Advances in modern medicine have led to an increase in the median life span and an expansion of the world’s population over the age of 65. With increasing numbers of the population surviving to the extreme of age, those at risk for the development of pneumonia will approach 2 billion by the year 2050. Numerous age-related changes in the lung likely contribute to the enhanced occurrence of pneumonia in the elderly. Inflammation in the elderly has been shown to increase risk prior to infection; age-associated inflammation enhances bacterial ligand expression in the lungs which increases the ability of bacteria to attach and invade host cells. Conversely, the elaboration of the acute inflammatory response during early infection has been found to decrease with age resulting in a delayed immune response and diminished bacterial killing. Finally, the resolution of the inflammatory response during the convalescent stage back to “baseline” is often prolonged in the elderly and associated with negative outcomes, such as adverse cardiac events. The focus of this review will be to discuss our current understanding of the potential mechanisms by which dysregulated inflammation (both prior to and following an infectious insult) enhances susceptibility to and severity of community acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the elderly with an emphasis on pneumococcal pneumonia, the leading cause of CAP.
Aging; Pneumonia; Inflammation; Toll-like Receptors; Statins
The purpose of the present study was to identify the changes in the levels of proinflammatory cytokines like IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in peripheral circulation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) subjects and to correlate these with associated depression and cognitive deficit. Fifty five AD subjects and thirty seven age and sex matched controls were included in the study. The AD patients were grouped as AD with depression (n= 31) and AD without depression (n= 24). The serum levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α were determined by immunoassay by commercially available kits. The serum levels of IL-6 and TNF-α were elevated in AD patients with depression compared to control (p<0.001) or AD without depression (p<0.001). The serum level of IL-1β was higher in AD patients with or without depression as compared to controls. Furthermore, a strong inverse correlation was observed between the MMSE scores and serum levels of IL-6 or TNF-α in AD subjects with depression. The study highlights the important role of peripheral IL-6 and TNF-α in AD associated depression and cognitive deficits.
Alzheimer’s disease; IL-6; IL-1β; TNF-α; Depression; Cognitive deficit
With an increased life expectancy in humans and thus an increase in the number of the elderly population, the frequency of hip fractures will rise as well. Aside from a higher incidence, hip fractures in a geriatric population is a significant problem due to the possible onset of severe and in some cases dramatic complications and consequences. The primary purpose of treatment and rehabilitation in the elderly after a hip fracture is to improve an individual’s quality of life. It is important to underline that principles and methods of functional restoration after hip fracture should consider careful planning of a rehabilitation program individually for every patient and its implementation with respect to decisions made by the rehabilitation team.
Hip fractures; Elderly; Rehabilitation
Aging is associated with declines in the neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems, resulting in an impaired capacity to perform daily activities. Frailty is an age-associated biological syndrome characterized by decreases in the biological functional reserve and resistance to stressors due to changes in several physiological systems, which puts older individuals at special risk of disability. To counteract the neuromuscular and cardiovascular declines associated with aging, as well as to prevent and treat the frailty syndrome, the strength and endurance training seems to be an effective strategy to improve muscle hypertrophy, strength and power output, as well as endurance performance. The first purpose of this review was discuss the neuromuscular adaptations to strength training, as well as the cardiovascular adaptations to endurance training in healthy and frail elderly subjects. In addition, the second purpose of this study was investigate the concurrent training adaptations in the elderly. Based on the results found, the combination of strength and endurance training (i.e., concurrent training) performed at moderate volume and moderate to high intensity in elderly populations is the most effective way to improve both neuromuscular and cardiorespiratory functions. Moreover, exercise interventions that include muscle power training should be prescribed to frail elderly in order to improve the overall physical status of this population and prevent disability.
