Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Boost to make Vaccinations more Powerful

British scientists have identified a compound which gives a real boost to the immune system of older people.

The researchers say that a new drug based on this compound could give a 90 year old patient the immune system of a 20 year old.

The research focuses on a naturally occurring chemical compound called spermidine. Tests in mice have shown that this compound restores the immune system’s inbuilt memory, enabling it to mount a far more powerful protective response following vaccination.

This means that it could make vaccines more effective in older people, a group that is known not to react as well to vaccines as younger age groups.

The study was undertaken at Oxford University and led by Professor Katja Simon who said the reasons for a decline in immunity in older people are complex, but a key factor is that the white blood cells that coordinate the response to an infection lose the ability to form a memory. Therefore, when older people encounter a virus, even if it is one they have had before or have been vaccinated against, they are unable to mount a strong immune response and can develop a serious, or even fatal, infection.

One of the exciting aspects of the findings is the promise to give older people a more powerful protective response to a flu vaccination. Flu kiils about 5,000 people in England every year, the majority being older. The new development could significantly boost the power of the flu jab and greatly reduce the dangers of common viruses in older age groups.
Daniel Puleston, from the MRC Human Immunology Unit at Oxford University who was involved in the study, said:

“We already know that the over 65s have a problem forming an immune memory and as a consequence infection causes proportionally more deaths in this age group. We’ve now identified a key process involved in this memory formation, and by enhancing this process in aged mice we’ve been able to boost their immune response to vaccination.
“The effect was so powerful and was the equivalent of a 90 year old responding to a vaccine better than a 20 year old, which makes this a very exciting pathway to target as a potential way of boosting vaccine protection in the elderly.”

Back to LaterLife Interest Index


Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

 


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

 

Latest Articles:

Health food of the month: Goats' meat

Goats' meat

Low in fat and high in protein, it is no wonder that goats’ meat is finally coming onto British menus.

more

AXA Health: How to tell if it’s time for a knee replacement

Having a damaged knee replaced can improve your quality of life dramatically. When you’re weighing up whether now is the right time, talking it through with your doctor should come top of your to-do list. 

more

Get in the flow with Tai Chi

man and woman doing tai chi

Did anyone out there hear of Tai Chi in the 1960s or 1970s? It was really only in the 1990s that this eastern form of martial art really started to take off globally. Now Tai Chi is practiced by an estimated 240 million people worldwide, including thousands here in the UK, and is said to be of enormous benefit especially to older people.

more

Was an alcohol free January worth it?

man drinking alcohol

Dry January is over, but no doubt there will be other ideas for giving up alcohol before the next big event, MacMillan’s Cancer’s “Go Sober for October”, kicks in. But how worthwhile is all this abstinence?

more

Back to LaterLife Health Section

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti