Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists focusing on how exercise raises immunity


An increasing number of doctors and other health experts have been encouraging older adults to rise from their recliners and go for a walk, a bike ride, a swim, or engage in just about any other form of physical activity as a defense against the potentially harmful health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

"Exercise is touted as a panacea for older adults," said Jeffrey Woods, a kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who noted that fitness programs are routinely recommended for people with various health problems -- from diabetes to heart disease.

Health experts generally recognize that this population benefits from physical fitness, he said. What they don’t know is why exercise appears to have certain preventive and restorative health effects. Also unknown is what -- if any -- relationship exists between exercise and immune functioning.

"Despite the numerous benefits of exercise -- for example, improving cardiovascular and muscular fitness -- we know very little about how exercise affects the immune systems of older adults," Woods said. "Good, bad or indifferent, this information could have important public health consequences for our aging population." For that reason, Woods and colleagues in the university’s kinesiology department are conducting research that seeks to establish the link between exercise training and immune function. The field, he said, is still in its infancy, with Illinois researchers among those who are defining it.

"Our laboratory is using both animal and human models to address the extent to which exercise affects immune functioning and susceptibility to infectious disease in older populations," Woods said. "We have obtained some exciting preliminary data in mice that suggest that moderate exercise or training may boost some immune function measures and reduce mortality caused by influenza. While we don’t have corollary evidence yet in people, we are in the midst of conducting a large clinical exercise trial in older adults, funded by the National Institute on Aging, that will provide definitive evidence as to whether moderate exercise training influences immune function."

In the meantime, results of one study conducted in Woods’ lab, published in the current online edition of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, indicates that exercise training increases the ratio of naïve T cells to memory T cells in the spleens of older mice. The finding is potentially significant, he said, because, on this measure, "we turn old mice into young mice." When people and animals age, he explained, the thymus, which produces naïve T lymphocytes, shrinks, thus producing fewer naïve cells. "This is one reason that older people/animals have trouble responding to new environmental pathogens."

And with the recent appearance of so many new environmental pathogens -- from West Nile Virus to SARS and monkeypox -- Woods said the ability to boost the immune systems of the elderly, who are among the populations most at risk from infection, is a worthy goal.

Melissa Mitchell | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>