resistance training; frailty; power output; functional outcomes; aerobic capacity
Aging of biological systems occurs in spite of numerous complex pathways of maintenance, repair and defense. There are no gerontogenes which have the specific evolutionary function to cause aging. Although aging is the common cause of all age-related diseases, aging in itself cannot be considered a disease. This understanding of aging as a process should transform our approach towards interventions from developing illusory anti-aging treatments to developing realistic and practical methods for maintaining health throughout the lifespan. The concept of homeodynamic space can be a useful one in order to identify a set of measurable, evidence-based and demonstratable parameters of health, robustness and resilience. Age-induced health problems, for which there are no other clear-cut causative agents, may be better tackled by focusing on health mechanisms and their maintenance, rather than only disease management and treatment. Continuing the disease-oriented research and treatment approaches, as opposed to health-oriented and preventive strategies, are economically, socially and psychologically unsustainable.
longevity; stress; homeostasis; homeodynamics; hormetics; hormesis; hormetin
Accumulating evidence has revealed that thePI3K/AKT/PTENpathway acts as a pivotal determinant of cell fate regarding senescence and apoptosis, which is mediated by intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. NADPH oxidase (NOX) family of enzymes generates the ROS. The regulation of NOX enzymes is complex, with many members of this family exhibiting complexity in terms of subunit composition, cellular location, and tissue-specific expression. Cells are continuously exposed to the ROS, which represent mutagens and are thought to be a major contributor to several diseases including cancer and aging process. Therefore, cellular ROS sensing and metabolism are firmly regulated by a variety of proteins involved in the redox mechanism. In this review, the roles of oxidative stress in PI3K/AKT/PTEN signaling are summarized with a focus on the links between the pathways and NOX protein in several diseases including cancer and aging.
PTEN; PI3K; AKT; ROS; PPAR; WRN; SIRT1; cell signaling
Uncontrolled continued exposure to oxidative stress is a precursor to many chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, degenerative disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Of the many known mediators of oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are the most studied. In the present review, we have summarized current data on the origin of circulating AGEs, discussed issues associated with reliable assessment of its steady state level, and changes in its level with age and select metabolic diseases. Lastly, we have made recommendations about life style changes that may decrease AGEs burden to promote healthy aging.
Aging; glycation; oxidative stress; reactive nitrogen species; reactive oxygen species
Aging is characterized by increased oxidative stress, heightened inflammatory response, accelerated cellular senescence and progressive organ dysfunction. The homeostatic imbalance with aging significantly alters cellular responses to injury. Though it is unclear whether cellular energetic imbalance is a cause or effect of the aging process, preservation of mitochondrial function has been reported to be important in organ function restoration following severe injury. Unintentional injuries are ranked among the top 10 causes of death in adults of both sexes, 65 years and older. Aging associated decline in mitochondrial function has been shown to enhance the vulnerability of heart, lung, liver and kidney to ischemia/reperfusion injury. Studies have identified alterations in the level or activity of factors such as SIRT1, PGC-1α, HIF-1α and c-MYC involved in key regulatory processes in the maintenance of mitochondrial structural integrity, biogenesis and function. Studies using experimental models of hemorrhagic injury and burn have demonstrated significant influence of aging in metabolic regulation and organ function. Understanding the age-associated molecular mechanisms regulating mitochondrial dysfunction following injury is important towards identifying novel targets and therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome after injury in the elderly.
aging; hemorrhage; ischemia; mitochondria; sirt1; hypoxia
An increase in peripheral vascular resistance at rest is not routinely observed in healthy older persons, but often associated with increased stiffness of central elastic arteries, as hallmarks of aging effects on the vasculature, referred to as early vascular aging (EVA). In clinical practice, the increased arterial stiffness translates into increased brachial and central systolic blood pressure and corresponding pulse pressure in subjects above 50 years of age, as well as increased carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (c-f PWV), a marker of arterial stiffness. A c-f PWV value ≥ 10 m/s is currently defined as a threshold for increased cardiovascular risk, based on consensus statement from 2012. Prevention and treatment strategies include a healthy lifestyle and the control of risk factors via appropriate drug therapy to achieve vascular protection related to EVA. New drugs are under development for vascular protection, for example the selective Angiotensin II (AT2) receptor agonist called compound 21. One target group for early intervention could be members of risk families including subjects with early onset cardiovascular disease.
