Increased Risk of Infection in Bereaved Older Adults: From Broken Heart to Broken Immune System

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

External organisations

  • School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, UK
  • MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, UK
  • School of Immunity and Infection, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, UK

Abstract

Bereavement, the loss of someone close, is frequently followed by grief and can have serious implications for physical and mental health, from the increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances and indigestion, and more serious physical health consequences such as cardiovascular and immune related illness. Another key factor associated with a deterioration of the body’s defence mechanisms, such as the immune system, is ageing. This review has as its focus the combined effects of bereavement and ageing on immune function. First, the relationship between bereavement and increased mortality is examined, followed by its link to various physical and mental health morbidities. Second, the effects of ageing per se on immune functions are considered. Finally, the joint impact of both ageing and bereavement are discussed, focussing on recent studies of immune function after bereavement in young and older adults.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
JournalAdvances in Neuroimmune Biology
Volume6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2015