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis by disrupting the blood–brain barrier (BBB) integrity from both sides...”.
News like this would be enough to throw someone flat on their rears, Chris on the other hand decided to take a more proactive approach. As he witnesses his own grandfather go through this disease, he used this new information as a catalyst to find out what preventitive measures he can take now to help him in the future.
“When you have prediposition 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,” - Chris said in an interview with vanity fair.
He is defintely on the right path. While there may be no cure for Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementias; consistent healthy habits can go a long way. Unlike Chris, many of us do not have a genetic risk for developing Alzheimer's, however, we all face an invetibale decline in our cognition. Doing something, is better than nothing.
So what can you do?
3 Simple Things
1. Get less sedentary
Work on moving around more. Set your self a small and achievable steps goal (~6,000 steps/day) and try to hit it 80% of the time. Once it becomes managable, add an extra 500 steps a day.
2. Reduce your stress
Stress is a key factor in the development and the progression of Alzheimer's, in addition to increasing one's mortality rate. Work on being more mindful of your emotions. Notice when your emotions are getting the best of you and learn to get them back in control. Work on building a daily meditation routine for 5 minutes in the morning, or before bed.
3. Cognitive Exercises
Like the one's we do at Brain Exercise Initiative. The brain needs exercise too! Simple ‘exercises’ like reading out loud, writing, and doing some quick arithmetic can have compouding effects on brain health if done consistently over a long period of time.
Despite all efforts, Chris may still develop Alzheimer's. In fact, so might you. However, taking proactive steps and finding ways to improve your life in the now is never a bad idea. As Martin Luther King puts it...
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
To learn more about The Brain Exercise Initiative, and what it is we do, please visit our website for more information. If you or a loved on has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and would like to schedule free sessions with our team, do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.