Methods: Healthy Ageing Research Center (HARC) which is a multidisciplinary research platform established at the Medical University of Lodz, involves research groups with various basic biological ( immunologists, biochemists , molecular biologists) and clinical ( geriatricians, psychiatrists, cardiologists and pulmonologists) interests and devoted to conduct research addressing key issues related to pathogenesis of increased morbidity in the elderly population. Here we present the HARC platform as a vehicle for development of multidisciplinary research related to various aspects of respiratory infections in the elderly.
Results: Preliminary study involving elderly subjects (n=157; mean age 68.2 ) allowed to establish risk factors associated with frequent infections. In a multivariate analysis polytherapy (more than 5 prescription drugs ) has been determined as one of the most important risk factors for frequent ( defined as more than 3 per year) respiratory infections (OR=1.93 (CI95% 1.11-3.36). The effect of comorbidities as risk factors for respiratory infections, will be further analyzed in cross-sectional study involving 3000 subjects randomly selected from the local population of elderly subjects. In collaboration with psychiatrics the prevalence and spectrum of respiratory infections among patients with various psychiatric disorders is being studied.
Although viral infections are considered to be important triggers in asthma exacerbation in children and adults, it is difficult to extrapolate infection rates and specific pathogens from these studies to older adults with asthma. The study currently developed with microbiologist is aiming at assessment of the role of viral and bacterial triggers asthma exacerbation in the elderly patients. In parallel , in vitro model to assess the peripheral blood leukocytes immune response to rhinovirus infection and miRNA expression in the elderly patients with and without asthma has been introduced .
Conclusions: Collaboration within multidisciplinary research team ( HARC platform) has allowed for development of innovative approaches to study various aspects of respiratory infections in the elderly population
Project is supported by the European Commission RegPot-2012-2013-1