aging; arterial stiffness; cardiac; blood pressure; haemodynamic; vasculature
Vascular hyperpermeability, the excessive leakage of fluid and proteins from blood vessels to the interstitial space, commonly occurs in traumatic and ischemic injuries. This hyperpermeability causes tissue vasogenic edema, which often leads to multiple organ failure resulting in patient death. Vascular hyperpermeability occurs most readily in small blood vessels as their more delicate physical constitution makes them an easy target for barrier dysfunction. A single layer of endothelial cells, linked to one another by cell adhesion molecules, covers the interior surface of each blood vessel. The cell adhesion molecules play a key role in maintaining barrier functions like the regulation of permeability. Aging is a major risk factor for microvascular dysfunction and hyperpermeability. Apart from age-related remodeling of the vascular wall, endothelial barrier integrity and function declines with the advancement of age. Studies that address the physiological and molecular basis of vascular permeability regulation in aging are currently very limited. There have been many cellular and molecular mechanisms proposed to explain aging-related endothelial dysfunction but their true relationship to barrier dysfunction and hyperpermeability is not clearly known. Among the several mechanisms that promote vascular dysfunction and hyperpermeability, the following are considered major contributors: oxidative stress, inflammation, and the activation of apoptotic signaling pathways. In this review we highlighted (a) the physiological, cellular and molecular changes that occur in the vascular system as a product of aging; (b) the potential mechanisms by which aging leads to barrier dysfunction and vascular hyperpermeability in the peripheral and the blood-brain barrier; (c) the mechanisms by which the age-related increases in oxidative stress, inflammatory markers and apoptotic signaling etc. cause endothelial dysfunction and their relationship to hyperpermeability; and (d) the relationship between aging, vascular permeability and traumatic injuries.
aging; vascular hyperpermeability; vascular endothelium; permeability regulation
Sepsis is a serious problem among the geriatric population as its incidence and mortality rates dramatically increase with advanced age. Despite a large number of ongoing clinical and basic research studies, there is currently no effective therapeutic strategy that rescues elderly patients with severe sepsis. Recognition of this problem is relatively low as compared to other age-associated diseases. The disparity between clinical and basic studies is a problem, and this is likely due, in part, to the fact that most laboratory animals used for sepsis research are not old while the majority of sepsis cases occur in the geriatric population. The objective of this article is to review recent epidemiological studies and clinical observations, and compare these with findings from basic laboratory studies which have used aged animals in experimental sepsis.
aging; animal models; coagulation; elderly; inflammation; sepsis
The incidence of sepsis and its attendant mortality risk are significantly increased with aging. Thus, severe sepsis in the elderly is likely to become an emerging concern in critical care units. Cardiac dysfunction is an important component of multi-organ failure after sepsis. In our laboratory, utilizing a pneumonia-related sepsis animal model, our research has been focused on the mechanisms underlying sepsis-induced cardiac failure. In this review, based on findings from others and ours, we discussed age-dependent decay in mitochondria and the role of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) in sepsis-induced cardiac inflammation and autophagy. Our recent discovery of a potential signal transduction pathway that triggers myocardial mitochondrial damage is also discussed. Because of the significance of mitochondria damage in the aging process and in sepsis pathogenesis, we hypothesize that specific enhancing mitochondrial antioxidant defense by mitochondria-targeted antioxidants (MTAs) may provide important therapeutic potential in treating elder sepsis patients. In this review, we summarized the categories of currently published MTA molecules and the results of preclinical evaluation of MTAs in sepsis and aging models.
