Chris Hemsworth Opens Up About Learning He’s at a High Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

Chris Hemsworth has long been hailed as a superhero – not just in the movies, but in real life (albeit figuratively). And while he’s used to being fearless and living his life behind a character, things got real in an episode of Limitless, his new Disney+ show that sees him take on death-defying physical challenges.

During the new series’ fifth episode – which focused on memory – doctors were taking a deep look at Hemsworth’s blood work and genetics. In their research and analysis, they found that Hemsworth had two copies of the APOE4 gene – a gene that’s often linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

A study by the National Institutes of Health concluded that roughly 1 in 4 people have one copy of the gene, while just 2-3% of the population are living with both genes – one of those people being Chris Hemsworth. In a recent interview with TODAY, he said the news came as a complete ‘shock’ to him. 

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Nonetheless, the 39-year-old actor said his recent revelation “became a wonderful motivator to make changes … and pay attention to my sleep habits and further attention to my stress management,” adding his biggest fear is that he ‘won’t be able to remember the life I’ve experienced or my wife, my kids.’ 

When doctors learned of the increased risk, they avoided telling Hemsworth while the cameras were rolling. Instead, they told the show’s director, who later called the actor and let him in on the discovery. He explained how he didn’t really know what to think and that he had plenty of unanswered questions. 

“It was a real, sort of, wake-up (call),” he said. “If I continue in a sprint, then the finish line being death. One day I’ll be there and I’ll go, ‘Oh yeah, what just happened?’ I had no idea it was gonna teach me… that we get one shot at (life), as far as we know, and make the most of it,” he says in the episode. 

The producers didn’t want to force Hemsworth into using any of the footage about them talking about the results, so they offered him a version of the episode that didn’t include it. Hemsworth ultimately let them use the footage, adding it might encourage others to “take better care of themselves” and “understand.”

Chris Hemsworth Steps Outside His Comfort Zone in ‘Limitless’

Chris Hemsworth is used to living life behind the mask of a character, but he’s playing someone he doesn’t get to play often (in front of the camera, at least) – himself. With his new Disney+ show Limitless, he steps out of his comfort zone to take on some of life’s biggest and most death-defying challenges. 

Some of those challenges walking on a crane 1,000 feet in the air, surfing in the freezing cold Arctic, fasting for four days before hunting for food, climbing a 100-foot rope, navigating through the wilderness without a GPS or map, and living life as an older individual in a suit that mimics some of the struggles. 

“New scientific research is shattering conventional wisdom about the human body and offering fascinating insights into how we can all unlock our body’s superpowers to fight illness, perform better and even reverse the aging process. This science is put to the test by Hemsworth,” reads the Disney+ description.

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As for his Alzheimer’s risk, Hemsworth isn’t going to let it stop him from living his life, but it’s something he’ll be more aware of as he grows older. “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation and this is what it is —and it’s up in a few months,” the actor said. “It’s not quite that situation, thankfully,” he explained.

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