The longtime Jeopardy host, 78, revealed that he opted to test for the neurodegenerative disease after noticing that he couldn’t recall facts with his usual speed.
“I love doing crossword puzzles, and recently I’d be looking at a clue, it’d be 23 across, and I’d be trying to fit the answer into 26 across. I was always off,” he told Vulture. “Because of that I went to be tested for early Alzheimer’s.”
Trebek’s results were initially concerning.
“The first time they tested me they said, ‘It doesn’t look good,’ ” he said. “Then we did more testing and they said, ‘You’re okay. No need to worry.’ “
Trebek said that the concern wasn’t unexpected given his age.
“It’s natural. I’m 78. It’s not like this happened at 50,” he said. “When it’s clear that it’s time for me to go, I’ll go.”
Talk of his mental fitness comes after speculation earlier this year that Trebek, who is now in his 34th year of hosting the trivia show, would soon retire. He said in June that the odds were “50-50 and a little less” that he would bow out of the show once his contract was up in 2020.
But on Nov. 1, Sony Pictures Television announced that Trebek had extended his contract through the 2021-2022 season.
Trebek had to take a brief break from filming Jeopardy in January after undergoing surgery to remove blood clots in his brain triggered by a fall in October 2017.
In a video update on Jan. 4, Trebek said that the “prognosis is excellent.” He was able to return to filming a few weeks later.