[View previous project related to infection and aging]
Approximately a third of deaths in the elderly (>65 yrs) occur due to infectious disease. Infections like pneumonia often occur after a period of immobility or a hospital stay (e.g. a hip fracture) and mark the start of a decline in health and independence. Preventing respiratory infections would provide the elderly more years of independence, improve their quality of life, and reduce the cost of care.
Establishing age-related chronic inflammation as a modifiable risk factor for poor immune function in the elderly
From left: Chris Verschoor and Dawn Bowdish
Dawn Bowdish, Chris Verschoor, Mark Loeb, Guillaume Parè, Alexandra Papaioannou and Jonathan Bramson
Age-associated decline in immune function contributes to three major causes of declining health in the elderly:
- Chronic inflammatory conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease, dementia, and others)
- Infectious disease
Recent data from our laboratory demonstrates that inflammation, which increases with age, is a major driver of declining immune function and reducing inflammation improves some elements of immunity.
This project will:
- Determine whether levels of circulating inflammatory markers are associated with the ability to respond to vaccination as a measure of immune function
- Discover whether increases in inflammation are associated with epigenetic modifications to inflammatory genes.
- Determine whether low levels of vitamin D are a modifiable risk factor for poor immune function.