Chris Hemsworth, while working on National Geographic Unlimiteda new docuseries to try to combat the natural decline that accompanies aging, underwent a series of genetic tests. What he discovered was not something he could have predicted.
Genetic testing revealed Hemsworth’s unusual composition, as he possesses two copies of the gene APOE4 -oone from his mother and the other from his father. Studies have linked this to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. While one in four people carry only one copy of the gene, only 2-3% of the population have both and these individuals are eight to ten times more likely to develop the disease.
Hemsworth reiterated, during his vanity lounge interviewthat it was not a “difficult diagnosis” of Alzheimer’s disease, but ‘double occurrence of the gene’ makes it more susceptible to disease.
Despite the devastating nature of this revelation, Hemsworth says he’s grateful he found out about it early so he could start managing the risk, focus on his physical and mental health, and maybe even delay or lessen the risk. development of the disorder for as long as possible. as long as possible.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It’s a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a range of different symptoms ranging from cognitive dysfunction (eg, memory loss, language difficulties) to psychiatric and behavioral symptoms (eg, depression, hallucinations, delusions, agitation).
Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 6% of the population, generally aged over 65. The disease becomes more degenerative and debilitating over approximately 15 to 25 years as symptoms worsen and increasingly impinge on an individual’s ability to maintain independence and carry out daily activities . The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease has increased significantly since 1990 due to the aging population and is expected to exceed 152 million cases by 2050.
The brain makes a person what he is, being responsible for the intricacies of our personalities. Our brain is the reason we are able to communicate with each other, preserve the memories, create emotions, move and think. The brain is only able to do all these things thanks to the billions of neurons that make it up.
However, over a lifetime, people can begin to lose more and more neurons due to various factors such as cardiovascular disorders, traumatic injuries and genetic diseases. The weakening and subsequent loss of these neurons disrupts a person’s ability to function.
In Alzheimer’s disease, large clusters and rope-like tangles form around neurons in the cortex of the brain. These clumps, called plaques, are deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid and are often the first indicators of the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The accumulation of this beta-amyloid protein in the brain prevents effective communication between neurons. The tangles are made of p-tau and grow in neurons, eventually killing them.
A person begins to develop Alzheimer’s disease long before showing physical and mental symptoms. The first stage is pre-clinical, with the individual showing no obvious symptoms, the condition gradually worsens until the person begins to lose awareness of their surroundings. Recent brain imaging studies of adults with and without dementia suggest that these plagues in the brain”may appear as early as ten years before the onset of physical symptoms.
Due to the aging of the population, the increasing number of people potentially suffering from Alzheimer’s disease puts enormous pressure on the health system and social services. Further research needs to be conducted to facilitate a better understanding of this neurodegenerative disease. Who knows, maybe one day this incurable and progressive disease will become curable thanks to the magic of science…