The results of a study conducted in New York could help seniors protect their bodies against sicknesses and therefore improve the quality of retirement living.
The Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake is working on strengthening the immune systems of the elderly.
Aging often involves a decreasingly effective immune system meaning seniors are at a higher risk of developing infections than younger people.
Furthermore, many vaccines aren't developed to meet the needs of the elderly.
In fact, the flu vaccination reduces the rate of infection by 23 percent for men and women over 70, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Vaccines for tetanus and hepatitis are less protective too.
Trudeau's Susan Swain and her colleagues say that CD4 T immune cells defend the body less and less as a person ages. If they can be maintained, these cells could act as a safeguard against health risks such as tumors.
Unfortunately, Swain's work is unfinished, as it remains unclear how exactly CD4 activity can be boosted to increase vaccine efficacy in the elderly. Her work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Trudeau Institute.