Chris Hemsworth Against Alzheimer’s Disease: Thor’s Greatest Challenge

By: Dr. Paul Savage

Home / News / Chris Hemsworth Against Alzheimer’s Disease: Thor’s Greatest Challenge

Being a fan of Thor since the age of 10, I have watched Thor battle some of the greatest supervillains of all time! Gorr the God Butcher, Mangog, Surtur, the Greek God of War, and the Mighty Ares have all challenged and lost to the marvelous superhero Thor, the God of Thunder.

Casting Chris Hemsworth for the role of Thor was, pure genius! Chris Hemsworth shares many attributes in common with the God of Thunder, including strength, courage, empathy, and wisdom.

So, when I read the article in People Magazine, I was not surprised that Chris had chosen to take on one of the greatest supervillains humanity has ever faced. A villain so mysterious, insidious, and complex that it takes away our loved ones slowly and painfully, leaving only a shell after the essence of who they are is all but destroyed.

This supervillain’s name is Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia. It causes health conditions of ongoing memory problems, language difficulties, trouble solving problems, and other thinking issues that disrupt everyday activities. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, making up 35-80% of all dementia cases, depending on the study.

Over 6 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s Disease. The lifetime chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease are:

  • 1 in 5 women
  • 1 in 10 men


One in three older adults dies with Alzheimer’s Disease. More seniors die from Alzheimer’s Disease than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Alzheimer’s Disease is always fatal. No one wins or survives against Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is one of the most sinister diseases known and rightly wins a place among the world’s greatest supervillains.

I lost my grandmother and mother to this neurodegenerative disease. I watched my mom change before my eyes. She went from becoming more forgetful to afraid and eventually became an unrecognizable, angry person. In the final stages, as though nothing could be worse than watching her slip away, she ended up as a shell. My mom could not move, did not react to anything, and did not remember anything or anyone. She was lost to the supervillain, Alzheimer’s.

I understood Chris Hemsworth’s feelings when he learned he had the APOE4 marker and was at risk for Alzheimer’s. I empathize as I did with my mom. I have been a doctor for 40 years, and I’ve seen many patients struggle with this news, just like Chris.

Thirty years ago, I advised people with a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease to do certain things to stay healthy. These steps included eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, staying physically active, and regularly detoxifying their bodies. Outside of that, I had little advice to offer. Advice that I also needed to heed.

Since then, I have pursued a career in longevity medicine. Studying and learning what we can all do to build a better defense against the supervillain Alzheimer’s Disease.

Early Detection: "If you do not look, you will not know."

Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease has progressed light-years in the past decade. No longer are physicians held hostage to a lack of information. Researchers continue to discover tests that provide earlier detection, the ability for immediate intervention, and careful prevention for those at risk. I have listed some current tests to detect the risk and early detection of Alzheimer’s.


Genetic Testing

Parkinson – Alzheimer – Dementia Panel from Dante Labs

There are genetic tests available that anyone can take to evaluate their risk for Alzheimer’s. Dante Labs has a specific genetic test that analyzes genetic variants and significant factors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Genetic testing can confirm a diagnosis, provide information on disease severity and progression, and inform treatment and management decisions. Testing can also notify the family, help plan decisions, and reassure unaffected family members.

Cost: $1,000



APOE Alzheimer’s Risk 

This blood test checks for the APOE4 variant, linked to a higher risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

APOE4 is not necessary or sufficient for Alzheimer’s Disease development. APOE4 is common, with 25% of the general population having one copy of this gene, giving them a 3X higher risk of Alzheimer’s. With a patient who has two copies of this variant, their risk of developing Alzheimer’s is 12X higher than average. Among patients with late-onset AD, 50% to 70% are positive for APOE4.

Cost: $250


Quest Diagnostics

AD-Detect (Alzheimer’s Disease) test.

The AD-Detect Test for Alzheimer’s Disease measures two peptide amyloid- βs: A-beta 42 and A-beta 40 and provides the A-beta 42/40 blood level ratio. Amyloid beta proteins accumulate and form plaques in the brain, which are linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The ratio is used in Alzheimer’s research to indicate the presence of amyloid beta proteins in the brain. A lower ratio of A-beta 42 to A-beta 40 in the brain is associated with a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cost: $399


SPECT and PET Scans

SPECT (single-photon emission computerized tomography) and Amyloid PET (positron emission tomography) scans have emerged as the diagnostic test of choice in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

SPECT and PET scans are advantageous in the early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is characterized by beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposits and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) of abnormal hyperphosphorylated tau protein forming intraneuronal plaques. These accumulations alter the formal function of neurons. In addition, both types of scans easily detect decreased brain activity, leading to an earlier recognition and intervention period.

SPECT Scan Cost: $5,000

PET Scan Costs: $10,000

Healthy Scans: SPECT left and PET right

Scans that show Alzheimer’s Disease: SPECT left and PET right

8 Prevention Tips: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Do not let anyone or any doctor tell you that there is not anything you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. This is one of the areas of longevity medicine that I am most excited and passionate about.

Not only do these preventative methods delay Alzheimer’s Disease, but they also markedly reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and immune dysfunction.

