What do you think about joining immune fitness? | Longevity Blog: how to use it

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What is most important for you to have quality of life in the next ten years? The question was asked to 16,000 people over the age of 50, from eight countries, including Brazil, and 94% responded with good health. The focus of the survey, commissioned by pharmaceutical giant GSK and carried out by research institute Kantar, was vaccination and healthy aging, and if there was any positive balance of the pandemic, it was the appreciation of health. Before the new coronavirus changed the face of the century, 74% of Brazilians considered the attribute very important; now the percentage is 85%, the highest among the countries surveyed. In the others – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Italy and Spain – the average also rose, from 65% to 76%.

Brazil also registered a notable increase in the perception of the relevance of vaccines: before the pandemic, the percentage was 59%, but it reached 83% in the survey, carried out in July and August. For Francesca Ceddia, vice president of global medical affairs at GSK, vaccines should be seen as one more element to ensure a healthy lifestyle, as well as a balanced diet, exercise and not smoking: “vaccination leads to a state of immune fitness, which helps ensure physical resilience and independence for a longer period of our lives,” he said at a press conference held on Wednesday.

Production of vaccines: immunization can be seen as another element of a healthy lifestyle — Photo: Ronstik for Pixabay

One of the curious data of the research points to a kind of “tension” between what science calls old age and the perception we have of ourselves. Faced with the question “from a physical point of view, how old do you feel?”, 50% of Brazilians and Germans declared that they felt younger than their chronological age, followed by North Americans (49%), Spaniards and Canadians (48%) and French (46%). Only the Japanese were modest: only 23% thought they were younger. In fact, no one considers themselves old and this is a finding that should guide changes in the approach to the subject – for example, instead of focusing on the need to vaccinate the elderly, emphasizing its benefits, which covers all age groups. Interestingly, the study shows that participants are aware that the immune system begins to decline with aging.

Francesca Ceddia recalled that childhood vaccination was responsible for preventing preventable diseases in children and that the same has to be done in relation to the elderly: “the younger ones, because they still do not have their complete immune system, and the older ones, because they experience a decline in their immunity, are the most affected, as shown by the numbers of people affected by influenza. After the huge advance with the children’s audience, we have to do the same with the senior group. It is a public health policy priority”.

She added that a severe case of flu can contribute to the occurrence of a cardiovascular event: “the arteries become inflamed, causing them to narrow and increasing the risk for patients who already have an obstructive plaque. Vaccination reduces that chance.” She also added that alternatives are being studied to make vaccines for the elderly more potent, in order to circumvent the decline of the immune system: “we are talking about strategies such as formulations with more antigens; with more adjuvants (which help antigens elicit more durable and powerful responses); and intradermal application (the most common is intramuscular)”. And long live science!

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