Stress and immunity

Synergistic effects of physical and psychological stress upon immuno-senescence.

Project overview

For the majority of older people in the UK old age is a positive experience in health terms. However for many, good health can be lost rapidly resulting in poor physical or mental health.

Falls represent a major cause of ill health and loss of independence in older people. Furthermore, mortality associated with hip-fracture, a frequent consequence of falls, is very high, with one in five patients dying within a year of their hip-fracture.

A major reason for poor health after hip-fracture is increased susceptibility to infections, particularly pneumonia. This study investigated another common feature of hip-fracture patients, depression, to try and understand why some older people suffer poorer health than others after a hip fracture.

Depression is present in almost one third of hip-fracture patients and is also associated with suppression of the immune system. In this study, we aimed to determine if depression compounds the negative effects of hip-fracture upon the immune system and may explain why some older people have poorer health after hip fracture.

Our study also considered whether there are ethnic differences in attitudes towards hip-fracture and if these can affect how a minority ethnic grouping (British Punjabi Indians) recover from hip-fracture.

This project was linked to a Canadian Research Project funded by CIHR-IA.


Synergistic effects of physical and psychological stress upon immunesenescence (PDF, 5.2MB)

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Further information

For more information, read the full project details.