mitochondria; sepsis; cardiac function; inflammation; autophagy; mitochondria-targeted antioxidants
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL), a degenerative disorder characterized by age-dependent progressive increase in the threshold of auditory sensitivity, affects 40% of people over the age of 65, and it has emerged as an important social and public health problem. Various factors, including genetic and environmental components, are known to affect both the onset and severity of ARHL. In particular, age-dependent changes in cellular oxidative stress and inflammatory responses accompanied by altered cellular signaling and gene expression progressively affect the function of the auditory system and eventually lead to hearing impairment. Recent findings suggest that a disturbance of intracellular NAD+ levels is clinically related to the progression of age-associated disorders. Therefore, maintenance of optimal intracellular NAD+ levels may be a critical factor for cellular senescence, and thus, understanding its molecular signaling pathways would provide critical insights into the prevention and treatment of ARHL as well as other age-related diseases. In this review, we describe the role of NAD+ metabolism in aging and age-related diseases, including ARHL, and discuss a potential strategy for prevention or treatment of ARHL with a particular interest in NAD+-dependent cellular pathways.
Age-related hearing loss; NAD+; degenerative disorder; metabolism
As the “baby boomers” age, the percentage of the population over sixty-five years of age is increasing rapidly. Chronic disease management is an important component in the care of the elderly. The effects of aging on different organ systems are also pertinent; such as the weakening homeostatic response to injury in the older individuals. Mucosal surfaces have the largest combined surface area in the body and are the site of important host microbe interactions, especially in the gut which is prone to injury, both from local and systemic insult. This susceptibility has been known to increase with age. Therefore it is important to understand the interplay between aging, injury and recovery at the mucosal surface. Sex hormones play an important role in the maintenance of the mucosal barrier function as well as the mucosa associated immune function in both genders. Menopause in women is a defined time period in which major hormonal changes occur such as a decline in systemic estradiol levels. The differential levels of sex hormones contribute to the sexual dimorphism seen in response to injury at the mucosal surface, prior to and following menopause. Thus the effect of sex hormone and aging on mucosal mechanisms in response to injury is an important area of investigation.
aging; mucosal injury; gut mucosa; epithelial barrier function; microbial translocation; estradiol; hormones; menopause
Cerebral ischemia is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Moreover, recent evidence indicates that it is a two-way street as the incidence rate of stroke is significantly higher in AD patients than those without the disease. Here we investigated the interaction of ischemic brain insults and AD in 9-month-old ApdE9 mice, which show full-blown accumulation of Aβ deposits and microgliosis in the brain. Permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (pMCAo) resulted in 36% larger infarct in ApdE9 mice compared to their wild-type (wt) controls. This was not due to differences in endothelium-dependent vascular reactivity. Treatment with human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) reduced the infarct volumes and abolished the increased vulnerability of ApdE9 mice to pMCAo induced brain ischemia. When the mice were exposed to global brain ischemia (GI), an insult of hippocampal cells, ApdE9 mice showed increased neuronal loss in CA2 and CA3 subregions compared to their wt controls. GI was associated with increased microgliosis, astrogliosis, infiltration of blood-derived monocytic cells, and neurogenesis without clear differences between the genotypes. IVIG treatment prevented the GI-induced neuron loss in hippocampal CA1 and CA3 regions in ApdE9 mice. IVIG treatment increased microgliosis in wt but not in ApdE9 mice. Finally, GI induced 60% reduction in the hippocampal Aβ burden in ApdE9 mice, which was not affected by IVIG treatment. The results indicate that the AD pathology with Aβ deposits and microgliosis increases ischemic vulnerability in various brain areas. Moreover, IVIG treatment may be beneficial especially in patients suffering from both acute ischemic insult and AD.
