In a recent announcement, renowned actor Chris Hemsworth (of Marvel fame) shared his ApoE 4/4 genotype, igniting a very public conversation regarding genetic risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. As the ApoE genotype plays a central role in the disease risk analysis we utilize here at the Prevention Center for Heart and Brain Health, Hemsworth’s announcement provides an opportunity to review the importance of ApoE genotypes while highlighting the utility of the Bale Doneen Method to mitigate genetic risk through personalized medicine and intensive lifestyle modifications.
As a review, Apolipoprotein E — or ApoE — is a protein involved in the transport and metabolism of cholesterol and other lipids. ApoE exists in different forms (with one inherited from each parent), ApoE2, ApoE3, and ApoE4. Research has clearly demonstrated a connection between the ApoE4 genotype and an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Since each individual carries two copies of the ApoE gene, it is possible to carry not one, but two copies of the ApoE4 gene, a situation affecting about 2-5% of the American population, including Hemsworth. Individuals who inherit one copy of the ApoE4 allele from either parent have roughly three times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease when compared to those without the allele.