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Science & Technology

Is there a limit to how long we can live ?

By T.K. Randall
October 6, 2016 · Comment icon 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 | Comments (27)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #18 Posted by Habitat 7 years ago
I remember when cloning was going to be a game-changer, things have gone very quiet on that front. The idea that humans are going to be living vastly longer than present, is very questionable, everything about us, biologically, and even psychologically, presupposes a limited lifespan. 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
Sorry, double post.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
Well I think I would love to reach 1000, and when I am there i will want more.  I guess it all depends on the details of one's circumstances. By the way, a little nit here -- I think the right word in your context is "rebirth," (being born in a new person) rather than "reincarnation"(returning as the same person).
Comment icon #21 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
I think this issue is being misinterpreted, and maybe even misstated by the original authors.  The limit life expectancy has reached is set by our genes from natural selection.   The lengthening we have seen in history has been almost entirely a matter of reducing predation, disease and accident, and enough people now make it to extreme old age for the hard limit to be approached more and more.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Habitat 7 years ago
Many people get bored with the world by the time they reach the end. It seems to me emblematic of a life well lived, to not be "raging against the night" when the end is near. By that time, most people are "played out", however improbable that seems to people still fired by the enthusiasms of youth.
Comment icon #23 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
I'd like to live as long as possible. Here I am getting near 50 and I still love the small mysteries of life... watching a caterpillar cross a leaf. Watching wasps build a nest. Growing plants in the garden. Watering the house plants and checking their growth. Playing with the kids, the dogs and the goat... outside and inside (not the goat inside though). Even driving down the road watching the world move ever so slowly is a fantastic experience. I love being alive. I suspect I will be the same in 100 years, or 1000 years.  People say that they eventually have, "seen it all", but to me... Ever... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
The desire to continue living does not constitute "raging against the night."  That is absurd.  I don't know how old you are, but I am 74, and find myself happy and fulfilled, and therefore don't want to lose it.  That said, one must play the cards dealt, so I know I will die, but at least I'm honest with myself about it.  
Comment icon #25 Posted by Rlyeh 7 years ago
And there are windows in the sky.
Comment icon #26 Posted by smokeycat 7 years ago
I want more life...
Comment icon #27 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Everyone knows everything in the Bible happened the way it's written and it's all true, just like everything on the internet.

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