Alzheimer’s disease; ApdE9 mice; global ischemia; hippocampus; IVIG treatment
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a sight threating retinal eye disease that affects millions of aging individuals world-wide. Choroid-retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-neuroretina axis in the posterior compartment of the eye is the primary site of AMD pathology. There are compelling evidence to indicate association of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) to AMD. Here, we report the inhibitory actions of resveratrol (RSV) on inflammatory cytokine, TGF-β and hypoxia induced VEGF secretion by human retinal pigment epithelial cells (HRPE). HRPE cultures prepared from aged human donor eyes were used for the studies in this report. HRPE secreted both VEGF-A and VEGF-C in small quantities constitutively. Stimulation with a mixture of inflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-1β), significantly increased the secretion of both VEGF-A and VEGF-C. RSV, in a dose dependent (10–50 uM) manner, suppressed VEGF-A and VEGF-C secretion induced by inflammatory cytokines significantly. RT-PCR analysis indicated that effects of RSV on VEGF secretion were possibly due to decreased mRNA levels. TGF-β and cobalt chloride (hypoxia mimic) also upregulated HRPE cell production of VEGF-A, and this was inhibited by RSV. In contrast, RSV had no effect on anti-angiogenic molecules, endostatin and pigment epithelial derived factor secretion. Studies using an in vitro scratch assay revealed that wound closure was also inhibited by RSV. These results demonstrate that RSV can suppress VEGF secretion induced by inflammatory cytokines, TGF-β and hypoxia. Under pathological conditions, over expression of VEGF is known to worsen AMD. Therefore, RSV may be useful as nutraceutical in controlling pathological choroidal neovascularization processes in AMD.
Resveratrol; VEGF; SIRT1; Cytokines; Retina; Retinal pigment epithelium; Age-related macular degeneration
Unperturbed fetal development is essential for future health of an individual. Previous studies have linked diseases of aging to harmful alterations that happen during fetal development. Given the significant long-term impact that intrauterine environment has on an individual’s life, it was hypothesized that maternal stress during pregnancy will have negative effects on the offspring’s prenatal and postnatal growth. To test this, twenty-eight female and seven male Wistar rats (Rattus norvegicus) were purchased and bred to produce 176 offspring. During pregnancy, dams were randomly divided into four groups (n=7, per group) and immobilization stress induced as follows; Group 1 (GW1): immobilization stress on days 1–7 of pregnancy, Group 2 (GW2): on days 8–14, Group 3 (GW3): on days 15–21, Group 4 (Controls): left undisturbed. Maternal cortisol hormone, food intake, and weight gain were monitored during pregnancy. Pups were raised under normal laboratory conditions and sacrificed at ages: 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks to determine the effect of prenatal stress. At necropsy, the tibia was removed and processed for histology. Differences among groups were determined by T-test or analysis of variance (ANOVA). Linear regression analysis was performed to establish the relationship between stress in utero and indicators of bone development in offspring. P values ≤ 0.05 were considered significant. Cortisol hormone levels in controls were lower than those of stressed animals. Stressed dams consumed 12.5% less food per day compared to controls. Animals in GW1 and GW2 gained less weight during pregnancy but had larger litters than did GW3 or the control group. Offspring born to GW3 were heavier compared to all other groups. GW3 offspring had a higher rate of bone formation. In conclusion, stress during pregnancy resulted in increased cortisol and reduced food intake in mothers, but faster growth and higher weight gain in offspring compared to controls.
prenatal stress; elevated cortisol; offspring development
Most human populations are undergoing a demographic transition regarding their age structure. This transition is reflected in chronic non-communicable diseases featuring among the main contributors to burden of disease. Considering that the aging process is a major risk factor for such conditions, understanding the mechanisms underlying aging and age-related diseases is critical to develop strategies to impact human health at population and/or individual-levels. Two different aspects of aging process (namely, telomere shortening and DNA damage accumulation) were shown to interact in positively impacting mice median survival. However, strategies aimed at translating such knowledge into actual human health benefits have not yet been discussed. In this manuscript, we present potential exposures that are suited for population-level interventions, and contextualize the roles of population (based on behavioral exposures) and individual-level (based on small-molecule administration) anti-aging interventions in different levels of disease prevention. We suggest that exposures such as moderate wine consumption, reducing calorie intake and active lifestyle are potentially useful for primordial and primary prevention, while small-molecules that activate telomerase and/or tumor suppression responses are more suited for secondary and tertiary prevention (although important for primary prevention in specific population subgroups). We also indicate the need of studying the impacts, on aging and age-related diseases, of different combinations of these exposures in well-conducted randomized controlled trials, and propose Mendelian randomization as a valuable alternative to gather information in human populations regarding the effects of potential anti-aging interventions.
