How the body's immune resilience affects our health and lifespan

How the body's immune resilience affects our health and lifespan

Immune cells battle an infection.

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Story by Big Think

It is a mystery why humans manifest vast differences in lifespan, health, and susceptibility to infectious diseases. However, a team of international scientists has revealed that the capacity to resist or recover from infections and inflammation (a trait they call “immune resilience”) is one of the major contributors to these differences.

Immune resilience involves controlling inflammation and preserving or rapidly restoring immune activity at any age, explained Weijing He, a study co-author. He and his colleagues discovered that people with the highest level of immune resilience were more likely to live longer, resist infection and recurrence of skin cancer, and survive COVID and sepsis.

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Peter Rogers
Dr. Peter Rogers grew up milking cows and building barns. This provided him the transferable skills necessary for a smooth transition into academic research. Three years of genetics research led to six years of immunology research, which led to a Ph.D. from Auburn University. That led to three and half years of instructional design research at Tufts University School of Medicine. His expertise includes biomedical sciences & technology, social determinants of health, bovine birthing, training & development, and cognitive psychology. He’s taught dozens of university courses, ranging from Principles of Biology to Advanced Medical Immunology. He is currently co-writing a book with his father, George Rogers, called "How to Correctly Hold a Flashlight: A Disagreement in Academic and Agricultural Perspectives."
person using an apple watch
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Today’s podcast guest is Rosalind Picard, a researcher, inventor named on over 100 patents, entrepreneur, author, professor and engineer. When it comes to the science related to endowing computer software with emotional intelligence, she wrote the book. It’s published by MIT Press and called Affective Computing.

Dr. Picard is founder and director of the MIT Media Lab’s Affective Computing Research Group. Her research and engineering contributions have been recognized internationally. For example, she received the 2022 International Lombardy Prize for Computer Science Research, considered by many to be the Nobel prize in computer science.

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Matt Fuchs
Matt Fuchs is the host of the Making Sense of Science podcast and served previously as the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He writes as a contributor to the Washington Post, and his articles have also appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Nautilus Magazine, Fortune Magazine and TIME Magazine. Follow him @fuchswriter.
Hidden figures: Five black women that changed science forever

Dr. May Edward Chinn, Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD., and Alice Ball, among others, have been behind some of the most important scientific work of the last century.


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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago.