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Dean Pomerleau posted a topic in General Health and LongevityAll, I found this interesting. University of Pittsburgh (yeah!) researchers have found  (press release) that cognition tends to decline much more rapidly in elderly folks who test positive for chronic, seemingly harmless viral infections, such as cytomegalovirus, toxoplasma gondii (the virus that makes rats love cats, and humans take risks!), and various herpes simplex viruses. The lead author said: “It’s possible that these viruses, which can linger in the body long after acute infection, are triggering some neurotoxic effects.” The smart folks over at Fight Aging! observe: A good deal of evidence from past years supports the theory that CMV accelerates immune system aging, causing the immune system to devote ever more of its limited capacity to uselessly fighting CMV rather than productively carrying out its other tasks. Our immune response is incapable of clearing CMV from the body, and the virus lingers to return in force again and again regardless of the effort devoted to battle it. Chronic infections with these three viruses is surprisingly common. T. gondii infection rates are around 22% of the general population. And between 50 and 80% of people are infected with cytomegalovirus by age 40! I wonder if chronic elevation of WBC, as a sign of chronic infection, is associated with accelerated cognitive decline... I suspect it probably is. For CRers whose WBC count remains unusually high, it might be worth getting tested for chronic viral infections, including the three listed above. --Dean ------------  Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2015 Dec 24. [Epub ahead of print] Temporal Cognitive Decline Associated With Exposure to Infectious Agents in a Population-based, Aging Cohort. Nimgaonkar VL(1), Yolken RH, Wang T, Chung-Chou HC, McClain L, McDade E, Snitz BE, Ganguli M. Author information: (1)Departments of *Psychiatry ∥Medicine ¶Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Departments of †Human Genetics §Biostatistics #Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA ‡Department of Pediatrics, Stanley Division of Neurovirology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. BACKGROUND: Numerous cross-sectional studies have related exposure to neurotropic infectious agents with cognitive dysfunction in older adults, however, the temporal sequence is uncertain. METHODS: In a representative, well-characterized, population-based aging cohort, we determined whether the temporal trajectories of multiple cognitive domains are associated with exposure to cytomegalovirus (CMV), Herpes Simplex virus, type 1 (HSV-1), Herpes Simplex virus, type 2 (HSV-2), or Toxoplasma gondii (TOX). Complex attention, executive functions, memory, language, and visuospatial function were assessed annually for 5 years among consenting individuals. Study entry IgG antibody titers indexing exposure to each infectious agent were examined in relation to slopes of subsequent temporal cognitive decline using multiple linear regressions adjusted for potential confounders. RESULTS: The IgG levels for HSV-2 were significantly associated with baseline cognitive domain scores (N=1022 participants). Further, the IgG levels for HSV-2, TOX, and CMV, but not HSV-1 were significantly associated with greater temporal cognitive decline that varied by type of infection. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to CMV, HSV-2, or TOX is associated with cognitive deterioration in older individuals, independent of general age-related variables. An increased understanding of the role of infectious agents in cognitive decline may lead to new methods for its prevention and treatment. PMID: 26710257
All, CR appears to reduce our susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (e.g. colds and flu) - we've known this for quite some time based on personal anecdotes, backed up by our recent poll on the topic, and confirmed a study of anorexics by Luigi Fontana discussed in this post. But the immunity story for CR practitioners may not be quite so cut and dried. As discussed in this post, CR may make it harder for us to fight off infections once we do get sick. Plus, you've got to die of something (at least for the foreseeable future :-) ), and flu/pneumonia are the 3rd leading killer of centenarians. So it was heartening to see today's video by Dr. Greger (embedded below) which reports on the strong evidence that eating lots of fruits and vegetables, which virtually all of us do, helps to boost the immune system. Perhaps the most interesting sound-bite from the video comes from this study , which found that obesity, low physical activity, and low fruit/vegetable consumption were all associated with higher rates of hospitalizations for acute upper respiratory infections. But low fruits/veggies intake edged out the other two as the most predictive lifestyle factor for increased URI risk. So eat your fruits and veggies! --Dean -----------  Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2013 Sep;7(5):718-28. doi: 10.1111/irv.12019. Epub 2012 Nov 8. Relationship between community prevalence of obesity and associated behavioral factors and community rates of influenza-related hospitalizations in the United States. Charland KM(1), Buckeridge DL, Hoen AG, Berry JG, Elixhauser A, Melton F, Brownstein JS. Author information: (1)Children's Hospital Informatics Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA. email@example.com BACKGROUND: Findings from studies examining the association between obesity and acute respiratory infection are inconsistent. Few studies have assessed the relationship between obesity-related behavioral factors, such as diet and exercise, and risk of acute respiratory infection. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether community prevalence of obesity, low fruit/vegetable consumption, and physical inactivity are associated with influenza-related hospitalization rates. METHODS: Using data from 274 US counties, from 2002 to 2008, we regressed county influenza-related hospitalization rates on county prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30), low fruit/vegetable consumption (<5 servings/day), and physical inactivity (<30 minutes/month recreational exercise), while adjusting for community-level confounders such as insurance coverage and the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 population. RESULTS: A 5% increase in obesity prevalence was associated with a 12% increase in influenza-related hospitalization rates [adjusted rate ratio (ARR) 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07, 1.17]. Similarly, a 5% increase in the prevalence of low fruit/vegetable consumption and physical inactivity was associated with an increase of 12% (ARR 1.12, 95% CI 1.08, 1.17) and 11% (ARR 1.11, 95% CI 1.07, 1.16), respectively. When all three variables were included in the same model, a 5% increase in prevalence of obesity, low fruit/vegetable consumption, and physical inactivity was associated with 6%, 8%, and 7% increases in influenza-related hospitalization rates, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Communities with a greater prevalence of obesity were more likely to have high influenza-related hospitalization rates. Similarly, less physically active populations, with lower fruit/vegetable consumption, tended to have higher influenza-related hospitalization rates, even after accounting for obesity. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. PMID: 23136926 Dr. Greger references on fruits/veggies & immunity B Watzi, A Bub, K Briviba, G Rechkemmer. Supplementation of a low-carotenoid diet with tomato or carrot juice modulates immune functions in healthy men. Ann Nutr Metab. 2003;47(6):255-61. L Li, M M Werler. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of upper respiratory tract infection in pregnant women. 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K Kurppa, P C Holmberg, E Kuosma, T Aro, L Saxen. Anencephaly and maternal common cold. Teratology. 1991 Jul;44(1):51-5. J Zhang, W W Cai. Association of the common cold in the first trimester of pregnancy with birth defects. Pediatrics. 1993 Oct;92(4):559-63. M Veldhoen, V Bruchlacher-Waldert. Dietary influences on intestinal immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Oct;12(10):696-708. A Gibson, J D Edgar, C E Neville, S E Gilchrist, M C McKinley, C C Patterson, I S Young, J V Woodside. Effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on immune function in older people: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1429-36.