Limit to hu­man life may be 115 (ish)

Malta Independent - - HEALTH -

Hu­man life spans may be lim­ited to a max­i­mum of about 115 years, claim US sci­en­tists.

Their con­clu­sions, pub­lished in the jour­nal Na­ture, were made by analysing decades of data on hu­man longevity.

They said a rare few may live longer, but the odds were so poor you’d have to scour 10,000 planet Earths to find just one 125year-old.

But while some sci­en­tists have praised the study, oth­ers have la­belled it a dis­mal trav­esty.

Life ex­pectancy has been in­creas­ing re­lent­lessly since the nine­teenth cen­tury - due to vac­cines, safer child­birth and tack­ling killers like cancer and heart dis­ease. But can that go on forever? The team in New York an­a­lysed data from the Hu­man Mor­tal­ity Data­base and the deaths of su­per-cen­te­nar­i­ans (those over 110) in France, Ja­pan, UK and US.

The data showed in­creases in life ex­pectancy were slow­ing in cen­te­nar­i­ans and that the max­i­mum age of death had plateaued for at least two decades.

Prof Jan Vijg, one of the re­searchers from the Al­bert Ein­stein Col­lege of Medicine, said: “In peo­ple over 105 we make very lit­tle progress, that tells you we are most likely ap­proach­ing the limit to hu­man life.

“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 worlds like ours to end up with one in­di­vid­ual in a given year who will live un­til 125 - so a very small chance.”

Jeanne Cal­ment came close. The old­est ever per­son, whose age can be backed up by of­fi­cial doc­u­ments, was 122 when she died in 1997.

The French icon of longevity was born be­fore the Eif­fel Tower was con­structed and met the painter Vin­cent van Gogh.

No­body has since got near her ven­er­a­ble age.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.