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Why humans will NEVER live beyond the age of 125

While our lifespans have increased as diet, medicine and public health have improved, scientists now believe there's a ceiling - and we've already hit it

ReutersJeanne Calment who died August 4. The French women, officially the world's oldest person, celebrated her 122nd birthday on February 21.

Humans will never live past the age of 125, scientists believe.

Since the 19th century, average life expectancy has soared almost continuously due to improvements in public health, diet, medicine and the environment.

On average, babies born today can expect to live nearly until around the age of 80 compared with an average life expectancy of around 50 for those born in 1900.

Since the 1970s, the maximum duration of life - the age to which the oldest people live - has also risen.

But according to the researchers, this upward arc for maximal lifespan has a ceiling - and we’ve already hit it.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York say it will never be possible to live longer than the ages already attained by the oldest people ever to have lived.

Their findings were published today in world-renowned journal Nature after the team looked at ‘maximum reported age at death’ data from the International Database on Longevity.

They focused on people verified as living to age 110 or older between 1968 and 2006 in the US, France, Japan and the UK.

Age at death for these super centenarians increased rapidly between the 1970s and early 1990s but reached a plateau around 1995 - which suggests there is a lifespan limit.

This plateau, the researchers found, happened around 1997 - the year of the death of 122-year-old French woman Jeanne Calment, who achieved the maximum documented lifespan of any person in history.

The researchers calculated 125 years as the absolute limit of human lifespan.

Senior author Jan Vijg, professor of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said: “Demographers as well as biologists have contended there is no reason to think that the ongoing increase in maximum lifespan will end soon.

But our data strongly suggest that it has already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s.

 “Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum lifespan.

While it’s conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we’ve calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human lifespan.”

The researchers analysed data from the Human Mortality Database, which compiles mortality and population data from more than 40 countries.

Since 1900, those countries generally show a decline in late-life mortality.

The proportion of people born in a particular year who survive to old age - defined as over 70 - increased with their calendar year of birth, pointing toward a continuing increase in average life expectancy.

But when the researchers looked at survival improvements since 1900 for people aged 100 and above, they found that gains in survival peaked at around 100 and then declined rapidly, regardless of the year people were born.

Dr Vijg said: “This finding indicates diminishing gains in reducing late-life mortality and a possible limit to human lifespan.”

Life expectancy now, 50 years and 100 years ago

2016: Male - 79, female - 82

1966: Male - 69, female - 74

1916: Male - 53, female - 56

In May 2016, the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed 116-year-old Emma Martina Luigia Morano, from Vecelli, Italy, is the oldest person in the world. She is believed to be the last person living who was born in the 19th century.

Bessie Camm, 112, from Rotherham, is named the oldest person in the UK.

Source: mirror.co.uk

  • October 13, 2016 11:41 AM MSK
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