Science & Technology
Is there a limit to how long we can live ?
By T.K. Randall
October 6, 2016 · 27 comments
It is possible for someone to reach 125 ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Steven Depolo
A new study has suggested that humans may be limited to a maximum lifespan of around 115 years.
While the average life expectancy has been steadily rising since the 19th century due to factors including safer childbirths, vaccinations and treatments for deadly diseases, the maximum age reached by the very oldest among us seems to have plateaued over the last few decades.
The oldest human in recorded history was Jeanne Calment who was 122 when she died in 1997, but since then nobody has even managed to get close to that age.
"In people over 105 we make very little progress, that tells you we are most likely approaching the limit to human life," said Professor Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
"For the first time in history we've been able to see this, it looks like the maximum life span - this ceiling, this barrier - is about 115. It's almost impossible you'll get beyond it. You need 10,000 world's like ours to end up with one individual in a given year who will live until 125."
Not everyone however agrees with the idea that such a hard limit actually exists. Professor James Vaupel, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, is one such individual.
"In this sorry saga, those convinced that there are looming limits did not apply demography and statistics to test hypotheses about lifespan limits," he said in a scathing rebuke of the study.
"Instead they exploited rhetoric, deficient methods and pretty graphics to attempt to prove their gut feelings. [This study] adds nothing to scientific knowledge about how long we will live."
Source: BBC News
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