Nutritional status and immune function in an elderly population

Roebothan, Barbara (1991) Nutritional status and immune function in an elderly population. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

It has been suggested that nutrition and immunology are integrally related. It has also been suggested that many of the elderly have both a depressed immune response and a poor nutritional status. We proposed to improve the immune response of some nutritionally deficient seniors by improving their nutritional status. -- 205 healthy elderly volunteers were assessed for their nutritional status in regards to protein/calories, zinc, iron, folacin, and vitamin B₁₂. The assessment composed of anthropometric (height, weight, triceps skinfold, subscapular skinfold, and mid upper arm circumference), biochemical (serum albumin, serum prealbumin, and serum zinc), hacmatologic (serum ferritin, serum vitamin B₁₂, serum folacin, haemoglobin, and haematocrit), and clinical examinations. Dietary intake was also recorded. -- 66 (32.2%) of these individuals showed signs of malnutrition. 14 (6.8%) showed signs of multiple deficiency. Deficiencies of all nutrients monitored were found in the subject group. Protein/calorie malnutrition was the most prevalent at 13.2%. Folacin and vitamin B₁₂ deficiencies were the least prevalent, both at 2.4%. The prevalence of malnutrition did not differ with sex or living accommodation (institutionalized versus noninstitutionalized) but did increase significantly with age. -- 42 of the nutritionally deficient were administered the appropriate nutritional supplement for six consecutive months. Of these, 34 showed an improvement in nutritional status. A comparison of delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity, complement C3 levels, and percent of total lymphocytes represented by functional T cells, CD4+ cells, and CD8+ cells was made in these individuals before and after the supplementation period, A significant rise in functional T cells was noted. -- These findings support suggestions by work performed largely on animals and other aged groups of humans that nutrition can have a significant and positive effect on immune function. -- INDEXING KEY WORDS: nutrition; elderly; cellular immunity

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1024
Item ID: 1024
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 213-259.
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Older people--Nutrition; Cellular immunity; Immunity--Nutritional aspects
Medical Subject Heading: Nutrition Assessment; Immunity, Cellular; Aged

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