Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Aging in a high infection society
by Vasunilashorn, Sarinnapha, Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2010, 166; 3434555
Abstract (Summary)

Increasing evidence suggests that aging is accelerated by exposure to infections and inflammation. Previous studies suggest that in environments where infection is high, the processes associated with aging will accelerate and indicators of the aging process will be more apparent at earlier ages than in environments where exposure to infection is relatively low. To further our understanding of aging and how biological and genetic indicators associated with aging vary in a high infection environment, the Tsimane of Bolivia are studied. The Tsimane are an indigenous population of forager-farmers with little access to modern medicine, high infectious morbidity, and high mortality.

Three specific aims were investigated. The first specific aim found that compared to adults in the U.S., Tsimane adults exhibit higher mean levels of infection and inflammation but substantially lower levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index. Among individual Tsimane, high infectious morbidity is associated with lower levels of cholesterol. This finding may reflect a remodeling of lipid profiles, as suggested by findings from the second specific aim. The Tsimane have high levels of infection and inflammation, as indicated by their high parasite load and white blood cell count, which were inversely associated with blood lipid levels. The third specific aim suggests that the strong force of mortality at an early age may be related to differences in genotype frequencies exhibited in the Tsimane.

These findings suggest that living in a highly infectious environment similar to the circumstances of our ancestral past is characterized by a very different biological profile of aging and potentially different genotype distribution with age.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Finch, Caleb E., Crimmins, Eileen M.
Commitee: Sattler, Fred
School: University of Southern California
Department: Gerontology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Forensic anthropology, Gerontology, Aging, Latin American Studies
Keywords: Aging, Biomarkers, Bolivia, Cholesterol, Gene variants, Infection, Inflammation, Tsimane
Publication Number: 3434555
ISBN: 978-1-124-41485-0
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