Aging; Telomerase; Tumor suppression; Population-level interventions; Levels of disease prevention
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder leading to progressive motor impairment affecting more than 1% of the over-65 population. In spite of considerable progress in identifying the genetic and biochemical basis of PD, to date the diagnosis remains clinical and disease-modifying therapies continue to be elusive. A cornerstone in recent PD research is the investigation of biological markers that could help in identifying at-risk population or to track disease progression and response to therapies. Although none of these parameters has been validated for routine clinical practice yet, however some biochemical candidates hold great promise for application in PD patients, especially in the early stages of disease, and it is likely that in the future the diagnosis of PD will require a combination of genetic, imaging and laboratory data. In this review we discuss the most interesting biochemical markers for PD (including the “-omics” techniques), focusing on the methodological challenges in using ex vivo blood/CSF/tissue-based biomarkers and suggesting alternative strategies to overcome the difficulties that still prevent their actual use.
biomarkers; Parkinson’s disease; premotor; α-synuclein; DJ-1; proteomic
Emotional working memory training is a new area of research. In this study, we review a series of recent works describing a range of emotional working memory interventions that go from training single affective working memory function to teaching emotion regulation strategies. Generally speaking, research to date has established that emotional working memory may be preserved in Alzheimer’s disease. However, much work remains to be done in clarifying what aspects of affective domain is preserved, and testing short- and long-term effects of the trainings as well as their generalization to everyday affective functioning. We conclude by offering suggestions about the development of emotional working memory training for Alzheimer’s patients.
AD; emotion; working memory; training
Older persons are occasionally acutely ill and their hospitalizations frequently end up with complications and adverse outcomes. Medicare from U.S. federal government’s payment resource for older persons is facing financial strain. Medicare highlights both cost-saving and high quality of care while older persons are hospitalized. Several health policy changes were initiated to achieve Medicare’s goals. In response to Medicare’s health policy changes, U.S. hospital environments have been changed and these resulted in hospital quality measurements’ improvement. American seniors are facing the challenges during and around their hospital care. Several innovative measures are suggested to overcome these challenges.
Elderly; Health policy; Health services; Health care quality; Hospitalization
It has been shown that ROS (reactive oxygen species, superoxide and hydrogen peroxide) regulate major epigenetic processes, DNA methylation and histone acetylation, although the mechanism of ROS action (ROS signaling) is still unknown. Both DNA methylation and histone acetylation are nucleophilic processes and therefore ROS signaling through typical free radical processes, for example hydrogen atom abstraction is impossible. However, being “super-nucleophile” superoxide can participate in these reactions. Now we propose new nucleophilic mechanisms of DNA methylation and histone modification. During DNA methylation superoxide can deprotonate the cytosine molecule at C-5 position and by this accelerate the reaction of DNA with the positive-charged intermediate S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM). Superoxide can also deprotonate histone N-terminal tail lysines and accelerate the formation of their complexes with acetyl-coenzyme A (AcCoA), the supplier of acetyl groups. In cancer cells ROS enhance DNA methylation causing the silencing of tumor suppressor and antioxidant genes and enhancing the proliferation of cancer cells under condition of oxidative stress. ROS signaling in senescent cells probably causes DNA hypomethylation although there are insufficient data for such proposal.
