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 Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>