What is the dementia gene found in the body of “Thor”?

It has been revealed that Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth, famous for his roles in Marvel’s ‘Thor’, has a gene that predisposes him to Alzheimer’s disease. The dementia gene Hemsworth is said to have is “ApoE4” (Apoi 4).

According to the Central Dementia Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare on 26, the estimated number of dementia patients aged 65 and over nationwide is approximately 840,192 in 2020. It is expected to steadily increase and reach 1,360. 864 in 2030, 2,173,089 in 2040 and 3,023,404 in 2050.

Chris Hemsworth. © AFP=News1

Dementia is a symptom of cognitive impairment that prevents people from carrying out their daily activities. There are many diseases that can cause dementia. Among them, Alzheimer’s is considered the leading cause of dementia. ApoE4 is a representative gene that causes Alzheimer’s.

In Korea, people with impaired cognition are usually screened through screening tests, and then the cause of dementia is identified for those with symptoms. The cause of dementia can be determined by various methods such as CT and MRI. Among the causes of dementia there is also a blood test to check for the presence of ApoE4.

ApoE is an allelic gene that helps restore nerves in the central nervous system. Each person receives 1 ApoE each from the father and mother. ApoE includes ApoE2, ApoE3 and ApoE4 in detail.

Therefore, everyone has one pair of ApoE genes and there are six combinations. ApoE3/ApoE3 combination holders are the highest at over 60%.

Lee Chan-nyeong, a professor at Korea University’s Anam Hospital, explained: ‘ApoE3 is a normal gene that most people have, and ApoE2 is a resistance factor that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “.

The problem is the ApoE4 gene. It is known that the percentage of people with the ApoE4/ApoE4 combination is about 5%. About 20% of people have one copy of ApoE4 and a quarter of the population have more than one copy of the ApoE4 gene.

If only one ApoE4 is present, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s dementia is 2 to 3 times higher than that of ApoE3/ApoE3 carriers. If you have both, it will increase significantly up to about 15 times ApoE3/ApoE3. Hemsworth has two such genes.

Professor Lee said: ‘When two ApoE4s are present, it is estimated that over 90% of people over the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer’s before they die.’

Of course, not everyone with the ApoE4 gene will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Many Alzheimer’s patients lack the ApoE4 gene.

In Korea, the presence of ApoE4 can only be confirmed with a blood test.

ApoE4 blood tests are available not only in general hospitals but also at the clinic level. The cost varies depending on the size of the hospital, but can be tested for around 100,000 won.

However, even though ApoE4 has been identified, there is still no adequate treatment. Instead, efforts to prevent Alzheimer’s disease to some extent by correcting lifestyle are recommended.

Professor Lee advised: ‘Lots of physical activity and games that improve cognitive skills can be beneficial’ and ‘you can live a life of complete well-being while eating nutritious food’.

“Even if ApoE4 is found in blood tests, you can reduce risk factors in your daily life while waiting for new medical technologies to emerge,” he said.

Hemsworth underwent genetic testing while filming a National Geographic documentary. He decided to try to prevent dementia by taking time off activities and spending more time with his family.

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On the other hand, overseas research results were announced in May 2020 that people with the ApoE4 gene have twice the risk of COVID-19 infection than those without it.

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