  1. Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure High blood pressure remains the “silent killer.” Your sensitive neurons struggle to survive under the constant onslaught of the BANG-BANG-BANG of high blood pressure. It causes your brain cells to bend, distort, and then break.
  2. Manage Blood Sugar Simply said, EAT SMART. We recommend five cups of colored, leafy, and cruciferous vegetables daily. Eating high-quality proteins like clean fish, free-range eggs, chicken, nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados would be best.AVOID processed foods. Remember, do not eat it if it comes in a box, bottle, or bag!
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight For every 10 pounds you are overweight, your risk of Alzheimer’s climbs. This statistic also applies to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and immune dysfunction. Tips for maintaining a healthy weight: eat only 80% of the food on your plate and fast for 8-16 hours daily!
  4. Be Physically Active Keeping your body moving is one of the most important things you can do. Try exercises such as weightlifting, swimming, dancing, yoga, Pilates, resistance training, stretching, core strength, and flexibility to improve your health. Remember, when you stop moving, Alzheimer’s catches you.
  5. Quit Smoking Seriously? Do we really need to have this conversation? There is NOTHING to lose (except bad breath, decayed teeth, and blemished skin) and EVERYTHING to gain when you stop smoking.
  6. Avoid Excessive Drinking Stop excessive drinking, actually, forget drinking, period. NO AMOUNT of alcohol is good for you. The studies are in, the verdict given, the answer straight up… do not drink alcohol.
  7. Prevent and Correct Hearing Loss When you lose your hearing, even slightly, you become disconnected from your environment. The brain needs stimulation through words, visions, and puzzles. As you age, it’s essential to have your hearing checked regularly. Hearing aids are the new sexy!
  8. Get Enough Sleep Sleeping too much (over 10 hours) or too little (under 5 hours) increases the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Simply put, your brain needs time to recharge with restful, fully oxygenated sleep. This helps your brain replace energy and neurotransmitters and reduce oxidation and inflammation.

Indicated Interventions: "There's more than one way to skin a cat"




Aducanumab (Aduhelm®) is designed to target and remove specific forms of beta-amyloid that accumulate into plaques in the brain. The plaque may contribute to cell death and tissue loss in areas of the brain significant for memory, thinking, learning, and behaviors.

The brain goes on creating beta-amyloid, but aducanumab decreases the amount. Its removal may also help other processes in your brain to operate more efficiently.

However, typical side effects include areas of brain swelling, minor brain bleeding, headaches, or falls. The patients in the EMERGE trial receiving high dose aducanumab showed 22% improvement.



Lecanemab (Leqembi®) is an antibody intravenous (IV) infusion therapy that targets and removes beta-amyloid from the brain. It has received traditional approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat early Alzheimer’s Disease, including people living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease who have confirmation of elevated beta-amyloid in the brain.

Leqembi lowers beta-amyloid in the brain and reduces cognitive and functional decline in people living with early Alzheimer’s Disease.


Cholinesterase inhibitors

Cholinesterase inhibitors are prescribed to treat symptoms related to memory, thinking, language, judgment, and other thought processes. These medications prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger important for memory and learning.

These drugs support communication between nerve cells. The cholinesterase inhibitors most prescribed are Donepezil (Aricept®), Rivastigmine (Exelon®), and Galantamine (Razadyne®). Though generally well-tolerated, if side effects occur, they include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and increased frequency of bowel movements.


Glutamate regulators

Glutamate regulators are prescribed to improve memory, attention, reason, language, and the ability to perform simple tasks. This type of drug works by regulating the activity of glutamate, a chemical messenger that helps the brain process information. This drug is known as Memantine (Namenda®). Known side effects include headache, constipation, confusion, and dizziness.

Therapeutic Plasma Exchange

AMBAR (Alzheimer’s Management by Albumin Replacement) was a 16-month-long study where patients were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and treated with Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (TPE).

TPE, also known as plasmapheresis, is a procedure that involves extracting blood from the body and separating it into two components – plasma and healthy cells. The plasma (containing toxins, autoantibodies, and inflammatory mediators) is discarded and exchanged with a tailored saline-albumin combination solution. The albumin is combined with the red blood cells and then returned to the body.

The AMBAR study included 496 patients with mild to moderate AD.

  • The patients underwent weekly TPE sessions for six weeks.
  • The patients were given Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and other cognitive assessments to monitor AD symptoms. The patients were scored at baseline and after the first TPE session.
  • After completing the six weeks of TPE, the patients were scored at 7, 9, 12, and 14 months.


The cognitive and ADL scores indicate that thanks to TPE, moderate Alzheimer’s Disease patients had 61% less progression of symptoms. These results are more significant than with any medications developed to date.


Exciting questions are now emerging. If TPE can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, can TPE also slow the progression of the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease?

To Chris Hemsworth, we commend you and support you. Your courage, strength, and wisdom prove you are as magnificent as the God you portray in Marvel movies. We are grateful that you are raising awareness of proactive methods to strengthen your mind and optimize your health. We know that you will battle this potential diagnosis with every weapon available. Did you happen to walk off set with your hammer, Mjölnir?

MDLifespan Can Help

There are options for people concerned about the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. You can take the first step in early detection or start preventative therapies. MDLifespan is the country’s premiere center for longevity, located in Chicago, IL. MDLifespan offers all the testing and Therapeutic Plasma Exchange as listed in this article. To learn more, visit and schedule a call with a client service advisor.