How Long Can We Live? The Limit Hasn’t Been Reached, Study Finds

01 Julio, 2018, 06:54 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Have Humans Reached Their Limit on Life Span? These Researchers Say No

The next year, the survivors who are one year older are also stronger and healthier. Once people reached 105, the rate of death fell. More than 600 people born in 1910 lived as long. They said that those who study the limits of longevity usually meet two statistical challenges.

"Our data tell us that there is no fixed limit to the human lifespan yet in sight", said Kenneth Wachter, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of demography and statistics and senior author of the study, in a statement. "Not only do we see mortality rates that stop getting worse with age, we see them getting slightly better over time". The chances of reaching the ripe old age of 110 are within reach - if you survive the perilous 90s and make it to 105 when death rates level out, according to a study of extremely old Italians led by UC Berkeley and Sapienza University of Rome.

And what they found was that after the age of 105, human mortality seems to hit a plateau.

Researchers examined records from the Italian National Institute of Statistics, focusing on Italians who lived to age 105 or beyond.

To University of IL epidemiologist S. Jay Olshansky, the evidence for the counter-argument - that there is a strict limit to the maximum human lifespan and we have reached it already - is right there in the new Italian data. Research based on data from more than 3,800 centenarians in Italy said that the risk of death slows down after 105.

The thing is that there aren't many who lived for that long, and old people, at one point, start to forget for how long they've lived.

The numbers of the very old are growing.

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But if they made it to 95, their odds of dying within a year increased to 24 percent and their life expectancy dropped to 3.7 years. But that's not what happened - once they hit 105, the chance of surviving hit a plateau of 50% each year, the researchers reported in the journal Science. Under what is known as the Gompertz law, the odds of dying double every eight years.

But "similar mortality plateau patterns in extreme age are observed in other species, hinting at common structural and evolutionary explanations", said the report. The Frenchwoman ascribed her longevity to the fact that she didn't worry much and had a diet rich in olive oil, port wine and chocolate, which she consumed at a rate of more than 2 pounds a week.

Frail people tend to die earlier while robust people, or those who are genetically blessed, can live to extreme ages, they noted.

Referring to the latest research, Brandon Milholland, who worked on the Nature study as a doctoral student, said that it was "highly unlikely" for mortality curves to level off so suddenly and flatly. "Now go 15 to 20 years later, the people who were already frail are the ones who are likely to have died", he said. For instance, genes that seem to be supporting extended lifespan on Okinawa are not the same as ones found in England.

A new study carried out by a team of biologists aimed to study and explore one of humanity's most fundamental, existential queries - Is there a maximum lifespan for humans that can not be breached?

"When we understand the interactions between our genomic heritage, and all these other well-studied practical factors like nutrition and behavior, we are going to understand why people are able to make this progress to the 80s and 90s and extend it", he said.


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