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 - Mascarpone

mascarpone

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese made with the addition of certain acidic substances including lemon juice or vinegar. It is thought to originate from an area southwest of Milan over 300 years ago.

AXA Health: Top 10 exercises for a healthy back

family walking

Modern life doesn't lend itself to having a healthy back. Long hours sitting all day at a desk or on the road can take its toll. Add to this a whole host of other sedentary behaviours like TV viewing, sitting at a computer, and game console use – and it's no wonder that our bodies start feeling the strain.

Give your feet some TLC!

happy feet

Feet are often underestimated yet they are just so important. These tiny platforms at the bottom of our legs carry our whole weight as we stand or move along.

New understanding on how cancer starts

lab tests

The latest news is from researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute  who say for the first time ever, scientists have manage to work out the number of mutations needed for cancers to develop.

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