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A balancing act between immunity and longevity



As we age, the immune system gradually becomes impaired. One aspect of this impairment is chronic inflammation in the elderly, which means that the immune system is constantly active and sends out inflammatory substances. Such chronic inflammation is associated with multiple age-related diseases including arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, and impaired immune responses to infection. One of the questions in aging research is whether chronic inflammation is a cause of aging, or a consequence of the aging process itself? Scientists in the laboratory of Director Adam Antebi at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging in Cologne, Germany have found evidence suggesting that increased inflammation causes the aging process to speed up, and that there is a fine balance between maintaining immune system function and longevity.

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