In a new study, researchers described the mechanisms underlying chronic inflammation and identified several risk factors leading to disease.
They confirmed the role of chronic inflammation as the cause of accelerated aging. These include infections, physical inactivity, diet, environmental factors, industrial toxicants, and psychological stress.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Bologna (Italy) and elsewhere.
The team’s many years of research have resulted in the theory of “inflamm-aging,” according to which aging is a general inflammatory process that involves the whole body and provokes diseases associated with age: Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Chronic inflammatory diseases are at the top of the list of death causes. There is enough evidence that the effects of chronic inflammation can be observed throughout life and increases the risk of death.
It’s no surprise that scientists’ efforts are focused on finding strategies for early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of chronic inflammation.
One of the serious results has been the concept of immune aging, which enables researchers to characterize the immune function of a person and to predict the causes of mortality much more accurately than by relying only on chronological age.
In addition to well-known inflammation biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein, interleukins 1 and 6, tumor necrosis factor, the scientists note the need to study additional biomarkers of the immune system, which differ very much from person to person.
Scientists have identified certain factors (social, environmental and lifestyle factors) that contribute to systemic chronic inflammation.
Taken together, such factors are the main cause of disability and mortality worldwide.
The team insists that the lifestyle, the effects of stressors, the history of vaccinations, as well as the social and cultural characteristics of each person starting from the first days of life to adulthood should be determined in as much detail as possible and taken into account.
Research is continuing, and the scientists have a long way to go to fully understand the role of chronic inflammation in aging and mortality and to be able to predict changes in a person’s health throughout life.
The new results open up new strategies for early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of a wide range of diseases associated with systemic chronic inflammation.
It is expected that the prevention and treatment of inflammatory processes will serve to slow down aging and prolong life.
The lead author of the study is Claudio Franceschi, a professor and head of the Research Laboratory for Systems Medicine of Healthy Aging.
The study is published in Nature Medicine.
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