Actor Chris Hemsworth is thinking about his own mortality after receiving news that he’s genetically predisposed to eventually developing Alzheimer’s, a condition which also affected his grandfather.
The 39-year-old “Limitless” star made the comments during a recent interview with Vanity Fair.
“Most of us, we like to avoid speaking about death,” Hemsworth told the publication. “Then to all of a sudden be told some big indicators are actually pointing to this as the route which is going to happen, the reality of it sinks in. Your own mortality.”
The Australian-born actor has two copies of the gene APOE4 which makes him “eight to 10 times more likely” to develop Alzheimer’s in the future. He’s part of an estimated 2-3% of the population carrying a copy of the gene from both parents. Alzheimer’s is a progressive type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior.
The “Thor: Love and Thunder” alum also mentioned how his grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and often “slips in and out of Dutch,” English, and a “mash-up and then maybe some other new words as well.”
He said the news became both a “self-deprecating sort of joke” and a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“I feel like my memory’s getting worse,” the actor told Vanity Fair. “It’s a placebo effect — or it’s taking place! … It’s my excuse now.”
Hemsworth said getting the news has changed his perspective and made him think more about how he spends time. He’s been doing “outdoorsy and adventurous” things with his wife Elsa Pataky and their three children. The actor is also trying to stay as healthy as possible.
“I feel thankful that I have in my arsenal the sort of tools to best prepare myself and prevent things happening in that way,” he told the publication. “The benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life.”
“When you have predisposition… it’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement fitness,” Hemsworth explained. “It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”
The Marvel star also confirmed that he wasn’t sharing the diagnosis to get attention or sympathy, but was rather seeking to spread awareness and encourage fans “to take better care of themselves.”
“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,” Hemsworth said. “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation.”