Immunosenescence & Aging
What is Aging? Is Aging inevitable? Is Aging a scientific fact, a statistical tendency, or widely-accepted belief?
Is Aging a natural function of human life and physiology, or is it a condition brought on by a disorder in human lifestyle and physiology?
If Aging is truly a process that is primarily governed by genetics and the linear passage of time, then should it would be a common and prevalent occurrence for identical twins – humans of identical chronological age that are considered to possess identical genetics – to die on the same day, minutes or hours apart. But this is not the case.
The term “Aging” is typically defined as the gradual decline in one’s well-being and quality of life, characterized by an increased incidence and severity of debilitating chronic diseases. The current scientific literature on Immunity and Aging, as well as Neuropsychology have built a body of evidence which finds human immune system dysregulation may be the key determining factor in the majority of the diseases and disorders which are accepted as being Aging-related such as Cancer, Depression, Cardiovascular Disease and Heart Attacks, Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.
Current research also shows that, like the brain, the Immune System can become senile. This process is known as Immunosenescence, the condition of decline in immune function as you grow older. Quite surprisingly, this decline typically begins early in life, and then worsens as we advance in age. Therefore, aging can now be seen from an immune system perspective, as a chronic dysregulation of human immune cellular functions and an inappropriate increase in inflammatory activity throughout the body. This combined circumstance then predisposes the human body to multiple system failure and global demise.
Immunosenescence is an insidious process which leads to:
- Impaired responses to antigen exposure due to NK cell deficiency which weakens the immunity system against exposure to viruses such as Influenza, Herpes, HIV/AIDS, bacteria including M. tuberculosis, E. coli, MRSA and other Infectious Disease
- Increased severity of illness and death rate from Cancers, Vascular and Infectious Diseases, and Autoimmune Disorders
Immunosenescence also involves the inflammatory changes which can be important determinative factors in chronic diseases and general frailty associated with Aging including:
- Advanced Cancers including Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colon Cancer and Rectal Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Endometrial Cancer, Recurrent and Advanced Metastatic Cancers
- Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attackss
- Cerebrovascular Disease and Strokes
- Alzheimer’s Disease (Presenile Dementia)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
- Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Immunosenescence is primarily characterized by a gradual depression of cellular functions throughout the immune system. It has been shown scientifically to be directly associated with a phenomenon called “telomere shortening”, which weakens our ability to produce the new immune cells needed to protect the body from disease. Immunosenescence can also provoke the development of autoimmune disorders.
The cells most severely affected are Natural Killer (NK) cells, the body’s first line of defense against Cancer, microbial infections, and many other serious diseases. Many scientific studies also show a link between NK cell deficiency and autoimmune diseases, susceptibility to Lyme disease, and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFID). People with NK cell deficiency also show increased susceptibility to phases of Herpes virus and Influenza virus infection and recurrence.
The current scientific evidence clearly indicates that advancing age is the single greatest risk factor for the development of Cancer. Specifically, the incidence of cancer increases in advanced adults who demonstrate age-dependent progressive Immunosenescence and its resultant NK cell deficiency.