ROS; DNA Methylation; Histone Modification; Nucleophilic Mechanisms
A number of gender differences have been documented in the incidence and symptomatology of the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder, idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). Overall, previous reports suggest a less frequent incidence and a more benign phenotype in women mainly in Western populations, which is thought to be mediated by estrogens in particular in early stages of the disease. Not only motor symptoms seem to underlie gender effects, but also non-motor symptoms such as psychiatric and cognitive impairments, which can often precede motor manifestation. However, reliable results for gender differences in PD in particular of cognitive function and emotion processing, having a major impact on quality of life, are lacking. Moreover, studies investigating gender effects in PD in these areas have revealed highly heterogeneous results. The present review summarizes findings of currently available studies on gender effects on neuropsychological tests covering major cognitive domains, emotion processing as well as quality of life in patients with PD. Overall, the occurrence of cognitive impairment in PD seems to be associated with male gender, though inconsistent results were shown in cognitive screening tests. Regarding emotion recognition, men with PD were found to be less accurate than women with PD at identifying fearful expressions, whereas vice versa results appeared in healthy subjects. Lower quality of life and greater disability were reported by women compared to men with PD, which corresponds with the results in healthy subjects. Several disease-specific mediators as well as the question of a general gender and age-related effect as observed in healthy individuals are discussed. Increased knowledge on possible gender effects in PD would provide an enhanced insight in underlying pathological mechanisms, and has potential implications for the diagnosis and treatment of PD.
Parkinson’s disease; gender; estrogen; emotion; cognition; quality of life
The HIV-infected older adult (HOA) community is particularly vulnerable to cognitive impairment. Previous studies in the general older adult population have reported that lower scores on tests of cognitive function often correlate negatively with aerobic fitness [5–7]. HIV-infected individuals have significantly reduced aerobic fitness and physical function compared to HIV-uninfected individuals. Determining important correlates of cognitive ability may be beneficial in not only detecting precursors to future cognitive impairments, but also target areas for interventions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between cognitive ability and aerobic fitness in HIV-infected older adults. We conducted a cross-sectional study of HOA on antiretroviral therapy (ART) >50 years of age. Domain specific cognitive function was assessed by means of a neuropsychological battery. Aerobic fitness (VO2peak) was assessed using a graded, progressive treadmill test. Thirty-seven HOA on ART (mean±SD: age 59±6 years, BMI 28±5, CD4 663±337 cells/ml, duration since HIV diagnosis 17±7 years; 81% males) completed the cognitive tests. Several domains of cognition were significantly associated with VO2peak by Spearman correlation analysis (p<0.05). By step-wise adjusted regression VO2peak was most frequently and significantly related to many cognitive domains such as verbal and visual memory, visual perception, and language (p<0.05). We found that participants with higher Vo2peak were less likely to have more severe forms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) such as mild neurocognitive disorder (OR=0.65; p=0.01) and HIV-associated dementia (OR=0.64; p=0.0006). In HOA and in conclusion, aerobic fitness is related to cognitive performance on various tasks. The likelihood of cognitive impairment increased with lower fitness levels. Therefore, increased fitness may serve an important factor in maintenance of cognition and neural integrity for aging HIV-infected individuals. Future prospective and large scale studies are needed to evaluate the effect of fitness and vascular stiffness and function on cognition and brain structure among HOA.
HIV; older adults; aerobic fitness; cognition
Menopause is part of the aging process and is characterized by the natural cessation of menstruation; during this time, the production of ovarian hormones, especially estrogen, is sharply reduced. This reduction can cause symptoms and disorders that affect most women and can interfere with their quality of life. Women are also more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases during this period, considering that these ovarian hormones would be associated with a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, by acting at various levels, contributing to the body homeostasis. Among several effects on the cardiovascular system, the ovarian hormones seem to play an important role in the autonomic control of heart rate and blood pressure. A reduction in ovarian hormones causes an autonomic imbalance and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, this increased risk is justified by the key role the autonomic nervous system plays in all cardiac regulatory mechanisms, exerting a tonic and reflexive influence on the main variables of the cardiovascular system. The autonomic system controls various cardiovascular parameters, such as the modulation of heart rate and blood pressure, myocardial contractility and venous capacitance, directly participating in the regulation of cardiac output. Over the years, the standard treatment for menopause symptoms and disorders has been hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, many studies have indicated the risks of HRT, which justify the need for new non-pharmacological therapies. To this end, physical training, mainly aerobic, has been applied with excellent results on the cardiovascular autonomic nervous system, as it reduces the risk of cardiac diseases and improves the survival rate with direct beneficial effects on the quality of life of these women during the aging process.
Menopause; Aging; Physical Training; Cardiovascular Autonomic Control