Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists focusing on how exercise raises immunity

03.07.2003


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:
http://www.uiuc.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>