Medicine

How long can humans live? We haven't hit our limit, says study

How long can humans live? We haven't hit our limit, says study

In 1968, the oldest person was 111.

"The conclusion that they've come to, which is that there is no upper limit to life, is unreasonable", said Olshansky, who was not involved in the new research.

The find hints that there could be no limit to potential human lifespans, which goes against previous research. "Not only do we see mortality rates that stop getting worse with age, we see them getting slightly better over time".

The new study has demonstrated that while the risk of dying increases as we age - at 50, your chance of dying is three times higher than it was at 30 - once we reach the age of 105, that risk plateaus at 50%, meaning you have a 50% chance of living another year. They found that the odds of dying after reaching 105 essentially plateaued.

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

The limits of human existence might not be as limited as we have long thought.

"Our data tell us that there is no fixed limit to the human life span yet in sight", Wachter said.

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. "You would expect more people to reach the age of 110, but that will take some time".

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"At this moment, the oldest person in the world, a Japanese woman, is 117". The annual probability of dying for Italian women born in 1904 was 333 per 1,000 at age 100 and 475 per 1,000 at age 105. If they made it to 95, their odds of dying within a year increased to 24 percent and their life expectancy from that point on dropped to 3.7 years.

Against this argument, experts said the law such as Gompertz, according to which the chances of a living being to die rise significantly with each passing year. "If mortality is at 60 percent, it can not eventually double to 120 percent-that is mathematically impossible", Brandon Milholland, an aging researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells Gizmodo.

Responding to the skepticism their paper has already sparked, co-author Ken Wachter told Nature: "We have the advantage of better data". 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.

The theory explains that those who die in a particular age group tend to be the frailest.

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. For example, genes that seem to be supporting extended life span on Okinawa are not the same ones found in England.

"People who go to college 50th reunions, you just look around you and some people are climbing mountains while some people are walking with canes".

Geneticist Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NY believes he has seen the limit of the human lifespan, and said it ceased its upward trajectory in the 1990s with the death of Calment.

The present study suggests that it is possible to extend the survival plateau earlier into the average human lifespan, thus making it likelier for more people to survive into their 100s.